Lately I have been thinking about the past ten or fifteen years and about how much my life has changed and how opportunities where doors shut, there windows to unknown places were left open to what turned out to be much better places with better opportunities. This is the second part of a two part post. The first part is here Forgiveness is Power , if you didn't get a chance to read that one, you might want to. Just writing about it helped me realize how much of a grudge I still felt for my old boss kept me from moving forward.
Before I worked for the big corporation that I began working for in 1995, I was a dental receptionist from 1986 to late 1990. I really thought I loved my job. The people were incredible, I had fun, my coworkers were awesome, and I had a great boss. After working there for the four years, the dentist decided to bring in a consultant to make sure we were all producing all we could. The consultant <Pearl> (the <> means shivers cuz I still get shivers when I think of her) company came in to tell the dentist where his practice was losing money and opportunities. It's always about money, isn't it? Until you find out that it's just the way life is.
Anyway, the lady wanted to spend some time with me to go over my responsibilities (as she did with everyone), just after 3pm on an afternoon when my morning of productive work (crown and bridge work) had just fallen apart and I had until 5 pm to fill four hours of productive work. I asked if we could reschedule our "meeting" and told her why but she refused. Needless to say, my head wasn't where it should have been and I came off very unwilling to help her. It was a disaster. I stayed until 7pm that night (after getting there at 6:30am) trying to fill the time. Even at that, the schedule was crap the next day and I didn't sleep a bit the next night.
A month later, the lady came back and gave us all of her findings and of course, my efforts were not shining and needed a lot of improvement. I knew I wasn't perfect but I also knew that I did the work of three people. Since I started my job, two people resigned in the front office and we never replaced them because I stepped up and did their work. Did <Pearl> take any of my problems into consideration? No. But I was willing to do some sessions with her to improve my skills.
A week later, I was fired because <Pearl> told the dentist that she refused to work with me and knew that I would never change. So, a man who had known me personally since I was 11 (his wife was one of my church teachers and he was my dentist too) and worked for him for 4 years, listened to a woman who met with me for 30 minutes in one of the worst crises I've had at that job, and whom HE was paying well over $3000 per session, tell him that he needed to let me go.
Needless to say, I was dumb struck. I could not believe I was fired. I was hurt most of all because I thought my boss knew me and knew how much I loved working for him and loved the patients and coworkers and I had done anything and everything to make the schedule run smoothly every day.
One outsider colored me gone with one swipe of a crayon.
Then I got a call early the following Monday morning from one of the dental assistants, D, who was cross trained to do my job when I was sick or when I was on vacation - that is, to limp along until I returned. She was in a panic and wanted to know where all the charts were for that day. Apparently, the dentist called her over the weekend and asked if she'd fill in for me and that I wouldn't be working there any longer. He made it sound like I quit, which was nice, I think... or perhaps to save his ass from everyone being mad at him, I don't know. But I told her what happened and she was floored. She asked, "How can he let you go?! Doesn't he know you do the job of three people?!" I just responded, "Obviously my past glowing employee reports meant nothing because he listened to <Pearl>." D was SO upset and she happened to be a relative of his so I think she must have said something to him.
But by then, I didn't want my job back. It took just a few hours, once the initial shock of being fired wore off to realize how stressful my job was and I carried it home with me. I was actually relieved and felt as if a huge weight lifted from my shoulders. I didn't realize it but the stress was killing me.
I really loved the people, both coworkers and patients but Dr. C. really did me a favor as well. It took me a while to see that Dr C really cared for me and was looking toward my future because I truly believe (now) that he was prompted to hurt me for a short time because it was the best thing in the long run. We had a few discussions about me wanting to go back to school but either it wasn't the right time or there was not a way for me to go while I worked there. I think he saw <Pearl> as an out, to kick me out of the nest, so to speak. I truly believe it hurt him to do so but he did it because he loved me.
I missed everyone like crazy but I still went there for my dental treatment because I believed they were the best. Not too long after I'd returned for an exam and cleaning, when he and I were alone in the exam room, he quietly apologized to me for not knowing all I did for the practice and for him. I told him I appreciated all he did for me because I was in a job I really loved and there was SO much room for advancement and I'd planned to go back to school. He really smiled, thinking back because it was his plan all along or at least his part of His Big Plan.
He passed away a few years ago from a brain tumor and I only hope he knows that I managed to get my degree and not only work purposes but more importantly, for ME. How important the thirst for knowledge is and how fun it was to learn all I did. I actually ended up liking my electives better than my major by the time I got my degree! LOL Must have something to do with burnout! Really though, getting my degree opened the doors and windows to my mind and it's been wonderful to continue to applying my knowledge to my every day life.
I look back on those days now and think... wow. If those people like <Pearl> didn't come into our lives, we would still be up there in that nest. I hate to admit she was part of His Plan, but she had to play some little role. Man. I really hate admitting that because I could swear she was all evil. ;-)