Thrive Off The Clock
Letting go is hard when you’ve invested so much time and energy into a situation. When I’m invested, I’m all in. I’m prepared to ride the waves, because I know with patience, something great is on the other side of the struggle. But is it?
I went to nursing school late in the game when I was a mother of five. I was fully committed and invested, and something great was on the other side of that struggle for sure. Soon after passing my boards, I landed “the perfect job for me”. Being an ER nurse was just the right amount of challenge and foolery to keep me happily entertained. I loved helping people through their personal crises, whatever that was to them. I put a lot of effort into being the best nurse possible. I became a certified emergency nurse and voluntarily took classes that advanced my profession. It seemed like my nursing school struggle had really paid off. This was where I was supposed to be.
Seven years later, the job that I grew myself to love, slowly became a huge source of stress and resentment. Helping people did not come without criticism, anger, attack, or hefty expectations. Good deeds never went unpunished, and I grew tired of giving myself to the seemingly unappreciative. I was mentally drained and physically worn down because of it. In order to hold onto what I would STILL call, “my favorite job to date”, I had to sacrifice little pieces of me over time. I stopped caring about what I looked like under my scrub pajamas, and my overall attitude suffered. Worst of all, I had really begun losing hope in the goodness of people. My normal "carefree days off" were now designated "mental recovery" days, which left no energy or time to do the things I enjoyed.
So why was I holding on? In the moment, I don’t think I realized how toxic the situation had become. I had awesome co-workers to distract me, and there were just enough feel-good moments to carry me through to each paycheck. But that wasn’t the GOAL of my “dream job”! I didn’t sign on to help people at the expense of myself, and I certainly didn’t go BACK to school as a busy mom to be miserable with where I had landed. I struggled. And on the other side of that struggle... was more struggle.
Today as a school nurse, I help a whole lot of people, still. I’m learning new skills and thinking about becoming a certified school nurse. My overall health is prioritized, I’m home to bicker with my family every night, and I have a clear mind to compliment my free weekends. At 39, I’m reminding myself that jobs come and go, but you only get one shot at your best life with the people you love. You will no longer find me staying at any job, if I’m not thriving… off the clock also.