So before I start in on new blog posts, I thought I'd do a quick catch-up on what's been going on since July. (July! I still can't believe it's actually been so long since I last blogged.)
After lots of heartache over my job, I made the firm decision to leave. It was really hard. When I started the job, it was literally my dream job. It let me combine my love of and studies in maternal/infant health with my skills in education development. I got to create so many great things. I got to be involved in a wonderful cause and really feel good about contributing to the world. I got to work with some really great people. So it was very hard to let that go. But even though it's still a great cause (I'll still always support it!) and some great people, the office politics just took over. And when new management came in and started taking away all the perks that had been necessary to maintain my sanity (like my work at home time) and my boss couldn't/wouldn't stand up for me anymore, I found something new.
And I am unbelievably happy with my new job. When I decided to look for something new, I basically made a wish list of my perfect job. And what I came up with was, I would like to stay in healthcare, I need to work at home at least part-time, but preferably full-time, I need something flexible so I can be there for my family, I need to feel like I am actually appreciated for my skills, I need a chance to be creative and do interesting projects instead of administrative nonsense, I need a boss who doesn't micromanage and keeps me out of office politics. It was a long list. I figured I would have to compromise along the line, but why not at least start with the best case scenario?
To my amazement, I found EXACTLY the job I described. I'm not directly in healthcare, but my part of the company works with insurance companies and the PATIENTS. I get to work completely out of my home, and they're incredibly flexible. Some days I get nothing done during the day (due to being there for my family) and I work all night instead. And they don't care. As long as I hit my deadlines and attend my scheduled meetings, they're fine with my weird hours. Sick kid? No problem, I can set them up in the living room and go do my work. School science fair? Great, I can run up and see the project then go home and get back to work. Car breaks down in Wyoming? I can work from my sister's house for 2 weeks and it makes no difference (at least not to my job). My bosses at this company actually know what an instructional designer is (I don't just "make things look pretty"!) and really appreciate my experience and skills. (Because - I don't like to brag, but I will - but I am REALLY good at what I do. And my new bosses tell me that a lot. Who doesn't appreciate that kind of validation?) I get assigned the creative projects. They hired another instructional designer at the same time as me, and they have found that his skill set really lies in step-by-step instruction... like creating a manual for how to use a piece of software. I can do that, but it's not my favorite thing. I love to build an entire curriculum and lay out the full course of instruction. I like to come up with games and activities to increase learning, not just tell you the steps. And so I get assigned the projects that need that mindset, Dennis takes the software training kind of stuff, and we're both happy with that division of labor. And because I'm not even in the same time zone as my bosses, let alone the same office, micromanagement is basically non-existent. I hear a bit about the office politics that go on in the background, but I don't have to deal with it on a day-to-day basis.
Really, this job is just perfect for me right now. It was a wrench to leave my co-workers, because I really was tight with some of them. Thank goodness for Facebook, so I can still keep in touch so easily! And if I don't have that kind of close relationship with any of my new co-workers, that's ok. :)
We've gotten rid of daycare entirely right now. That's actually not the way I wanted it. I really enjoyed the quiet of just being home by myself all day. But our daycare provider went back to school full-time (good for her! Really!) and we just weren't able to find someone new. The people who thought about doing it ended up with conflicts. And the daycare centers we looked at just didn't feel right - and were really pricey, too. For the older kids, this isn't really a problem. I can pick them up after school on a short break and then finish up my work day. It's a bigger issue with Rylen. He really does eat up my productivity sometimes - resulting in those overnight work sessions. But overall, I'm pretty amazed at how well it HAS worked keeping him home. I had a friend offer to take him on days that I really need to concentrate/hit a deadline or attend meetings all day, so that will definitely help. I just have to make it through the spring and summer and then I can find a preschool for half a day. In the meantime, it's sweet to be able to snuggle him during the day when he needs a hug.
Family life is going ok. Preston is still dealing with anxiety issues and meltdowns and a diagnosis of ADHD. He's having some therapy and medications and it's somewhat under
control. Still finding just the right combination of everything for him. Haley is also being medicated for anxiety. Hers had gotten bad enough that her teachers brought it up at parent/teacher conference. So we're getting her levels worked out, too. And I got medicated for my ADHD, too. A lot of better living through chemistry going on here. :) I am a lot less stressed now that I have a better work life. And not losing 2-3 hours/day on my commute is good, too. I have NOT, however, magically acquired the ability to keep my house clean as I was so sure that I would once I was home all the time. Someday.
I still wish that I lived closer to the rest of my family. Again, maybe someday. Right my family is dealing with a new baby (born premature and teeny tiny, but doing great!), my grandfather with cancer and a lot of recent mental health and other health problems, and my grandmother's problems, and my poor mother having to handle all of it. And I wish so much that I could be there to help with the baby and my grandparents and just take a bit of the load off my mother. And I wish I could be in Wyoming to help my sister while her husband is going through some major health problems. And I need to be here to take care of my family. And I just don't know how to be everywhere at once. So I just sit here and obsess over it. It's hard! I would so much rather be there and working all hours to help than be here unable to do anything useful. :(
In happy news, we got a settlement from a group lawsuit against an old employer. When Lehman Brothers went down the tubes, we all lost our shares and retirement accounts. Apparently the government filed suit on our behalf... I knew nothing about it until I was notified that I would be getting a check. Instead of doing the responsible thing and investing it, we decided to use part of it (we are being responsible with most of it ;) ) for a fabulous vacation. Combined with a bunch of frequent flyer miles, we were able to swing it to plan a family trip to Costa Rica this summer. We are all really looking forward to the adventure.
And with that, I think I've covered the highlights and lowlights of the last several months. I'll be looking for better things to share with you.