Challenges, Empowering Women, Family, Work/Life Balance, Working Women

Going Back to Work

How do you decide? What are the “rules”? What are the company policies?

I knew I needed to return to work – I needed the normalcy that work and the structure provided me. I needed the distraction. My husband’s service was on the 10th and I was then distracted with grief counselors, finding a support group, meeting with my financial advisor and going through paperwork, will, trust, and insurance forms. That carried me through a few days. I then began toying with going back to work. Caring family, friends, and co-workers thought perhaps it was too soon. I know myself and I knew if I waited any longer I might not be able to go back… all.

Like I do in all situations – I created a plan. One that would work for me and it gave me some sense of being in control – when nothing else in my life was in any sort of control. I proactively shared my plan with my leader and my HR leader for alignment. I got full support of my plan – and encouragement to not try and do too much too soon. (For those who know me this is comical and the rest of the story here is in typical Leslie fashion).

I returned to work on Thursday August 17th – I worked a couple of hours in the morning to get through the start of the day and then left for appointments and came back to work an hour or so at the end of the day. This was designed to get through a beginning of day and end of day experience. The next day I worked 5 hours straight (from 9-2) in order to see how my “work stamina” would be for a 5 hour workday run. The first day was cleaning out emails and reorganizing my calendar. The second day I scheduled two calls and listened in to 3 others to get caught up vs. active participation.

One of the things I did immediately was to do what I typically do – walk by people’s office to say good morning and hello. I also ensured I said hi and connected as people walked by my office. I did not want anyone to feel uncomfortable or strange around me. It helped them, it helped me.

The following Monday, my intention was to work until 3 and go home and take calls from home. I had a large break of time where I was making some phone calls and decided to do so at the office and take my 5pm meeting in person instead of over the phone, at home as planned – BIG mistake! I still have no idea what was said at that meeting – my brain was in a fog and my capacity to absorb anything was shot.

My work days are not what they used to be – I am trying to be kind to myself. I am taking each day as it comes. Some days I am in the office by 8, somedays by 9. Some days I leave by 4, some days at 5. I don’t do work much at night anymore. In fact I have only done so once. My team that I work with have been amazing – they are so smart, so focused, and great leaders. I am blessed.

My days are still interweaved with appointments, lawyers, wills, insurance, grief counselors – I’m not going to lie, it’s a lot. But I have support to help me through some of the decisions that have had to be made and that has been meaningful and helpful.

I am getting through – one day at a time. Not sure what next week will bring but I do know that there are better moments. Work helps for certain. I am grateful for the career I have and the work I do at Comcast. 

5 thoughts on “Going Back to Work”

  1. I am reminded of the “Serenity Prayer” when reading your blog. It has helped me in times of grief and life:

    Attributed to Reinhold Neibuhr

    God, grant me the Serenity
    To accept the things I cannot change…
    Courage to change the things I can,
    And Wisdom to know the difference.

    Living one day at a time,
    Enjoying one moment at a time,
    Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace.
    Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is,
    Not as I would have it.
    Trusting that He will make all things right
    if I surrender to His will.
    That I may be reasonably happy in this life,
    And supremely happy with Him forever in the next.

  2. I am so glad you have such a supportive workplace. That really can make the difference when the culture is focused on the people and making them their best. I think often times companies say the right things, but the unwritten culture behind can tell a different story. There will be bumps, but it sounds like you are navigating this with your usual grace. Hugs!!

  3. Thank you for sharing your journey and return to work plan. So happy that you are wonderfully supported at work. These early days are overwhelming and your plan to do what you can when you can is so important for self care and healing. Stay strong when you can, it will get better. Sending positive energy and much love.

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