Thursday, February 27, 2014

You May be Holding the Key

Have you ever wanted to know what was in store ahead of you, where you would be, what you would be doing?  Have you ever thought to yourself, "I just want this situation to be over?" or "I don't know how much more of this I can take?"  Looking back over the last three months there is no way I could have expected things to turn out the way they did.

As often happens, Rick leaves and I find myself alone with some time to think and process things and the opportunity to sort them out enough to write about them, this was the case tonight.  I though perhaps I would go see what I lasted blogged about, because I couldn't remember when the last time I blogged had been.  To my surprise the last blog was written the week of Thanksgiving 2013, which unbeknownst to me was also the middle of a huge change that was about to take place in my life.  Ironically, the blog below is a blog where I wrote about coming to the place where I was going to appreciate me, right where I was.  Regardless, of what others thought about me and how I was treated I committed to myself that the opinions of others who did not have my best interest at heart would not control my happiness.

What am I talking about?  Well, as I alluded to in the post below I was struggling in my professional life.  I was working for someone with no ethics, no leadership skills, and who was so insecure with herself that she sought to make everyone around her question their own abilities.  Never in all my years as a federal employee had I ever seen such poor treatment of employees go unchecked and uncorrected.  I struggled with a year of, "How much longer can I put up with this?" I considered moving back to Hawaii with the kids to find fulfillment in my career, but in the end did not think it was fair to my husband to take the last years our youngest son was to live at home away from him.  I looked for other positions within the organization, only to have my boss make sure those doors got slammed shut with her slanderous words.  I thought about quitting, but in the end refused to give up my career and my time in federal service all because of someone else, I didn't want her to have that power over me. 

The week prior to Thanksgiving was an especially hard week, where the entire management team was accused of things, battered, abused, and treated poorly.  After seeing my boss in the Exchange the weekend before Thanksgiving and had to deal with more of her negative energy and nastiness something in me broke. I made the decision that day that I was no longer going to be treated that way and I was going to use the proper channels to file an official complaint and let the chips fall where they may.  I realized my own self worth and decided for myself enough was enough.  So I made some calls that weekend, and began to pursue the path of standing up for myself.  What I did not know was that the other managers ALL reached that breaking point that weekend, and as of Monday morning all of started to file formal complaints. What we all did not know was that our boss for all intents and purposes had quit that week, without knowing we all had reached our breaking points, she reached hers and quit.  

What I find so powerful in all of this is that it was not until all the managers, these talented professional women who had struggled with being beat down verbally and emotionally for a year all reached their breaking point that the struggle was broken in the work place.  It wasn't until we all decided that we were valuable and worth more than we were getting, until we decided that enough was enough that things changed.

It wasn't until I decided in my mind, heart, and soul that I would not allow myself to be treated this way that my breakthrough came.

Since, that moment I have worked some of the longest hours of my career as the remaining three managers struggled to keep the programs running in the absence of three managers.  However, even on the longest days, we were happier than we had been in a year.  Things have shifted for not just those who reached their breaking point and decided enough is enough, but the organization as a whole is benefitting from being free to enjoy their work environment as professionals.  We all have new positions, and have found that we really like each other and we are an awesome team.

In closing I would like to say, that often times we are the ones to hold the key to change in our lives.  Certain situations are going to remain in your life until you decide that they are unacceptable and do something about it.  

Ask yourself, what situation are you holding the key to in your life?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I Am Thankful for Me!

Yes, my title says I am thankful for me!  This last year has been trying but has taught me so much about myself and life.  I have learned to value myself, not in a puffed up look at me way, but in a way that allows me to understand my own worth and protect myself.

As women we tend to buy into the Pnterest, DIY, and latest fitness hype of the day.  Now, I am not saying any of those things are bad or harmful, but when we begin comparing ourselves to them we fall into a trap.  Think about are surfing through Pinterest and you see all these amazing ideas and can't wait to try them for your holiday party.  You start making lists and gathering items and you are ready to go.  But then life happens and you don't have the time to get it all done or your glue won't do the things that the Pinterest glue does and BAM!  You start asking yourself why you can't get it done like the people on Pinterest.  Well ladies here's a news flash for you...all those items on Pinterest were put on there by THOUSANDS of people.  So you as an individual are trying to be all Pinterest or Martha Stewart when both of them have thousands of people working their stuff!  Slow down decide what matters and focus on that.

This year has been a professional struggle for me.  I am going to type into words what I have been saying to myself for several months...Jill you should be ashamed of yourself!  I have been married to an active duty submariner for 24 years and have dealt with deployments, separation, long working hours, and being a single parent.  BUT I have never had to deal with the frustration of moving every three years and the effect it can have on your career.  I was spoiled and lived in the same place for 22 of those years and was able to build a solid reputation and name for myself in my field.  I never struggled having to find a job; I simply applied for them and got them.  I never had to struggle to re-establish my career and my reputation.  Well, this last year I was able to experience just that and I found out it sucks!   However, even in the suckage (its my blog I can make up words:)) I have learned a valuable value myself and not to allow others to dictate my worth in both my own mind and in the work place.  I had to spend countless hours praying, encouraging myself, and getting tongue lashings from those who love me to keep a grasp on who I am and my professional value.  The truth is you really can't make people accept your value professionally...but you can hold on to your worth with both hands for yourself.  

