Sunday Blog 81 – 23rd April 2023
For something a little bit different I thought I might share some of the rejected submissions I have been doing, adapting them to the Sunday Blog platform. Gets them out into the world somehow!
“I think I’m done,” she said. Until that moment, she was my boss. She was leaving the office, leaving the organisation, handing the baton to me. From that day on, I would be the manager of the Perth-based childbirth education non-profit we had nurtured. Much thought and care had gone into the succession plan to ensure that it would be a smooth handover. I had had an entire year working alongside her in a nominal role of Business Development Manager, but in reality, I was Manager in waiting.
I walked her down the steps from her office, now my office, to the front door. With more to do (there’s always more to do) I was going to head back upstairs and keep on working.
Our protocol was the last person in the office locked themselves in. The front door had a glass panel. She hugged me one last time and walked through the door. The key turned in the lock, and she was on the outside, I was on the inside. Without thinking, we both put our hands up to the glass and smiled into each other’s eyes.
In truth, the handover year with my colleague had dragged at times. There was an edge of triumph and excitement for me as I stood on the inside of the office, my hand up against hers on the glass.
Then she was gone.
I was Manager.
Locked on to the bucking bronco ride. The terror of giving media comment. The hard work of keeping government funders happy. Providing members (i.e. mothers and others), our most important people with what they needed. Keeping staff happy. Keeping the Board happy. An endless tightrope walk.
Three years later I got off that bucking bronco. I came out as an author with my self-published memoir Not My Story. I felt like I could no longer run and organisation and be an author. I felt like I needed to move on. For the next year I moonlighted in a non-profit, still working in health, but now I was three rungs down the hierarchy.
And I didn’t like it. Not being able to make decisions sucked. I forgot about the tough parts of being a leader, and just before my 50th birthday, I landed the opportunity to run our state’s patient advocacy non-profit.
As I have written elsewhere, this came to an end over a year ago, and I am back to moonlighting in the non profit world. I’m closing in on book number two, but now my writing practice is much more deeply embedded. I keep walking the labyrinthine path towards full time creative, taking many pragmatic job opportunity pit stops along the way.