A Dream and an Epiphany
It was, and aren’t they usually all, so weird. The dream started out being a workish gathering that morphed into something more family/acquaintance oriented. It involved mom making sushi. Someone I didn’t know brought the fish. A mountain of fish. This is where my heart fell, because I knew mom would get agitated about how much fish there was (maybe 25 pounds). There were also live, mean prawns in this fish delivery. The prawns were 8-10” long and would leap out of their bowl and attach themselves to your thigh if you got too close to them 😂. Let me keep this as brief as possible… Mom set me to the task of making our family mayo dip for artichokes, which had me looking for a dish to make it in. As I did this, and unsuccessfully avoided the mean prawns, I started seeing mom’s attempts to make the sushi. She had diced fish into 3/8ths to 1/2” cubes, and rolled rice into long 3’ cones that started out about 1.25” in diameter and ended at 1/4” in diameter with the narrow end in multiple pieces. Seeing this I realized (in my dream scape) that my mama had lost her ability to sequence, to make a dish she used to excel at. It was at that point I woke up.
Quite unrelated to the dream, the epiphany, upon waking up, was why I had to stop working for a company whose mission I supported 1000%. When I started rolling out the grant program in September of 2019, as mom was encountering more and more challenges (falls, incontinence, increasing care needs), the job gave me a sense of control in my life where I otherwise had no control. Granted, working full time with a lot of traveling was challenging in the face of mom’s needs. Yet I created a program where none existed, and excelled at it. I built relationships with people who I valued, and who valued what I was bringing to their communities, to their residents. And it was more than that. It was making quarterly reports to the state (with a lot of collaboration with my boss and the company founder), hiring, training, managing, leading…
Then COVID-19 hit and all my communities (who all accept federal dollars) closed their doors. I was laid off. I expected this. Two weeks after I was brought back on, part-time, in a different role, mom died. I was forced to used vacation, sick time, and an often mentioned 16-hours of bereavement time to claim 32-hours a week of pay. I wanted to take a leave of absence, but because the company took out a PPP loan, they thought it all had to be used on payroll. I felt bullied. Two weeks after mom died I had to travel to attend to unforeseen family matters. Upon my return, I told the company I was unwilling to work 32-hours a week and they laid me off again. A relief.
When I came back at the end of July, in my original grant manager role, the company was in crisis. This is where the epiphany comes into play, if you’ve managed to get this far 😉.
The word of all companies struggling to survive the pandemic is “Pivot.” Upon my return at the end of July, this company pivoted 2-3 times a week until I left in mid-October. The reason I couldn’t stay is I was being driven nuts. Management shifting strategies multiple times a week was like surfing my mama’s dementia again. No, I’m not saying anyone running the company has neuro-degenerative problems, but the outcome of the constant operational changes (did I say two to three times a week?) was akin to what it was like (for me) living, handling, supporting, navigating my mom’s disease.
I’ve always known it was the constant pivoting that drove me out. Now I understand why.