We picked an agency that met our two most important requirements: respecting it’s employees and having a quality group to work with and learn from. What it did not provide were the benefits we wanted and the pay we were hoping for. But it provided enough with the likelihood of an increase in the future and so we were willing to take education over compensation.
It wasn’t an easy choice to move from one job that barely paid the bills to another job that barely paid the bills. This meant more long hard nights of contract work after full days for the agency. However, sometimes what you need to move forward isn’t more money. Sometimes it’s more knowledge. We looked at this next step as heading back to college. If he was going to move forward in this career, he needed to learn some new things.
This philosophy had also played a part in two big contracts that we took on. If you don’t challenge yourself, you’ll never grow. It was time to grow. And, yup, it hurt. You just can’t take on projects that you don’t know how to do without hitting stumbling blocks. But if you want to grow, you move outside of your comfort zone and figure out how to make it work.
Joining an agency also came with it’s own discomfort. T was used to being an army of one. Now he had to adjust how he worked to fit into an established group. He was also learning new things, things that everyone he was working with already knew. Nothing brings on feelings of inadequacy like being “the only one” who doesn’t seem to “get it.”
But with all the negative, there was also a lot of positive. At least for T. His new job was exciting. He had a new group of friends. He was being challenged by his work, but also learning new and important skills, growing his career. However, for me, it seemed less like we were building a good life for us and more like we were building a good life for him.
These feelings had been building through the start up. I felt like I was making all the sacrifices and T was the only one who benefited. Every day it seemed like I gave up something I wanted and took on one more unpleasant task to make this life work. While he was growing skills he could use anywhere, I felt unnoticed, unappreciated, and alone.
I was not making new friends. My job was not interesting. I was struggling to be both teacher and solo parent to our kids. Kids who were becoming teenagers. Like Charlie Brown at Halloween when all the other kids got candy trick-or-treating, all I got was a rock.
And it hurt so much. I felt irrelevant to my family, devastatingly rejected by the end of the start up, and abandoned by my husband who I couldn’t talk to without so much yelling and pain. It seemed like every decision we had made was wrong. I was tired. I was stressed. I was so afraid of what might come next. Could it get worse than this? Yes. Yes, it could.