Posted in Daily Prompt

A Bird in One Hand……

DSCF6116 (2).JPGMost people have heard the saying, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”  We roll our eyes when we hear one, but clichés serve a purpose. They are the way elders to offer sage advice to younger people in the hope they will be spared pain and sorrow for certain mistakes.

I have found in most cases; however, the best teacher is experience herself.

Satisfaction does not come easy for me. I am a perfectionist by nature and tend to want immediate results. Fortunately, I am also a bit risk-adverse, which keeps me from throwing caution to the wind in search of gold at the end of the rainbow. This is particularly true when it comes to my job. I work in Information Technology and my daily challenge of “too much to do and no time to do it” weighs me down. When it gets to be too much, I daydream about a better job. Granted, there is nothing wrong with wanting a change, but I have been here before.  I learned the hard way that not appreciating what you have can cause a person to stop thinking rationally and to make bad choices.

When I was much younger and just starting my career, there was a time when I felt I was not being treated fairly by my employer. I accepted a job with a company that had a bad reputation. My friends warned me, even my manager warned me, but I wouldn’t listen. I told them the company had changed, that they really did care about their employees, and that all those old rumors were no longer valid. Blah-dee-blah-dee-blah. In retrospect, I was rationalizing why giving up a perfectly good job (and it was) to work for a questionable employer was somehow the right thing to do.

I should have realized my mistake on my first day. It was after 5:00 p.m. and the employee I was working with not slowing down. My daughter’s daycare closed at six and I said I had to leave. The woman I was working with looked at me dead serious and said I might need to find other arrangements. Limited overtime was one of the conditions discussed during my interview, and this deal was broken the first day.

I started work in February, and for first few months, things seemed fine. I liked the people I worked with, I was treated well by management, and atmosphere was great. Around May, however, the job started taking over my life.  As a computer programmer, I was no stranger to being called in the middle of the night to fix a coding problem. At my old job, this was a shared responsibility that prevented burn-out. At my new job, I was part of a two-person team: my supervisor and myself. Guess who got most of the calls. On an almost a nightly basis, I would receive a phone call, drive to the office, fix a problem, drive home, get a little sleep, then back to work. Some nights I would barely make it through the door when my husband would tell me that the computer operator had just called again. The lack of sleep and having to care for a two-year old daughter was starting to wear me down.

I remember the night I finally reached my breaking point. I got a call telling me to come in and fix a problem. It was a Friday night and my husband was out with friends, and I had no one to take care of our daughter. I packed up my sleepy little girl and drove to the office. It was after midnight before my husband came to pick her up. When he got there, I was sitting on the curb in front of the building, hysterically crying. I was so exhausted and overcome by stress that no bird would have been better than the one bird I had. The next day, I managed to pick myself up and go on. In the end, however, I finally gave up and called my ex-boss and asked for a job. My lesson had lasted than a year.

Whenever I get too disgruntled with my current job, I remember this story. For some, it may sound like failure, but for me, it is a check-point. I may not stay in my current job forever, but I will never leave a for emotional reasons. I learned the hard way about clichés . Before I give up this bird, I will make sure the others birds are worth pursuing.  

 

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