Work – The Good, Bad, and the Funny

By Janey Womeldorf

Work – The Good, Bad, and the Funny

I went back to work last year at 49. What was I thinking? I went from an organized, house-proud, home goddess to a rushed, that’ll-do version of myself almost overnight. How did returning to the workforce shake up my life? Let me purge, I mean, share the ways:

  1. The vacuum comes out less often.
  2. The dishwasher goes on more often.
  3. Sometimes the kitchen floor crunches.
  4. There were days I drove to work consumed with such new-job anxiety I thought I was going to throw up.
  5. There were days I drove home bursting with such self pride, I sang the whole way back.
  6. Friday nights take on a whole new meaning.
  7. So does wine.
  8. Paychecks are the best thing ever. Let me repeat that…
  9. About two months in, I finally slept through the night. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
  10. I had my morning routine down to a science.
  11. Oatmeal cooked the night before tastes just as good.
  12. The hardest thing about working part-time is staying part-time.
  13. There were days when I came home so brain-dead I could barely talk.
  14. There were days when I just couldn’t wait to come home – period.
  15. The only thing more stressful than work is figuring out what to do for dinner every night.
  16. I did not read a newspaper for months.
  17. I read the same page of my book eight nights in a row.
  18. I had instant soup and pretzels for dinner one night; even that was exhausting.
  19. I’ve come home, seen my husband, and burst into tears.
  20. I’ve come home, seen my husband, and exploded with excitement.
  21. Getting paid a compliment at work lifts your spirit like nothing else.
  22. Realizing, after the fact, that you made a mistake with a client and have no way of rectifying it, crushes your spirit and lingers on your conscience like nothing else.
  23. I miss garlic.
  24. I added “decompress” to my vocabulary.
  25. Rushing around like the roadrunner becomes normal behavior.
  26. I got to work one day, parked, got out the car and realized I forgot to put my bra on.
  27. A new job is not the time to give up drinking.
  28. Sometimes after work, the lights are on but nobody’s home.
  29. We saved a bottle of wine for that day when colleagues reassured me, “suddenly you know what you’re doing.” Then one day it happened. It was the weirdest thing – it really was like someone had flicked a switch.
  30. I have paper plates in my cupboard.
  31. I loved having a uniform. It looked like a man’s old suit, two sizes too big, but getting ready for work every night was a breeze, not to mention cheaper on the wallet. Closet bliss.
  32. Does work age you? A distraught little girl was lost and looking for her mom. As we attempted to find the mother, a colleague pointed to me and asked the little girl if her Mommie looked as old as me. Without hesitation, the little girl replied, “Oh no, not that old.” Two days later, a department store gave me the Tuesday Senior discount without asking. What’s that all about?
  33. I remind myself regularly “inexperience and stupidity are NOT the same thing.”
  34. I’ve gone to bed at 8:15 pm.
  35. I lost weight.
  36. I put it all back on.
  37. I love having so much to talk to my husband about at the end of the day that has nothing to do with home, family or dinner.
  38. Working elevates your confidence, sharpens your focus, and makes you feel good in a way that nothing else does.
  39. I bought napkins that read: Wine is better than therapy.
  40. I bought more when I ran out.
  41. Working is bad for your health; exercise takes a back seat to – well, just about everything really.
  42. When I came home from work, I could no longer watch reality shows where people screamed at each other.
  43. I had two bags of microwave popcorn and a bottle of beer for dinner one night. (Or was it one bag of popcorn and two bottles of beer?)
  44. I questioned whether there’s an age when you are just too old to learn a new job.
  45. Incredible work colleagues turn a job you like into a job you love. I hugged regularly.
  46. Customers lie.
  47. Did I say how invigorating earning real money on a regular basis feels?
  48. Once you get past the new-job learning curve (about six brutal, sleep-deprived months), the adrenalin rush of managing your busy life is weirdly addictive – then it eats you up.
  49. I dream of retirement like never before.
  50. And last but by no means least, I realized I couldn’t have survived the working roller coaster of the good, bad and funny without the support of my husband – oh, and maybe the occasional bottle, I mean glass of wine!

One year later, my workload is less, my weight is more, and our work-life balance is a constant work in progress. (Translation: we grab “moments” when we can, spot-clean, and I’ll worry about those five pounds next month.) One thing blows my mind though: How do people who work full-time – especially people with children – juggle their work, life and home and stay sane? My hat is off to you – it would have put me in therapy. Talking of which, I need some more wine napkins. Of course, if I just gave up working, my life of calm would return, and maybe I wouldn’t need them. But then I’d also be giving up the roller-coaster of crushing lows, sensational highs, the paycheck, office scoop, the stress, the hugs, anxiety, pride, constant rushing and fun Fridays. Maybe work’s not so bad after all.

But then again, see number 49.

About this writer

  • Janey Womeldorf Janey Womeldorf once went to work wearing different shoes. She now freelance writes and scribbles away in Orlando, Florida. It’s probably best.

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2 Responses to “Work – The Good, Bad, and the Funny”

  1. Erika Hoffman says:

    Very clever and fun to read!

  2. Janey says:

    Fun to read but even more fun to write. Thanks for reading.

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