A long, long time ago, I was a Museum Curator.
It was the fulfillment of a life long dream.
I was working in a museum, teaching people about our shared history; creating exhibitions and taking care of objects and ephemera for future generations.
That came to an abrupt halt in December 2002, when I was laid off from the State of Connecticut.
I stayed in the field, mostly as a consultant, working with small institutions creating exhibitions or providing collections management services.
When I had J in 2008, I continued to consult for a while, but when B was born in late 2009, I knew I was done.
It was a good run. I enjoyed the time and experiences. I had made some great friends and memories.
I was proud of what I had accomplished. I was at peace with the decision to leave the museum field.
And I was ready for my next adventure--Motherhood.
It was hard at first, but eventually I embraced being a stay at home mom, and for the last 10 years, a part-time bicycle shop employee.
Stepping away from a full time job gave me the opportunity to do things I would not have down otherwise; like read stories to their classes, greet them when they got off the bus, and be a chaperone on field trips.
And I learned important skills such as kissing boo boos, making lunches, navigating IEPs, how to change flat tires, tape handlebars, and other minor bicycle repairs.
It also allowed me to pursue another dream that I had forgotten about--triathlon.
When they are at school, I swim, bike and run!
I've been blessed!
So, when I was recently contacted by the State of CT, that due to my layoff, I was eligible to be re-hired, it came as quite a shock.
As J would say, it is an "unexpected".
To say the least my boy!
It is a long, complicated story, but the short version is the State Employee Unions won a wrongful dismissal lawsuit for the thousands (!) of workers who were laid off in 2002. As part of the settlement, we have "re-employment rights."
If a job that we are qualified for opens up, we get first dibs.
Well, a position opened up, and I was asked if I was interested in returning to the State Museums.
The position would not be the same as before. A lot has happened since I was laid off. If anything, it would be a promotion, and potentially a lot better.
Almost everyone I worked with has retired. The agency I worked for has merged, and merged again, now just a small cog within a much larger bureaucracy.
The position would be a full time gig, working with the 4 museums the agency runs to create educational programming, and working with schools, among other duties.
At least that is what the job description says.
I had an informational interview, where I received more information about the position, and had any questions I had answered.
Now to try and decide if I really want to go back to the museum world.
I can honestly say that when I was first told about the position, I said no.
I am happy where I am, what I am doing, and the freedom I have. I didn't even have to think about it.
But as I think about it more, and talk to my family, friends and some of my former colleagues in the museum world, I need to, at the very least, ask some questions and really think hard about my future, as well as my family's.
I found a grown up word for it--discernment.
When I left the museum world, it took some time to let go. I was angry, bitter. But I did make peace with it.
Now, when I am not even looking for a museum job (or any job for that matter), this shows up out of the blue.
The same thing happened when I was offered my current job at the bike shop.
There are going to be some sleepless nights. There already has.
I enjoy my current job at the bike shop. And, part of me feels like that if I leave, I will be leaving part of a family, letting them down when they are in need.
I've been there for 10 years. They have supported me in my triathlon career, as well as assisted me when I needed to leave unexpectedly when a kid was sick, comforted me when someone died, or was just "there" for any other sort of craziness.
We have gone on shop rides. They have taught me to be a better bike rider, and to be a better person while riding my bike, like sharing the road, and encouraging us to learn more about bicycle safety and bicycle friendly community.
AND...they helped get me get my "dream bike", aka Bullseye!
The shop I work in is currently short-staffed, as are many small businesses, and lacking inventory due to the supply chain disruption because of the pandemic.
I have no idea what to do.
I am so confused and torn.
I have written a list of pros and cons--it is a couple of pages.
It is an opportunity that does not come around that often. It would be beneficial in so many ways.
As a former museum colleague described it when I told her..."You just won the lottery!"
So why am I so hesitant?
Is it because I am loyal to a fault? Is it because of my "people pleaser personality"? Is it because I am scared to go back to work full time and not be there for my boys? Is it because I am lazy, and I like working only 20-25 hours a week?
I am sure it is all of these and many more (as I can attest to by the pros and cons list).
But I think being scared is the big one.
Scared of not being available for my kids.
Scared of not being available for my husband.
Scared of not remembering how to be a museum professional.
Scared of not being able to fit into my dress clothes...wait, do I still have dress clothes?
Scared of not having the house clean-ish. (seriously?)
Scared of not having food on the table for dinner because I'm not home yet.
Scared of not being able to swim, bike, and run anymore.
Scared of not living up to some standard of "Suzie Homemaker" and "Rosie the Riveter" all rolled into one. (enter eye roll here! 🙄)
And on, and on.
And yet...there are so many good things that could come from this job that I'd be crazy not to jump at it.
Like, the salary.
The retirement plan.
I'd get to work in a museum again.
Giving the boys more independence. (B loves to cook!)
Having to wear grown up clothes (wait, that's a good thing, right?)
Did I mention the salary?
And the retirement?
No matter what choice I make, everything will work out.
As crazy as it may sound to some people, I am going to do my part, but then let God help me, a.k.a. "Jesus, take the wheel."
I know there is a plan, and I need to follow it. But sometimes it is awfully nice when God puts the plan on a billboard so you can see it and know to take that offramp instead of going straight.
Throw in the holiday season...and life is a little stressful right now. But also, because of the holidays, I can reflect on all the blessings I have been given.
I have a healthy family. I have 2 growing boys who are ready to take on more responsibilities. I have a husband who is supportive and willing to help out. I am grateful for the opportunity, and to have to actually think about it instead of just accept it.
So, here's to "unexpected's", sleepless nights, informational meetings, pros and cons lists, billboards, and new adventures.
And, "winning the lottery."
My Christmas list now has "grown-up clothes" on it.
Look out Museum World...I'm back!