Serving Yourself

At 11, my son somehow still thinks that I’m both important and cool. Before bringing him to work for #TakeYourKidToWorkDay, I set expectations that both me and the work that I do are not valued here and that most likely no one would need anything from me during the day.

I said these words in a matter of fact way so that he would understand that my feelings of worth are NOT wrapped up in the views of others. I also reminded him that my current situation was a stark contrast from that last job where I was valued enough that they still reach out to me for guidance… a year later.

Here’s the deal, I work at a customer site that is not a good fit for me. Plowing through the futility of it all, I frequently remind myself this is only temporary while simultaneously holding out hope that in x number of months my company will rescue me with a new project that is a better match.

Won’t this pain spur personal growth?! Gosh, I hope so. I know it’s inspired at least a couple of blog posts. Trust me when I say, ”Inconsequential work + hellish commute = whole lotta angst.”

An upside to my job has been the ability to vary up my schedule and telework one day a week. This flexibility and a glimmer of hope about a new project allowed me to soldier on. When a department-wide email at my customer site arrived that likened flexible hours as “serving yourself, not your customers,” and also removed any teleworking ability and implemented rigid hours, I felt hopeless.

Initially, I fixated on the “serving yourself” words and how they repulsed me from a philosophical viewpoint. (I could fill an entire blog post with that rant). Next, I went to feeling persistently anxious about how would I manage the energy and time requirements for a long commute, work, family, studying for a VCP certification, and some extra blogging for which I had previously committed.

“Be grateful for that well-paying job; you knew it was a bad commute when you accepted the job offer so suck it up.” These are some of the ways that I’ve chastised myself in the past year. In a warped way, I’ve treated my job and long commute like a “jail sentence” for which only the “warden” could set me free.

After a drive to work in silence (Thank you @RealJobTalk ep. with @cgaither for that advice) and days of despair, I realized that I am solely responsible for both what I accept and where I end up next. My priorities need to reflect this fact.

Oh, so, what was that conversation that inspired both tears and this blog post? My co-worker asked how I was handling the new time requirements. Maybe it is time that I serve myself.

Becky Elliott

After dropping out of a liberal arts college that focused on reading and discussing the “Great Books”, Becky Elliott found her way to a career in IT. For 20+ years, she has held a number of roles in Dev and Ops, and the area in between the two. In working for organizations in which poor security practices can cost lives, she’s an ardent believer in integrating security through the entire design process. Becky holds a number of industry certifications including the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).
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