OJT–On the Job Training

Leaving my steady job was one of the hardest decisions I have made recently.  I had a comfortable position; it didn’t take a lot of mental work to do it; I made some really good money and I knew my job well.  I should have: it took 13 years to get to that point.  If it was such a cozy place to be, then why would I leave?

The first thing I realized is that I was no longer happy when I got up in the morning.  It had become the place I had to go.  I set an intention at the first of this year to just BE.  I was going to embrace my life and start living as if I created it.  If I create it then it should at least bring happiness, right?

So I started to look at where I was, how long it took me to get there and what I had to show for it.   I had put in 9 of those years as a substitute and because the job didn’t consider it to be a “career”, I could not count that time towards retirement.  9 years of on-call duty, in all kinds of weather, day or night, weekends and Holidays and only took about a week off, but that didn’t qualify as a “career” to them.

I was governed; told when to arrive, when to return.  How much money I could make was already defined.  The raises promised were put on hold or canceled due to the ‘financial crisis’.   I had to ask permission to take a break, go on vacation and prove I was sick by paying a Dr. for a note, even when all he could do was tell me to take the day off, drink plenty of fluids and rest.

My “stable” job was always in jeopardy.  In the 13 years I was there, I never had one supervisor say, “Don’t worry.  Your job will still be here.”  No excuse was ever good enough to guarantee that it would still be mine the next day.  I was once in a serious car accident that was ruled NOT my fault by the employer.  A supervisor climbed in the back of the ambulance with me and asked, “How long do you think you will be out?  I have paperwork to fill out.”  I spent the next 3 years covering up severe back pain so I wouldn’t loose my stable job.  I eventually had to have the nerves in my lower back burned away to allow me to move upright and Thank God, pain free. Having a miscarriage on the clock wasn’t a good enough excuse either.  Even though I was visibly hemorrhaging, I was still required to bring in documentation to explain my absence.

If it was that bad, why did I spend 13 years there?  Why didn’t I leave?  Good questions.  Typical answers.  I have already been here this long….What else am I going to find that will pay me like this?….What else am I going to do?….and the biggest one of all—

I’M NOT QUALIFIED FOR ANYTHING ELSE.        Malarkey.   Here’s the lesson I recently learned.  Ready?

Everything we set out to do, from the moment we take our first breath is OJT.  Yep.  On the Job Training.  There is no manual for anything that applies to everyone.  Everything that is taught is taught from the EXPERIENCE of someone else.  We all learn through the experience of it.

It took me 13 years of on-the-job training to learn that delivering mail was not my passion.  It isn’t right for me now.  It was right for me 13 years ago.  It was a step up then.  It served its purpose.  I learned a lot of lessons.  It also took all of that heart-ache, pain, worry and frustration to get me to where I am now.

I took the proverbial, “leap of faith” and it was scary.  Don’t get me wrong.  I didn’t leave without a plan.  I had been planning to leave for a year before I actually made the move.  So what made it so scary?  Some might think I gave up the steady paycheck.  Yes, in essence, I did.  Change is scary because it is moving out of our comfort zone.  Change is the only constant however.

Looking at it from this side,  I gave up a little to gain so much more.  I am now more aware than I was 13 years ago.  I am more aware of my needs, wants and desires.  I needed the experiences that this part of my on-the-job training provided.  It took as long as it needed to take.  That’s all.

I have taken a new step in the ongoing training that we all call, LIFE.  I left the “stable” job and am embarking on one that is challenging, has a schedule I make and is at the same time, demanding of my time and freeing me for more.  I feel just like I did when I entered the Post Office as a new sub.  Scared, excited and ready to get to a new day.

I realize that I am qualified for everything, I just haven’t had the training or ‘experience‘ yet.  I don’t know how long this part of my OJT will last.  I know one thing though.  It will be as long as I need it to be.  Meaning:  I still have a whole lot of life to live!

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