I could see she was trying to help, “value your self worth” she said.
I didn’t take much notice of the phrase when she said it and it’s certainly something many people have said to me before, but this time seemed to hit home. I’m just not sure why.
I enjoy my job, in fact I love it. It is like my little baby, I have a role that with in a small structure, I get to work totally autonomously. I make my schedule, I come and go as I please, so long as the work gets done. I enjoy the team I lead and the people I work for.
Quite often than not, we have one role that has been very transient in nature in the sense, that we can’t seem to hold down a dedicated staff member. In the three years I have been here we have seen at least ten people in this role if not more (but that is a story for another time). As a result, I am quite often doing two jobs at once. Do I get paid extra? No. I don’t get extra time or space to account for the second job and it is very rare that I ever get overtime. My contract has this very ambiguous statement in it that, “working every second Saturday and every other Saturday where required” which has meant for the last 2 and a 1/2 years, working every Saturday. In fact in the 2 and a 1/2 years I have had a total of 13 Saturdays off with six of them being force annual leave and public holidays.
My sister says it all the time, I call her/my parents as I drive home each day, often at odd hours of the night and I hear my sister in the background every night, “if you only get paid till 5:30pm why the hell are you staying there?”.
My partner says it too. “What time will you be home babe?”, he says. “Oh, normal time”, I reply. Through conditioning of my constantly late arrivals he knows not to have dinner ready before 8pm. I simple won’t be there to eat it.
No one is tying me to chair or forcing me to stay but I seem to have this unspoken yearn to be there and push myself.
But when she turned around to me and said “it’s about valuing your self worth” and I finally took the time to absorb it and take it in. I realised how self destructive I had been.
So in taking the time to impress everyone, help everyone and never say no- I had disempowered myself. I had made people believe that my time was not worthy. Those I love, who had passed comment were often ignored or shunted away. I didn’t want to hear it- I am trying to build a career here!!
Then I realised, I am here- I started my career roughly 4 years ago and I started as a receptionist and grew to a department head. I had made it, what was I still fighting for? Why am I still working the same way I did when I first started, when I have well and truely earnt my stripes?
I sit here now, taking the first lunch break I have taken in over 3 year, a full forty five minutes away from my desk and I realise just how much time I have given away. I don’t know why I still feel like I have something to proven. I remember feeling this way growing up too. Whenever she could, my mum made me read this poem over and over again- she had it framed above the kitchen sink. Desiderata. I remember it still. I read it over and over and whilst haven’t seen it in a while I could still recite this poem word for word. I don’t think I ever fully understood it till now though.
It is about valuing your self worth and making those around you realise you are important, your time is important and you matter. If you don’t demand respect, you will never receive it.