I still can't get over how happy and relieved I am to have a new job. I was in a kind of hell at the old place. I felt oppressed and disrespected--and while that might be a slight exaggeration, compared to how I've been treated at the new place, it's not inaccurate. I should say, only the bosses were bad to me. My co-workers, almost to a person, were supportive and understanding. Unfortunately, your equals don't control your fate at work; it's all about the bosses. At the new place, I'm not really sure who my boss is! I'm fine with that. I don't have a lot of questions for a boss and when I do, I've figured out who to ask. I'd been critisized at my old job for not being entrepreneurial enough, but in my first two weeks at the new job, I've done more on my own initiative than in practically my entire career at the old place. Makes me think that in many of these things I wasn't the problem. Lord that place was toxic.
Now that's not to say that the new place is perfection. I've noticed some odd personalities; people trying to get my attention (kissing up? to me? huh); and some folks complaining to me about some other folks. I'm sure I'll be deep into it eventually, but for now I'm blissfully above the fray. I'm everyone's friend. I'm calm and composed and I have helpful ideas. I feel actively useful for the first time in many years. Of course I was useful at my old job, but I spent so much time butting heads with that dumb supervisor that I couldn't see my own value. Every day presented a new frustration--with her, with procurement, with another office inside the agency. It was one defeat after another, to the point that it was impossible to enjoy the wins--even when they were huge.
The small scale of the new place (about 150 employees) is probably a big part of the difference. Even though it's barely a small business anymore, compared to a Federal Agency, it's tiny. I can know everyone. I'm trying to learn all the names and I smile and say hello to everyone. Lots of the employees are young and fresh out of grad school--which is fine by me. I'm not lumped in with them, but it's good to have that energy around. At the old place, the new young staff actually seemed to be valued MORE than people like me. They used me to grind out the required things while the new interesting assignments went to the new staff (my possibly inaccurate perception). So maybe they're snotty kids just like in the old place (perfectly normal!), I feel totally respected.
Respect is a big deal for me. Work friend Nancy would often point out that what most upset me was when people didn't understand me. That's not quite it, though. It's when they don't take me seriously or dismiss my opinions. I was hired at my new job in order to provide those opinions. They think that I have the skills needed to help them through their growth spurt and to manage projects. They want me to weigh in on research methods and suggest new research approaches. It's not like the old job, "come up with a way to do this study and we'll tell you what's wrong with your approach." That happened because the bad supervisor wanted to put her stamp on everything, and then even after you moved a project to the next stage, the procurement office would crap all over it. That's not going to happen at the new job because it's small and it's more cooperative.
I'm hoping a few things. That I continue to enjoy the job and look forward to going to the office instead of dreading it. And that I start to have a little more room in my life for non-work things--like dating, perhaps. Faint hope, that!
Grateful for: new energy.