Two Years Ago Today

Some dates just stay with you. Always. There's your birthday, your wedding anniversary and the days your children are born. All Big Days For Sure. There are others too. Dates that resonate with Only You. Back in April of this year, in "This is The Day" I mentioned one of mine. Well, here's another Random Date from my archives. A Personal Milestone Day. June 19, 2009 was my last day Workin' In The Office. My last day On The Job. I'd given notice on Thursday, June 4. I gave 'em 15 days. Which made my last day Friday. Seemed like The Thing To Do at the time. It was A Big Deal. SUPER BIG. Here is My Resignation Letter:

June 4, 2009

Mr. X,

Thank you for the opportunity to sit at the table with you in the printer negotiation meeting on Tuesday June 2. I hope you decide to move forward with Acme Printer. They sound like a hard working, innovative company that truly wants to do the best job possible for their customers. I’d love the opportunity to work with them on your catalogs.

However, it’s time for me to close this chapter and figure out what the next blank page holds. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do because I care so much about your company, the people there and the vendors I’ve worked with on two continents. The problem is I care too much and it’s hurting me and my family. I need to step away and give someone else the opportunity to develop the catalogs and run Acme In House Ad Agency.

There is a passage of text from Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas, by James Patterson:
“Imagine life is a game in which you are juggling five balls. The balls are called work, family, health, friends, and integrity. And you’re keeping all of them in the air. But one day you finally come to understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls – family, health, friends, integrity – are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered. And once you truly understand the lesson of the five balls, you will have the beginnings of balance in your life.”

It would have been easy to leave in January during the thick of spring 2009 catalog season. However, I stayed and saw it through. The fall catalogs are getting off the ground now. However, my heart isn’t in it anymore and that’s what got me through all those years of meeting impossible deadlines and climbing mountains. I’m ready to coast down the other side. Summer is here and my children are out of school. I’ve missed too much at home over the years. I want to be there for more than breakfast and bedtime.

You told me recently the catalogs cost you more this year for the same number of pages and same number of titles. They cost me more too. They cost me sleepless nights and a sick stomach and missed moments that I can never get back. They nearly cost me everything I hold most dear. There is more to life than deadlines. It’s time for me to find out what life is like without a “catalog season”. Time for me to take the big red circles with catalog due dates off the calendar.

The first catalog I did for you was XYZ Fall 1998. The last one will be XYZ Fall 2009. I have five unused days of paid vacation to be added to my last paycheck.

I’ll never be “done” with the filing and sorting and teaching but it’s time for me to go after 11+ years as an Acme In House Ad Agency employee. I will return the original computer equipment from 1998 and back up disks from my house prior to my last day on June 19, 2009.

Janean M. Baird

Did you per chance notice the ragged turquoise edge on the paper? Once Upon A Time this was my resume paper. Ironic that it was used again For The Flip Side Of The Coin. My co-workers surprised me with A Pirate Party that morning to say, "Bon Voyage". We'd spent the winter talking like pirates, saying, "Arrrg" and "Ahoy, Matey" to pass the Stress Filled Days. Pirate flags were the decor. To go with the parrot hanging from the ceiling. Chocolate dessert was plentiful.

One of the artists I'd been workin' with put ball point pen to computer paper. On either side of the well armed ship he wrote these Words Filled With Wisdom:

"One-eyed Janean,
May the sails of your life always have wind to help you through.
Beware of shark infested water…
Don't be afraid to make others walk the plank.
Let God guide your ship from time to time and don't miss the signs.
Safeguard the treasure that is your family and don't let it get buried in the sand.
Remember that you are not alone and that one captain, a whole crew does not make.
Enjoy your new voyage on this trip we all call life.
~ Your Friends & Crew Mates"

He knew me well. My First Mate. Taught him what I could. In the time we worked together. Best of all, those lessons weren't one sided. He taught me plenty too. About the Things That Really Matter. Deadlines smedlines. Who really cares?! Don't miss that event at school. Catalog schmatalog. Make sure you're home for supper. Money Schmoney. Yes, it makes the world go 'round. But you can get by on less and live a life much richer spending time with those you treasure.

