When I walked through the doors of the Cambridge Hospital back on October 2, 1990 I never thought for a moment that I would spend almost 26 years of my life within those walls. I was 23 years old, freshly married of two years and didn't have any children at the time. I was hired into a 3-11 shift and after a couple of years I transitioned to days, working 7-3, the shift I kept for over two decades.
The commute into the city was easy breezy given the fact I lived 15 minutes away. But after my first son was born, we bought a home up in southern New Hampshire which increased my commute to over a half hour, on a good day. I did what I had to do, not thinking much of it at the time. Up until a few years ago I dealt with it just fine. That's when the stress of it all started to set in as every afternoon's commute got longer and longer and I found myself increasingly frustrated. When the decision was made to leave my job at the hospital, my afternoon commute was up to an hour and fifteen minutes. I'd sit in my car, stopped in a parking lot of traffic on route 93 north asking myself how I had done this for so long.
This past February my family and I took a wonderful cruise vacation to the Caribbean. The night before I was to return to work, my husband asked me what my biggest challenge was going to be the next morning. My answer was going back to a job I was no longer passionate about and dealing with an awful commute again. I got to work the next morning and logged into the network. Upon opening my email I saw one from the CEO. The Cambridge Health Alliance was scheduling a reduction in force and offering packages for folks who qualified and wanted to leave. Immediately the gears in my head started turning and I thought, could this be my golden opportunity?
Yes, it was. And I grabbed that opportunity with both hands and set the intention to make it happen.
I grew up at the Cambridge Hospital. This is where I matured and discovered so much about life. At one point I was the same age as the new incoming interns. Around the time I left I would look at the newbies and think my God, they look like they're fresh out of high school! I knew I had been there far too long.
I went through a period of being embarrassed to tell anyone that I had worked at the same place for so long. It was the fear of judgement and I would criticize myself for not making more of my life or for not getting some kind of degree like other people did. Until one fated conversation with a long time co-worker who helped me see my tenure from a different perspective. I made a list. A list of everything the Cambridge Hospital has offered me over the years. This is what I came up with, what I'm grateful for.
Working in Cambridge all these years was what I was supposed to be doing. It was part of my life path and I accept it. As I reflect I see the present moment as part of a transition that began a few years ago, around the time I enrolled in iPEC for my coaching certification. It was back then I started to feel the pull to do something more with my life, a pull to be of service to others using my natural gifts and talents that I was just starting to discover and acknowledge.
This part of the transition is exciting and it's terrifying and it's only been a week since I left! This process of officially "retiring" from the city of Cambridge took four months and was filled with countless conversations with my husband (my biggest supporter), a multitude of decision making (besides the decision to leave), questions, doubt, fear, more questions, but it's all worked out for my highest good and my greatest joy. I offer gratitude not only to my husband for being here with me every step of the way, but to the Cambridge Hospital as well, for all that it has offered me over the years.
I miss the folks I worked with and all the conversations, laughter and tears we shared together. They are forever etched in my memory with fondness and appreciation. However, I don't and never will miss the commute. I send loving, patient energy out to all who continue to travel up and down the stretch of Interstate 93 that runs from the New Hampshire border down to the city of Boston. May some of you receive the opportunity to do something different in life that will free you from that commute!
Now I set out, onward, upward and forward into this new adventure called the rest of my life!
7/7/2016 10:05:30 am
I too recently left my job after 30 years and can understand only too well although I knew in my heart that a new chapter was waiting to be written. I've struggled with the same issue of did I do enough, how could I have stayed so long in one place but then I remembered the lives I touched and the service I gave. It was more than most people give.
7/7/2016 10:58:22 am
Thank you so much for your reply Judi! Congratulations again on your retirement! Life is always changing. It's a matter of acceptance, growth and progress!
7/7/2016 12:54:04 pm
Shauna - I cherish your generosity of spirit and your courage. Thank you for sharing your insights as you transition. You are so easy to relate to, because while I see you as a strong, brave woman, you are not shy or afraid to also show us your worries, doubts and fears. I have no idea what the future has in store for you, but I know you will always move forward with determination and joy.
7/8/2016 03:57:46 am
Thank you so much Laura for your comments. I truly your support!
7/7/2016 05:32:09 pm
I just want you to know that you were the first person I met as I entered TCH for my interim engagement as director-I knew right away that you were a wonderful person who became a good friend. Thank you for making me feel welcome that first minute-thanks for the pictures and many laughs! Whatever you choose to do next I know you will be a smashing success!! Love, Irene
7/8/2016 04:01:21 am
I truly enjoyed working and laughing with you Irene! It was a pleasure to have you in the office next to me! Thank you for all your support!
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Self-Awareness and Transformational Coach, Inner Child Advocate, and Yin Yoga Teacher.