After eight months of working ten-hour plus shifts, six-day work weeks, attending mandatory 9:00 a.m. staff meetings on my only day off, the stress and demands of my job began to take a toll on my 28-year young body. The combination of the long hours, attending evening classes at a community college, mothering a pre-school age daughter, and maintaining my young marriage, one day, it all hit me like a ton of bricks.
Literally, I was meeting with an employee. Attempting to give her an annual performance evaluation. The day, like most, had been a busy one; customer complaints, billing account issues, and more.
I was celebrated by my staff, my peers, and my General Manager for maintaining composure during the most difficult times and known for pulling solutions out of my magic hat to solve bizarre problems. They never saw me sweat. I still believe every problem/challenge has a solution.
On this day, bricks lay on my chest. I remembered taking deep yoga like breaths, confident that the pressure on my chest would disappear and not return. Dana (not her real name), didn’t recognize my discomfort. She was most likely blinded by the anticipation of receiving her overdue evaluation.
I shifted in the chair—to the right— then to the left–but no relief. As strong as my tolerance was for pain, I sat silent… surprised and unable to maintain control through the pain. Tears trickled down my checks leaving shadow like stains through my bronze foundation. The moisture flows uncontrollably.
“What’s wrong? Are you okay?” Pausing… “No. I’m in pain. The pain won’t go away…”
My doctor saw me the same day. Several tests later and a few days later, I find myself angrily sitting in the examining room with my doctor. My tests (Blood, EKG, and a few others returned negative). I’m a mess, but don’t realize it… but I was about to find out.
“Your body is responding to stress young lady. Your work schedule and daily routine is affecting your health. You need to change jobs!”
I sit quietly and listen. He goes on to say more.
At that moment I feel the verge of a nervous breakdown invading my soul. My body wants to shake, convulse, fall on the floor and cry and scream. I want to tell him to go straight to hell. “Change jobs!” I snap. “Easy for you to say, DOC….TOR!!! I’m trying to get my damn education, you’ve got yours!! Asshole!”
He tells me that I need to take some time off from work and writes me a doctor’s note, which places me on immediate medical leave.
“Is he F’n kidding! I run the front office of a hotel. August is peak season. You don’t take weeks off in August.” He tells me I don’t have a choice.
I return to work and looking for the GM/Owner. He’s nowhere to be found. I clear his desk and leave the note with a request for him to call me. He NEVER called me. His only concern was hotel revenue.
During the weeks that I stayed home, I felt battered, broken, and beyond repair. My body, my mind, and my spirit were frail. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was going to fall apart. I followed doc’s orders and rested.
During my medical leave, I applied for a Training Coordinator’s position at a casino (located right next door to the hotel where I worked). I interviewed and auditioned (in August); however, the position was offered to an in-house employee. I was given the standard, “We will keep your application on file, blah, blah, blah..”
Two weeks later I returned to work. In my mailbox was a nasty memo from my GM/Owner,
“Due to your absence, the hotel as lost X amount of dollars in revenue….” The rest is a blur!!
After careful discussion with hubby, the next day I took a leap in faith and resigned from my position. My GM wanted to know how I could afford to quit my job without another job and insisted I work the next two weeks straight without a day off. I refused and worked my normal six-day workweek.
We took a much-needed family vacation to Disney. After returning from Disney, I decided to take a holiday seasonal job selling cosmetics at Macy’s. I previously enjoyed selling cosmetics and thought I could have fun. Fun was the motivator NOT money.
Two days before Christmas, the store is jammed packed, wall-to-wall shoppers. A girl walks up to my counter:
Girl: Excuse me, aren’t you the lady who applied for the Trainer position back in August at Tropicana?
Me: Umm yeah, why?
Girl: Someone left the department and they are looking for your paperwork, but they can’t find it. Are you still interested in the job?
Me: Yes, I am. (I wanted to say hell yeah!)
Girl: She hands me a card, writes down a number, and tells me to call the Director.
On my break I call the Director. She tells me she’ll call me back. Later that day she calls,
“Merry Christmas, the job is yours!!!”
I started my new job on January 4, 1994! It was one of the BEST career moves in my life. The normal, 9-5 like hours, weekends and holiday off, were perfect for my family and school. Starting with my attitude, everything changed for the better. I could see the shine in the sun, every detail around me became clear. I know that I became a better mother, a better wife, and a better student. I was earning substantially less money, but I was happy; happier than I’d been in a long time.
This experience taught me that sometimes in life, the path before us is unclear. Visibility may not be at it’s best; however, if you are doing good, carefully think through situations, weigh the pros and cons, and your core instincts tell you to move forward, then by all means, do it… whatever “it” is!
“Sometimes your only available transportation is leap of faith.”
Don’t sit around and wait for an ideal situation or opportunity to come, you may end up waiting forever.
Enjoy your holiday weekend!