Friday, February 13, 2015

Endings and Anxiety

Tuesday night, I kept falling back into the same dream, despite trying to get myself out of it numerous times. But I'm a light sleeper lately, and I guess I kept picking up where I left off. In the dream, I was at work, but everything had changed. My team had moved, something we're actually slated to do this year, only I didn't move along with them. All of my personal items had been thrown away, and I was left to be part of another team that I had no desire to be on. I protested, but no one could hear me, or maybe they didn't care.

Of course, this dream came after two more snow days spent at home, more than 48 hours without leaving the house, and feeling very anxious about how I'd get into the office that Wednesday morning (which indeed took two hours to accomplish). I told one of my bosses about the dream that afternoon, when he happened to get news that our team's move date had gotten pushed back. He reminded me that my new office is right next to his, and that of course I'm coming along, though I might not have room for my artwork with our new glass walls.

I've been thinking a lot about endings, as they seem everywhere these days. Two of my favorite shows, Parenthood and Glee, have recently ended or will be ending in a matter of weeks. Jon Stewart announced he's leaving The Daily Show, a position he's held for most of my adult life. Even Rosie O'Donnell announced she's leaving The View (again), a show I haven't watched in longer than I can remember, yet I still watched her vlog for why she's leaving too.

I've been at my job for closing in on 10 years now, and I've only ever had to really leave one job before this. Every other job I'd held was known to be temporary from the start, whether I was a camp counselor or working as a bank teller or in the college library. Everything else had a fairly established end date without intervention from me. Leaving my last job was, well, kind of traumatic for me. I'd loved working there, but was basically told that they didn't see me advancing further despite the half-finished MBA, which they were paying for at the time. I was so hurt to have to leave, but I knew I hadn't peaked at the age of 27.

I was fortunate to find my next job relatively easily, a lateral move that was challenging in ways I hadn't anticipated, but it opened up a much broader world to me. My company has invested in me, and I've grown a lot over the last decade. It seems weird to have been there so long when it seems like everyone else I know has switched jobs many times over the same period, but people at my company tend to stay (my group hasn't had someone leave since 2007). Long-term plans have been made with me in mind. I have no intentions of leaving.

But it's interesting to me that despite all that, the goodwill I know is felt for me, and the loyalty I feel towards my job, I'd still be hit with an anxiety dream of being left behind. I don't blame any aspect of my job for this: they encouraged us to stay home as the blizzards hit, and I've always been supported when I work from home. But will I ever feel secure enough in myself, that I am doing well enough, that I won't have worries like this? Or is this just the curse of being an employee for someone else, that you can never truly feel 100% secure? Or maybe it's just all this snow, making me crazy.

I know I'm not at an ending. But I do sometimes wonder what a new beginning might be like.

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