I think part of me is in a fog. Still I find myself thinking that I want to try for something better rather than something about equal to what I had before. I'm also mindful that for thirteen years I also had it pretty good. While there were ups and downs over those years (even times when I looked around at other possibilities) I didn't hate where I worked. I generally got along with the vast majority of those I worked with over the years. For the greater part I had good managers that I liked and respected even if I didn't always agree with them. I was treated with respect and trust both of which I earned. I'm a bit worried that that will be difficult to find again.
I've been working (in various jobs and roles) since I was 18. I made mistakes along the way (because in your late teens and twenties you really know shit about a lot of things) and learned from them without too much calamity. As the years passed I tried to apply what I learned to strike a balance between being better all around while not sacrificing my individuality. I also tried to learn from my successes as well as mistakes.
Looking back at my best times (overall) working.
1981-1987 - Random House of Canada. At the time the Canadian distribution centre for Random House publishing. I had really good managers and a lot of great coworkers. During my twenties I did itch for something different and what I felt was better, but there was a lot of laughter during those years and a shared sense of effort. I didn't feel like just another cog. The company (at the time) could also be quite generous particularly around the holidays. Sadly I think that kind of company generosity is pretty much extinct for quite some time. It was bittersweet when I did leave because while I was excited to move on to something new I did feel like a part of me got left behind with a lot of those people.
1987-1991 - Ready Honda. The second oldest Honda dealership in Canada. I got myself hired as a sales rep and had some good teachers to learn the ropes. I quickly learned that good sales behaviour wasn't about talking someone into something they didn't really want but rather really listening and trying to find your customer the right solution for his/her needs. I learned sales wasn't a win-or-lose issue but either a win-win or lose-lose one. If you could help the customer then you both won because you each got what you wanted. If the customer left empty handed then you both lost because neither of you got what you wanted. Working at Ready taught me a lot about genuine self-confidence and a lot about human behaviour. I did well until the recession of the early '90s hit. When times get hard cars are one of the first things folks put off buying.
2000-2013 - Future Shop. FS rescued me from the despair of working at McDonald's (in many ways perhaps the darkest time of my life). I was hired as an overnight shipper/receiver. Very quickly I found myself treated with respect and responsibility and trust. A lot of lessons from over the years came into play. I had long learned how to listen and how to disagree with respect. Now in my forties I was finding my opinion actually meant something and could be valued. I found myself key to making my workplace a success. As the company evolved I also found myself in a new and unfamiliar role of role model to others around me. I became a knowledgeable go-to person. I also found I had a knack for communicating with younger people, partly because of some of my interests I suppose but also perhaps because I hadn't forgotten what it was like to be young and full of enthusiasm. And over the years I had developed a knack for making people laugh and helping them put things in perspective.
I have long thought of myself as a loner and yet in many ways I could be a people person for those around me. Perhaps it's partly because I genuinely don't bullshit people when they want to talk. I try to get them to look at it as it really is rather than just saying what they want to hear. I dunno.
I want to take what I've learned over all those years and go for something better than just the same but different as before. Maybe even something that involves some of my personal interests and abilities.
I have to figure out how to do it.