I love the movie Groundhog Day.
I love the movie Groundhog Day.
(Sorry, couldn’t resist the little repetition joke … little repetition joke … o.k. I’ll stop!)
Anyway, here’s a quick recap …
A cynical, cranky weatherman (Bill Murray) is forced to live the same day over and over. Spoiler alert: It’s Groundhog Day. And bigger spoiler if you haven’t seen the 1993 movie: ‘Phil’ is finally able to move on to the next day when he uses his interminable, repeating day to become the best possible version of himself. After trying everything he knows to ‘break through to the other side’, Phil finally moves from nastiness, trickery and every imaginable suicide attempt to using the gift of time to perfect himself, find love, make the world around him a better place and … you guessed it … happily advance to the next day (February 3) and the rest of his life.
Hollywood ending, but something to aspire to, right?
Phil’s transformation got me thinking about a recent major transition in my life – leaving a job I worked at for nearly 30 years. And how I handled it. How I worked hard (with varying degrees of success) to move forward as gracefully as I could. And to work through the sadness of loss, and anxiety of change, to pave a happy new path for myself, leaving anger and insecurity behind.
In the surreal 30-day-or-so transition period when I was still working at my former company, I made some conscious choices that served me, and I hope those around me, well. The 30 days were kind of like Phil’s one repeating day – a chance to turn some things around under challenging new circumstances. I wanted to share with you some of the things I did:
Be bold – Destined to live the same day repeatedly – and wake up the next morning with a fresh new start, no matter what he did the day before – Phil developed a sense of being invincible. Nothing he could do could hurt anyone, even himself. That freedom gave him the courage to make changes in his life he previously shied away from … little by little, day by day.
With my end date at work inevitable, I similarly felt free from fears of making mistakes or suffering consequences. I knew I had a lot I wanted to get done for my clients in a short time-frame and I felt more empowered than usual to send direct requests, delegate responsibilities, even push back on things that took me away from my priorities to accomplish what was important. I was laser-focused and had a real epiphany I’ll carry forward with me: I could remain a sensitive, caring, non-confrontational-by-nature person but still make it clear what I need from people. And I found people often even respect you more.
Put people first – Again, particularly with my short time-frame in mind, I placed my priorities squarely on all the wonderful people at work – my friends, coworkers, clients – and made sure I did right by everyone I could. I also fended off sadness by telling myself that jobs may change, but friendships don’t have to. My epiphany here: No matter how much kindness and love you put out there, it comes back exponentially. Friends, new and old, showed me more love, support, caring, concern and outright generosity and thoughtfulness than I could ever pay back. And it warmed (and warms) my heart more than I could ever express.
Ease up – I tried to go a little easier on myself in the midst of tons of transition activities – from figuring out my future financial situation, to looking for a new job, to doing all I could at the then-current job to leave things nicely and professionally. I worked hard to prioritize a lot of competing priorities, but also to let some things go – like detaching a little from compulsive email filing, etc. I do apologize to friends and family for my somewhat frenetic pace, and possibly short temper at times, but I tried my best to temper those and stay sane in some crazy times!
Stay positive – I put a lot of focus on a great future, just about willing it to happen. I repeatedly told myself and others I was ‘on a mission.’ I got my resume in tip-top shape, reached out to anyone I could think of for career possibilities and stayed really optimistic. And it looks like I’m on the verge of getting a new job that seems like a great fit and fresh new start that I’m grateful for, and excited about!
Throughout my transition, I also did some little things, like getting myself ‘interview-ready’ with hair and nail appointments. I also laughed through some of the pain, calling out ‘Everything must go close-out sale’ as I cleaned out my desk, ‘No puffin left behind’ as I put away my little stuffed animal friends, and just generally trying to keep my head up and sense of humor (such as it is!) intact. I shed some tears here and there, but definitely didn’t want to leave a total ‘sad sack’ or make people around me feel worse.
I’m still a little fragile emotionally and it’s been a whirlwind month or so, for sure. But, going back to my Groundhog Day theme, I’m more ready than I thought I’d be to move on to February 3. And I have tons of people to thank for that (including musical artists I listened to, like Lucinda Williams and Marshall Crenshaw!).