One of just many reasons I’m struggling with the transition back to work is because it’s yet another change. Change is always hard. It’s especially hard when there seems to be a change every time you get comfortable in a new role.
Going back to work after maternity leave is always an adjustment. Reese was my third and I felt comfortable returning to work as I’d done it two times before. But a change was coming.
I had been Administrative Specialist for Athletics for about seven years before finally becoming a Department Specialist for about a year. Then I was pregnant with Reese.
About two weeks after I returned from maternity leave, I was asked to try the pool and fitness center position. I was just adjusting to being back in the office and then was thrown into this new role which at the time I knew little about. But I studied and put in the time and learned as much as I could so I could succeed in the new role. And after a year I felt like I was finally starting to know what I was doing.
Then 2.5 years into this new role, I was out on maternity leave with Alice. And this coincided with the start of the pandemic. There was little work to be done while I was out so my task when my maternity leave was over was to figure out how to safely open two facilities, a pool and fitness center, during a pandemic.
Since a pandemic happens only once every hundred years, there’s not a manual on what to do so I spent a ton of time seeing what other facilities were doing and what we could do. And about 2.5 months after my “return to work”, we opened the pool first followed by the fitness center several weeks later.
Both facilities stayed open safely while majority of the campus was closed. I was able to take advantage of the fact that many facilities in the area were closed and nearly (or did) triple our pool revenue that year. I helped five different high schools host meets in our pool that year, almost all virtual which was a very unique experience. Getting through 2020-2021 gave me more confidence than ever. Then the cancer hit.
And I had to take almost exactly a year off to get through 16 rounds of chemo, a double mastectomy, four total surgeries and having a baby in the middle of this.
And just before my return I learned my job is no longer mine. Gut punch and back to starting over in yet another position in athletics. So here I am learning yet another role as I’m now in charge of sports information, a new position in our department.
I’m sure I will adjust to the new role and the return to work but it’s my third job for the department in the past 4 years. I know I am good at what I do and whatever role I’m thrown into. And I know I’m very very lucky to still have a position in Athletics and have a job at all.
It’s just a lot of change, a lot of unexpected change and it’s left me feeling torn about what the hell really makes me happy? I liked being in charge of facilities but it was a lot of hassles and stress. So I should be happy I don’t have that now. But when you think you finally found your job that was a good fit and now have to enter into another job and try to make it a good fit, it’s hard.
I hope I grow to like this new role. It’s still early and just as there was no guide on how to open facilities during a pandemic there’s also no manual on how to return to work after cancer as us survivors all have different jobs and situations we are returning to.
Change takes time and maybe that’s all this is. I need to be patient and give this new role a chance just like I had to with my other changes. I’m just tired of the changes especially one that is forced on me only because I was out battling a life threatening illness. But time to stay focused on the new challenge ahead. I’ve gotten through a lot worse over this past year, I can adjust to this change too.
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