Another lesson learned this year comes from a blog I wrote a couple of months ago..."Don't Put Poop in Your Pocket."  And I will be honest some days when I use that saying I use the word poop...other days its the naughty word for poop...because man....its bad poop!  But the gist of it is people leave crap all over....gossip, lies, anger, name it, but you don't have to latch on to it and make it yours.  You can simply chose to leave it where it is and not accept all the negativity they are trying to share with the world.  

The final lesson of the year is the common thread in all three of the above lessons...YOU control what you think, feel, and allow into your life. Value yourself enough to throw out the trash of life and hold tightly to what you value. Ladies, I promise you it is ok to love you, appreciate you, and be thankful for the person you were, are, and will be!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Veterans Day 2013

Shhhhhh!!!!! It’s early in the morning on the Saturday of Veteran’s Day weekend and I am enjoying not only the peace and quiet, but the feeling of completeness that comes from knowing your husband is home from sea.

Veterans Day weekend, sadly like Memorial Day and 4th of July are often just thought of as a day off by most Americans.  For those who serve, have served, and ever loved anyone who served these are days where reflection and honoring come before BBQ’s, parades, and fireworks.

Personally, I live a life of honor and reflection, grateful for the sacrifices daily that the service men and women have made, are making, and will continue to make.   Living, working, and spending almost every waking moment on a military base will do that to a person.  Add to that the fact that I am supporting my husband as he lives a life of sacrifice, as are my children, and it’s easy to understand when I say live a life of honor, reflection, and gratefulness that I mean it as a verb, an action.

I am given the opportunity daily to honor the service of our active duty members as I strive to provide them with excellent childcare as the CDC Director.  Our team works to make sure that they can go to work knowing not only that their children are safe, but they are loved and happy.  I am provided the opportunity twice a day to reflect on the sacrifice and gift that those who serve have given, are giving, and will give as I hear Colors twice a day and I pause, and reflect.

I am also grateful daily for those who serve, as I witness them daily working to serve their country.  I witness the gate guards serving as sentries to the base; I see the medical staff at the hospital serving active duty members and their families.  I am blessed to drive down the pier and see submarines ready and willing to go into harms way.  I am witness to the tears of sorrow as a submarine pulls out of port, tears of frustration as moms and children work to find their grove while dad is gone, and tears of joy when that submarine comes through the harbor and makes her way back to the pier.   I am in the thick of honor, courage, and commitment daily, I am fortunate enough to witness sacrifice in action. So I have an unfair advantage over most American’s, because I see daily sacrifice in action, rather than just a news clip here or there.  I am grateful for the life I have been blessed to live as part of such an amazing group of men and women. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

My Anchor

My current life situation has me feeling a bit adrift and since I have been meaning to write about the anchor’s symbolism for some time, today seems like as good a day as any to delve into this blog.

For many years the anchor has been a symbol of honor, courage, and commitment in my life.  It has symbolized the way we have committed to serving and living.  However, recently as I have begun to contemplate a tattoo (perhaps a mid-life crisis) the anchor has been the choice I keep coming back to.  I have considered going completely CPO in my theme, but for some reason I have shied away from making that move. 

Several recent experiences have left me feeling a bit like I was being tossed around in the water and I began to think of the anchor in a different light.  I began to see the anchor as a tool used to keep you from drifting and being destroyed in the storm, as a place of safety and security.
There have been many times in my husbands naval career that I have fought to stay grounded and sought refuge from the storm crashing around me.  I will never forget the day I found out my husbands submarine had been on its way out of the Gulf, when she was turned around and sent back in.  The end of an already long seven month deployment, homecoming, and the ships safety had been within arms reach, and then it was taken.  That morning at early Morning Prayer, our Pastor taught a lesson on Proverbs 24:10 If you faint in the day of adversity, Your strength is small. This scripture immediately sunk into my spirit and gave me the will and strength to fight to stay afloat for my own sanity and the well-being of my children. 

There have been several times since then that I have clung to this scripture, refusing to have small strength because I felt that if my strength was indeed small I would fail those who were depending on me to keep it together, those who were looking at me for answers.  Fear that if I gave into the feelings of despair and let my strength be weak, I may never return.

Where did the strength come from, you may ask?  It came from my relationship with God, from my faith that He was in control of the situation and all I had to do was remain strong and focused on what He had told me, versus focusing on the chaos around me. He must be my anchor; He must be the shelter in the storm.

So, I have decided that my tattoo will indeed be the fouled naval anchor, but rather than honor, courage, and commitment it will say, “Refuse to Sink” and this will be a constant reminder that my strength will not be weak in my days of adversity, as long as I make sure that the anchor which keeps me safe from the storm is God.