I spent six months feeling burdened. From January to June of that year. I was weighted with the question, "Should I stay or should I go?" My husband said, "You're the only one holding yourself prisoner there. I can't make The Decision for you." Dramatic. Yes, I know. Then The Decision was made, Notice Given and The Countdown begun. I felt weightless as a feather. A co-worker remarked, "Your steps are lighter." It was true. I'd been walking in for weeks on legs encased in concrete. Dragging my feet and wanting to be Anywhere But There. Suddenly I felt like skipping. My father mentioned over the phone, "Your mother's right. The lilt is back in your voice." The lighter step and lilt returned were outward signs of The Change Within. Three letters say it best. J-O-Y rediscovered. The kind that Bubbles Up From The Inside. THIS IS SO MUCH BETTER.

Even now. Especially now, As We Face The Fight of Our Lives. A New Chapter is beginning as we try to keep the glass ball labeled "Health" from shattering. Fast forward nearly two years, from my resignation, to May 25, 2011. The day of my husband's Procedure. As we packed up to head toward home, still reeling from The News, the discharge nurse inquired, "Do you work?", meaning, "Outside The Home?". I replied, "Not at the moment." She said, "Good. It'll make it easier. Less stress." Truer words were never spoken. Her simple words keep resonating. Even Now. In My Mind. The thought that keeps returning is that It's God Plan. He knew we'd need those years just passed To Build A Firm Foundation. We're Praising Him even in the midst of this Storm Filled Sea. The boat we're in is Holding Course. We know God's Got It Covered. Nothing catches Him by surprise. Day by Day and Step by Step we'll Take It As It Comes as we cast off toward The Great Unknown.

"This is The day"

"Too Young For This"

PLEASE NOTE: Names of people and businesses have been changed.

© 2011, Janean Baird Turquoise Tangles


7 thoughts on “Two Years Ago Today

  1. Anonymous writes:Control. We always want to be in control. I don't mean "controlling"; but in control. I was afraid to move from our Jones Place house. We had lived there for 24 years. I knew it. If something happened to your dad, I knew I could still afford it and take care of it. It sounds foolish even to me now, but I worried about moving for about a year before we actually did it. The unknown. I worked my way through it and am glad I did. Finally I realized this: If something is no longer working, you do something different…as you did. The other thing I have come to accept is, we are NEVER really in control. And that is where faith comes in. Faith in ourselves, yes, but faith in God who will help us always. We only need to lift up our concerns and give up our (perceived) control. Love you.

  2. Dear Mom,Love YOU! I've always been A Planner. In the two years since leaving That Art Director Job I've been still and waited. Waited for Him to show me What's Next For Me. His Plan For My Life. Not mine. In the past I would have taken the reins and dashed off with determination. I had a glimmer of an idea forming. On the back burner now. It'll keep. Simmering. Until The Time Comes. Did you read, "sometimes life throws you curveballs"?I'm learning how to be a better hitter and to duck when the wild pitches are thrown.,Janean

  3. :love:

  4. Aidia, Oh, How I Know About The Out Of Balance Life. Every so often I re-read the passage about the five balls, because it's a Reminder I need still. This New One and Finding Balance is A Whole Different World. More mellow and calm. Yes, Action is next. Which one of us is going to go first?! ;-)~ Janean

  5. The part of 5 balls remind me about my past mistake. I juggled only two and half balls, then life became unbalance.Till I stopped everything, started to watch, be quiet, and learn. Then I realize something, as you said, "day by day and step by step we'll take it as it comes as we cast off toward the Great Unknown". Now, it's time to act!

