Potentially Nonsense

No one expects the duckie inquisition.

Five Minute Friday: Share

This week I’m participating in Five Minute Friday. FMF is pretty much what it sounds like – set a timer, write for five minutes on the prompt provided. It’s been a great tool for getting me up and writing, before work, on this, the most holy day of the workweek.

Today’s Five Minute Friday Freewrite prompt is: SHARE.

I’ve worked for myself for a lot of years. I took care of the hands and feet of marginalized and vulnerable people, like those in the trans community, and under-served people, like veterans, and people who were physically unable to do so for themselves, like those with cerebral palsy or dementia.

It was humble work, and it (mostly) paid the bills.

^^ It’s the “mostly” in that sentence that’s concerning.

When my (now ex-)husband quit yet another job without a word, because he didn’t get along with his manager, (“It’s like she’s not even trying to figure out how to make me happy!” Seriously. Those words were spoken.) I finally snapped. I knew I didn’t want to live like this for another 14 years. And that meant taking on traditional employment.

I had to leave my clients. That was so, so hard. I called so many people, trying to find anyone else in town who does what I did. I did my best, but most techs only serve out of spas, and few take on the extra training to become a medical nail tech. My heart was so broken to leave them. I’m still broken about that. Is this a taste of how therapists feel when they have to let a client go?

After six months or so of job hunting and contracting and temping, I finally got on at a great place. The work is meh, but the mission is amazing.

But… it’s an entirely different kind of work environment. There’s no hugging someone who looks like they need it, or prompting them to share more and to work things out talking with me. There’s no hand holding. It’s not a place where I can hold out a hand and “oooh” over someone’s sparkly nail polish. There’s no deep sharing of life stories, or unburdening while I give someone a foot massage.

It’s a Fairly Serious and Professional Place.

The sharing that takes place, physical, verbal, and emotional, is so different from what I’ve been doing that my instincts are all wrong. I have to constantly remind myself it’s not appropriate to touch someone on the shoulder, after years of working with people who were touch-deprived. It’s not appropriate to smile and call someone “sweetheart,” when they’re having a hard time and could use comfort.

I’m constantly monitoring myself to make sure I don’t share or ask for too much information. It’s strange and exhausting and kind of lonely. It’s been the hardest part of going back to office life, which I hadn’t been expecting at all.

I went from working in IT to taking care of people, and now am back to working in an office. Have you had to make an unexpected, major career transition? Because, dude. I could really use some tips on this.

In case you’re having a bad day, here’s something that made me smile.

This blog has been taken over by the Write 31 Days challenge. Here’s the sweet, sweet index of all my posts of nope.

10 Comments

  1. Must have been hard switching to such a different working environment. All my jobs were in offices. Everything was fine until a change of staff in my last job left me no option but to leave. I’m happy being a hands on Nanny now.

  2. I am already thinking of my future. What would I do should there be a need for me to return to working at an office? I have absolutely no idea. It’s scary for me considering jobs are hard to be had and it’s even harder for me to obtain. You had to change how you interact with people but it sounds like you’re succeeding. I can only hope I’d be able to do the same.

    • I won’t lie – job hunting was very discouraging. I spent six months applying for everything from housekeeping to refitting computers at Goodwill to all flavors of office clerical work. I stopped counting somewhere around application #67. I interviewed… and I interviewed… and I interviewed. All I can say is, if you have to return, just keep going. Do whatever you have to keep your spirits up, and just keep going. While job hunting, I did temp and contract work, and it was one of the temp jobs that finally led to real employment.

  3. The first thing I feel compelled to say is how WRONG it is that people are now afraid to do all the things you miss doing. In my humble opinion, our selfish America needs people who are willing to be personally involved with others! As far as the reply above about looking for a job and how frustrating it is…you are always more attractive for some reason when you are employed. Keep looking…and asking God where He can use you most. You are going to be just fine….and if you think someone needs a hug or a hand squeeze. Tell them you think they need a hug…they just might say “You are so right.”

    • Margaret, you know what? I love that you suggested that I just ask if someone could use a hug. I forgot that was a possibility. It’s a fine line, and the HR rules where I’m at are intimidating, but probably just offering wouldn’t be an issue. Thank you for that.

  4. Great post! This past summer our church was helping with landscaping a renovated hotel for homeless people. I met this wonderful woman while I was weeding, and she shared some of her story with me and mentioned she loves hugs, so I asked her if she’d like one (I thought I was being pretty brave asking her haha!), and she emphatically said “Yes!”. So I did and we shared the best hug! So, sometimes we just need to ask, but usually someone has to open up to another person first, I think. Who knows, in your case, someone in your office might one day!

  5. Congrats on the new job! I am a housewife. I have had a plethora of jobs in my past, and I know how hard the “apply and interview” process is…not to mention the stress of the office environment. It might be that the people in your current environment need words of encouragement or hugs even worse than those for whom it was obvious. They might just be tougher nuts to crack, and might not respond as much. Don’t give up. I agree with the person above who said that we need people out there with your gift.

    Your “bad day” pic at the end made me smile. 🙂

Comments are closed.