Annoying Dreams and Regret

Last night, I had the same dream that I’ve been experiencing for awhile now: I’m back at my old job, except this time, I get a do-over, a chance to correct the mistakes I made while in said job. I’ve had variations of this dream, but basically I interact with the same coworkers and perform my duties.

This old job of mine was in the government and I had it ten years ago. I worked hard to get it, but then a few years in, started to feel a deep sense of dissatisfaction. The job was low-level and I wasn’t exactly encouraged to get more training or learn new skills. My boss wanted to keep me doing only what I was hired to do, even if that meant having literally nothing to do sometimes. So during one of these slow periods, I started to think about studying graphic design, even though I knew nothing about it. I just wanted to be an artist and thought graphic design was a good compromise. (Oh the naivite of youth!) This was also when the Conservative Party was in power, and then Prime Minister Stephen Harper, was savagely cutting public service jobs. I took this as my cue to leave and swapped with someone getting the ax, took the severance package and left. And ten years later, still regret it and wished I had stayed until forced to leave when we moved to Guelph for my husband’s job.

My attitude in my mid-20s was also frankly pretty bad, and when the novelty of this job started to wear off, so did my enthusiasm and positivity. The work became repetitive and annoying, and I stupidly resisted the new technology of performing my duties and complained about it too much! My negative or toxic coworkers got under my skin, and I fought with them, which made things worse. The woman training me insulted me one day, and rather than just thinking that she was a jerk and finding a diplomatic way of telling her she was rude, I stabbed her in the back. Looking back, I honestly can’t help but cringe. Back stabbing and hurting people, even if they deserve it, just isn’t me and I hate my immaturity at that time.

Working consistently since those days has been a struggle; Between the pandemic and my son’s multiple therapies and workshops, plus the gaps in my resume, getting rehired somewhere else has been tough. However, even though I still have thoughts of regret and annoying dreams, I really should remember to take a step back and think about the lessons learned. Not reacting emotionally to every situation is something I’m still working on, as is learning not to take other peoples beliefs or attitudes personally. It’s also important to know that it is up to me, not my manager, how far I go in my career. If I don’t learn new skills during work hours, I can certainly learn them on my own time, and leave if a better opportunity comes along or if I’m not being encouraged to become a more valuable employee. Further, if I do quit in the future, I should try and leave on the best terms possible and avoid burning more bridges or playing office politics. While in this government job, I also began looking into starting a family, but put it off, which I also deeply regret. But that can be another lesson of taking the initiative on things if I feel that strongly about it, and given it proper thought. When you’re in your 20s, you think you have all the time in the world, and it’s not until you wake up on your 40th birthday and realize that you really don’t and life goes by fast! Some experiences, like having babies, frankly are easier when you’re younger; Your body is in better condition and you have more energy. I’m at the age now where unless I get a full 8 hours, I am full-on zombie for the rest of the day!

So if anyone is reading this and you also major big life regrets, try to think about them objectively and what you can learn from the experience, and put it into practice every day that you have left. We all make mistakes, but it’s how we change and grow from these errors that really counts!

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