Sometimes, the biggest change in our life comes from the most challenging situations.
For me, the one that comes to mind was one of the worst jobs I have ever had.
I’ve sold cemetery plots, so for me to stay if was one of my Top 5 worst jobs, that’s saying a lot.
I had left my job as a sports reporter to take a position that was part time but without the commute. The way I figured it, I would make up the lost wages by saving on gas, maintenance, and the multiple cups of coffee I consumed daily. My math has always been sketchy though.
It was a tough decision for me to make but I hated being away from my child so much, especially in the evenings when he couldn’t go with me as my ‘assistant,’ to sit on the sidelines with his own notepad and camera.
So, I took what I thought would be a soft place to land and maybe hold some potential for future growth.
It was not the first time, nor the last, that I was wrong.
The company itself was not the problem. No, it was my supervisor. A modern-day workplace bully.
There were days I went home and sat on the front porch, chain smoked and cried.
I had never been made to feel so low in my life.
The bully ridiculed me once because someone didn’t respond to a call I had paged them for quick enough. As if I had some power or influence on when someone would pick up a call in another part of the building.
If any of us in the department made even the tiniest of errors, we received a novel length email, chastising us by name and highlighting our sins.
He would tally how many times I went to the bathroom in a day, and text me over the weekend when I was off to ask why a customer didn’t come in.
It was borderline, if not actually, a hostile work environment in many ways because of this bully, and I actually filed a complaint with corporate about him.
I found another position, and was quickly devastated when it didn’t work out yet again to the commute.
In a moment of panic and desperation, I asked for my former job back, even though I cried in the shower for 15 minutes at the mere thought of it. When I was informed someone else had been hired, I was secretly relieved.
However, that didn’t change the fact I still needed a job and there was nothing in sight.
I had to figure out what my next steps were going to be.
It was an opportunity to spend some time and figure out what I wanted to do, instead of enduring the same or similar situations at different companies.
After reflecting on what I thought would give me a better path, I decided to go to grad school.
Not everyone wants to go back to school and I get that. Not everyone should feel like they have to either.
I had several people tell me they thought it was a waste of time and money, and that I was crazy for even putting myself through it. For me, it was what I felt would be a good next step to take.
We often get so stuck sometimes with our lives that it takes something horribly uncomfortable to make us get on track.
That job was what did it for me. It was a miserable experience and one I swore I would never endure again.
While going back to school didn’t solve all of my problems — and my Mama continued to tell me for the next five years that the money and time would have been better spent in law school — it did help me feel like I was gaining some strength and control over my own life.
And that’s often what those moments where we have had ‘enough’ to lead us to find another path.
A sense of control.
A fresh start, or at least the potential for new opportunities.
We don’t grow where we are comfortable nor do we often see change when we are stuck in the same routine.
We can’t repeat the same thing over and over again and expect a different outcome; that has been described as the definition of insanity, yet, our own human nature makes us hope something will be different if we just persevere.
So we keep trying to make unhealthy situations, relationships, and toxic environments work.
Sometimes, it takes us reaching that breaking point, our own personal limit, to force us to take those steps.
I’m not saying school is the answer for everyone. Nope. I’m not. I’m saying finding what can help you grow and feel empowered is, and that looks different for everyone.
When we are painfully uncomfortable, it is a symptom we need to make a move, or we won’t reach our full potential, much like a plant that needs to be repotted so it can grow.
It took me a long time to have the ability to be thankful for that horrible position, to find the lesson and the nuggets of grace, but when I finally did, I was thankful that it gave me the discomfort of realizing that I needed a change.
Sudie Crouch is an award-winning humor columnist residing in the North Georgia Mountains among the bears, deer, and possibly Sasquatch. You can connect with her on Facebook at Mama Said: A Collection of Wit, Humor, and Deep-Fried Wisdom. Her recently published book, ‘Mama Said: A Collection of Wit, Wisdom, and Deep-Fried Humor’ is available in paperback and Kindle download on Amazon.