On returning to work

So this post is pretty late, but better late than never, right? I have had mixed emotions about returning to work. In fact, they started before I even left for maternity leave. With all of the stresses of a diabetic pregnancy and full-time work, I was just completely exhausted by the time those nine months were up. I was so ready to get out of the office.

And I don’t really write about this much here, but my job is not as challenging or rewarding as I would like it to be. In fact, the company culture is downright stifling. I am miserable a good deal of the time. The stress of my struggle to fit into a role that is not at all like me leaves me with spiking BGs, stress-induced hunger, and a general sense of dismay.

As a reminder, I am a technical writer, and don’t get me wrong – I actually love my field. I have this weird passion for bringing structure and order to chaos, especially highly technical chaos. It makes my day when I’m able to reorder a collection of confusing sentences and make a useful piece of information. And it’s even more rewarding when someone is able to use this new piece of information to improve their life, or even just to complete a task faster and with less frustration. I’m sure it sounds fairly lame to people who enjoy more exciting occupations, but it is the perfect fit for me.

So it was with some trepidation that I returned to work after four months of leave. It was September, and I worked three days a week. And while those first few days away from Lukas were just pure torture, I have to admit that it was nice to be back in an environment with adults again. And the three-days-a-week gig still gave me the majority of my week at home with my sweetie.

But the return was not without its stresses, including the fact that my boss had promoted my (so-called temporary) replacement above me while I was out on full-time leave. Into a position that he had earmarked for me. And he did not even have the decency to tell me about it (I found out quite by accident from a co-worker).

Luckily my new boss (aka, the temporary replacement that I personally chose and trained) is a great guy. And it’s not his fault that he was placed in such a difficult position, so I try not to let this mess interfere with our working relationship. But it really sucks, you know?

At the first of the year, I was supposed to move back into a full-time role, but my heart just wasn’t in it. Still feeling slighted by my previous boss and still dealing with the stifling corporate culture, I decided it wasn’t worth it. My husband recently started a new, higher-paying job, so I no longer had a financial reason to return full-time. So instead, I negotiated for another part-time schedule. I now work four days a week. I’ve lost some benefits as a result of this change, but I still get my insurance benefits and a pro-rated vacation schedule. And I get Lukas all to myself on Fridays.

It’s not exactly my dream job, but when I get home at night, and my little guy smiles up at me, all of that work drama just melts away. I’m still keeping my eyes open for “greener pastures”, but for now this gig is paying the bills and providing me with a little extra time for my little one. It could be a whole lot worse.

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One Comment on “On returning to work”

  1. Sweets Says:

    I would have been furious at my boss!

    I am glad to hear you have found some sort of balance in being able to work more on a part-time basis. Before my maternity leave I never thought that I would feel apprehensive about returning to work. I had 6 months leave, and returning to work was hard. I also felt as though everything had remained the same but also changed a whole lot during that time. But in a sense I had changed. While I also enjoy my job like you do, and was happy to be in adult company again, I would have preferred to be home a little longer, or the opportunity to work reduced hours.

    How’s the little guy doing?


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