That is my new outlook. After 10 years in the social worker field and almost 7 of those actually working as a social worker, I left my job to accept a new opportunity in a totally different field.
Over the past seven years I have talked about leaving my job at certain times because of drama, feeling unappreciated and the constant emotional struggle that goes along with the job I was doing. This only worsened once I had oldest. My job in a nutshell was to investigate child abuse. Once I had my daughter, there were days when I struggled with my priorities...is it my child at home or the kids that depend on me to keep them safe on my caseload. Even before I had my daughter I told myself I never wanted to be the parent who missed out on my kid's activities. My job can sometimes have unpredictable hours. I was lucky after I had my daughter and returned to work, I didn't end up with too many cases where I really missed too much of what was going on with my daughter. But she was young and I knew my luck would eventually run out. I did start to notice it was getting harder to leave work at work...or maybe I was just more aware of it because I was hypersensitive to what my daughter would pick up on. I had some really rough times with my job and some good times.
I toughed it out for a long time and even when I had opportunities to look elsewhere and really wanted to go elsewhere I made excuses out of fear of the change. Even though I wasn't happy, I knew what to expect and so I continued to stay.
Then I had my son and was on leave for three months. Right before I went on leave I had a series of tough, time consuming cases and the 3 month break was much needed. My son ended up being very laid back and I took full advantage of the break to enjoy my time with him, focus on my family and jump full force into both my shops. I tried not to think about work and it really wasn't hard. I missed a few of friends from work but for the most part I really just wanted to separate myself.
And then the 3 months came to end. I struggled with the reality that this was my reality. I did not really think it would be even be different. I was going to go back and have more cases than I can handle, I was going to miss time with my kids and my husband, I was going to be constantly worrying about my decisions on my cases and tryin to figure out how to get it all done with the limited resources. Prior to going back I applied for a job, which I thought was a long shot but I figured it wouldn't hurt anything to apply. I started back mid-December and by the first part of Feb. I was offered the job I applied for.
It was a surreal moment because I honestly didn't think it would ever happen. Then everyone started asking me “are you excited?” And I was surprised that I had to stop and think about it. I have wanted to leave for a while and I didn't think I would really have any type of emotional reaction but I was wrong.
Leaving my old job for my new one was the beginning of an emotionally roller coaster. A part of me was excited to be “getting out” and moving on. I was excited because it was the end of late nights, end of “being on the schedule”, end of going to family's homes to investigate abuse and hoping things don't go crazy, end of the frustration of not enough resources to feel like you are making a difference.
Along with the excitement came the feelings of failure and sadness. I have always (well for the last ten years) felt like social work was my calling. And now I was leaving that field. I felt like I was giving up and I was disappointed in myself.
I had two weeks to finish up at my old job before starting my new job. I had several break downs in that time and on my last day I stayed late to clean out my desk and finish up some paperwork. And I balled my eyes out there and all the way home and when I got home. I think I really just didn't think the day would ever come where I would be closing the door on social work.
Last week was my first week at my new job. I was super anxious, I haven't been “new” in almost 7 years. This new job environment is vastly different from my former job. I was nervous about whether my personality would fit this new place. I have 3 months of training before I am really doing the job. But even after a week I felt the shift. I now work ten minute from where I live versus 35 minutes at my old job. I now have an opportunity to run errands or work out after work. I felt myself feeling like I can focus on my family and I don't feel the stress and baggage I had with my old job. As I left work on Friday, it hit me...”this is my new life”. I wasn't just spending a week in training, I was starting my new life. I feel more energized and excited for the future. I am very happy with my new job and even though its still hard I know I made the right decision. I feel good that I can care about the job I'm doing but I can also put my family first. I feel more present as a mother and I feel like my kids are getting a better mother and that is what is most important.
Even after only week I don't have any real regrets. Change isn't easy but change is good!
Thanks for letting me get that out!!