Archive for June, 2014

Long-term Goals

The question came up in a 1:1 meeting with my manager today: What are your long-term goals? Where do you see yourself in three or five years?

I’ve been at this job for just over three years. I was hired shortly before my one-year anniversary as a widow. Taking the job was a big deal for me. It was an acknowledgement that I couldn’t linger on the island of grief forever, that it was time to get back to real life and try to be a responsible adult again. It was hard. Just making myself get out of bed every morning when the alarm rang took a Herculean effort for a while.

I took this job because I had decided I wasn’t ready to give up and die, and I needed money to live on. There really was no plan beyond that. Long-term goals? Are you kidding me? Every plan I had for my life died with my husband. Every dream was gone beyond recalling. My goals were things like getting through the day without crying at my desk and sleeping through the night without doping myself into oblivion. The furthest I would allow myself to look into the future was a few months. I could look forward to specific plans I’d made with friends, to taking some vacation days to visit my mom for the holidays, things like that. I couldn’t bear to contemplate a long-term future that didn’t include the only man I had ever loved.

If someone had asked me that question — where did I see myself in three or five years? — back then, I would have laughed. Or cried.

When my manager asked me today, I still didn’t know how to answer her. (I don’t think “I see myself winning the lottery and never having to work again” would have gone over very well.) I’ve drifted through these last three years, taking it pretty much one day at a time, with no particular direction — just letting the current carry me where it would. But in the last year I’ve started taking steps to pay down some of the debt that my dear departed husband left me with (and, by the way, if it turns out there is an afterlife, we’re going to have a chat about that someday), which is sort-of a plan, right? And I’ve realized that I do want to stay with this company and maybe, just maybe, I don’t want to be an admin assistant for the rest of my working life.  So perhaps it IS time to start thinking about long-term goals again.

And as I mull this over, I find that contemplating a long-term future on my own is not the problematic part anymore. The thing is, I have changed SO much in the four years since I lost my husband, I’m no longer the same person I was before he died. And I know I’m not done healing and growing and changing. So who the hell knows who I’m going to be five years from now or what that person will want to do for her career? Ah, if only I had a working crystal ball.





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