I’m half way across the world from my family for work. It’s been a long week… but my brain hasn’t felt this engaged in a long time. Recently I’ve had the… shall I call it a learning experience?… of being the subject of a grievance, EEO complaint, and an investigation because of how I handled employees that I felt didn’t meet… well, whatever. Does it matter what they did or what I did anymore? No. What matters is what I’ve taken from the experience and how *I* grow from it.
Moving to a new organization, a new position, a new customer, and a new product, has reminded me to take time to think about what all I’ve been learning. It’s time for me to reflect upon how I will take this experience and find a better me in all of it.
I’ve learned, without a question in my heart, that I do not like being either a Branch Chief or a Deputy Branch Chief. That managerial side of leadership is not my cup of tea. I don’t like not having my own program and “getting credit for” the actions of people in my branch. I need to have my hands deep in the everyday “programmatics” of cost, schedule, performance and risk. I need to constantly be problem solving to achieve a difficult result. I want to inspire and cheer my team along to a single common goal, and acknowledge every big and little achievement we share along the way. I am a Program Manager through and through.
I need balance… that work life balance that my husband discussed. But I think I’ve found an important key issue while I’ve been on this work trip. I realize after my previous post that not only do I feel anxious to go home and engage in the chaos and criticism, I haven’t felt proud of myself in a while before I even walk in the door. I define myself so much by what I do, but when I don’t feel like I’m accomplishing much, delivering results, or pushing product, I don’t feel whole. If I don’t feel whole, how can I be intense at home and with our home life?
I need to develop a better method of stepping back from each day to rest, reflect, and disconnect from work in order to approach our life at home. At this time I *rush* at 1735 to pick up my son by 1745 in order to not be charged for picking him up late. Then I rush home to get dinner in him, my daughter, and my husband. Then we are checking in on everyone’s day and discussing the challenges we encountered at work, school, etc., and then I go to bed.
At no point did I take a few personal moments to rest from the day.
At no point did I consciously reflect on what I completed and still needed to do.
At no point did I disconnect from the day to allow myself the freedom to connect to something else… like my husband and family.
I must find a healthy transition period to close each work day with a quick preparation for the next day so that I can feel confident that as I leave work the following day has everything ready to go.
I must find a mindful way of reflection that focuses on constructive thoughts about my day… not the self-criticism, borderline self-loathing I’ve been experiencing the past year and a half.
I need a consistent, methodical process to disconnect from my day that doesn’t rely on things I’m honestly just not going to do–like working out. I could figuratively wash away the day when I wash my face and change clothes before coming downstairs. I could release the stress of the day and anxiety by stretching away the “computer strain” from my neck, releasing the tension and allowing my neck and back to prepare for the whiplash of looking after my three-year old. I could listen to some uplifting music and reset that part of my day before heading downstairs to the family.
The point is, to allow myself the freedom to connect with the intensity of love I hold for my family, I need to fully disconnect from my previous activities to successfully transition to be completely in tune with them. It must be a mind and body disconnection so that both may be fully connected to what is really most important in my life–them.