  6. Oh Janean..I'm sorry I missed your original post here, but immensely glad and honored that you gave me the link when you read a poem that resonated with you on my page.Everything you say, everything you write about echoes down the years and still the wisdom applies.. it is as immortal as faith itself.I like and admire the way you commenced your letter of resignation in measured and courteous terms (the courtesy is there throughout of course, and is no surprise to me). As you stated the facts in what I can imagine was a quiet and gentle but firm 'voice', you reach the nexus of what you intend and your reference to the balls that cannot be dropped and the ball that can be. Beautifully said. The metaphors are totally apt.I site here as I read your wonderful narrative. I know from my own experience that there is a time when work, no matter how clever one is or how hard one labors, becomes something that dominates, with its incessant deadlines, meetings, debates, targets, and sales and so on.There is a time when exhaustion starts to overtake energy and no matter how clever or committed one is, the company is relentless in it's non stop pursuit of the 'bottom line'.It's better to go, get out on one's own initiative and terms, at a moment when the value of all the things you mention must be safeguarded and those precious glass balls kept in the air, as you juggle, and the work ball let go. Your resignation letter is a masterpiece of 'seeing through a looking glass 'and knowing what has to be done. It's very moving to read about the support from – Your Friends And Crew Mates – and in particular the artist you mention. I know a little about your "Fight For Our Lives", because I have read your deeply moving posts on this. And though I cannot match your struggle in actuality, I truly feel the sense of what is happening, through all that you say, here and elsewhere in words that touch my heart deeply as I read about you and your family and your "Fight For Our Lives".Forgive me for the length of my reply, but I want you to know that I read your post with pride and thanks that there are people like you and your family. You stand as examples of courage and endurance and unswerving love… and a quiet but profound, cogent, belief that HE who created all that was, and is, and shall be, is your abiding strength and help throughout what is happening. God bless you and yours, dear Janean… and thanks for guiding me to here. It is a wonderful and humbling experience to read all that is written in your post and also the comments of your Mom too.Yours in friendship and thanks and deep respect,John

  7. John,Thank you for following the link I left in your comments and linking back to your post in your comments as well. Feels Just Right. I'll never forget, when I arrived at the office that day, wearing my red boots for courage, even though it was early June. I was determined not to chicken out. It had to be done. For so many reasons. I went to see The Boss in his office and handed him the sealed envelope. He said, "What's this?" I replied, "My two weeks notice."His face fell in surprise and he said, "What?! Can we talk about this?"he started to list things off, reasons to stay and I responded to each, one by one, with reasons to go. Finally, when waves of emotion threatened I said, "Read the letter." and beat a hasty retreat back to my desk. At the end of the work day, as the office cleared he walked to my desk and asked, "Can we talk about this?"I said, "Not today. maybe tomorrow."Yes. The courtesy was there. I did it right. I left on a good note. I saw the two weeks through with a smile on my face and not bad mouthing to incredulous vendors once The News was out.I also remember telling my dad the news over the phone that night. That I'd given notice at work. There was a pause and then he said, "Praise God!" in a loud voice as if he were shouting Hallelujahs up to Heaven. And he may have been. He was outside doing yard work at the time. Not too many parents are pleased to hear their grown children are unemployed. Even children who are married with children of their own. The Universe Was Talking during those six months of torment. God was turning up the volume so that even this stubborn hard headed woman HAD to hear Him. There is so much more to say about my husband's ongoing cancer fight. My husband is so amazing, in setting the tone to Trust The Lord. The mantra we are repeating, from our pastor is, "God is bigger than cancer. It's God with a capital 'G' and cancer with a small 'c' for a reason." He's got this. Nothing surprises God. We can see and feel His hand at work in our lives. It's truly an amazing feeling, and difficult to describe, other than as calm and peaceful inside, even in the midst of the storm. It's the Power of Prayer at work. Our burden is lighter because it is shared by so many. We are praising Him. My Faith has deepened since leaving work. It made no logical sense to walk away from a steady, reliable and comfortable income. It was stepping out in Faith, like when Peter walked on water with Jesus. If we keep our eyes on him we won't sink. Even if we do sink, He is there to catch us. It seems I've written a post as my reply to you in the comments as well, John. There is so much to say about this myriad of topics. They are tangled up together like life is. Overlapping and ongoing and moving faster than we want sometimes. My mother often comments on my posts here. I always enjoy her insight into the topic at hand and into me. I don't fool her nearly as often as I think. She knows me well. Inside and out. Whether I write it down and share it here or not. Janean

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