On the way home Friday, after a farewell get-together that reminded me how much I adore my team, I reminisced about the good times we'd had together, some of the bad ones that pushed us beyond our comfort zone to produce some of our best work, and how I felt coming into the job, and now leaving it.
At the farewell, I had finally told my boss that my boyfriend had broken up with me two nights before she promoted me.
"I was really looking forward to hiding in my cubicle and crying for a week," I told her as she shook her head, uncharacteristically speechless for a moment.
I remembered the expression on her face and smiled as I crossed the bridge from Virginia to DC and veered onto the E Street Expressway. That promotion meant more to me than any promotion ever had, because it forced me to focus on something other than my heartbreak five days each week for eight hours a day. At work I had to put on the Oscar performance of my life, and after a while it became natural, no longer an act.
After a devastating year -- being laid off, losing my grandmother and then losing the man I loved -- work pushed me out of my despair, day after day, until one day I realized I was okay. Better than okay. I was healing, and I was stronger than before it all had happened.
God sure does work in mysterious ways.
A new job can be tricky -- Can I trust my coworkers? Should I speak up in this meeting? Where's the bathroom? Add to the mix mean girls, a boss who doesn't see eye-to-eye with you, or employees who don't respect you, and work can be downright miserable. In my experience, though, everything will fall into place when you rise above it all and practice having a positive attitude, gratitude and compassion.
Shawn Achor, founder of GoodThinkInc, has some similar ideas when it comes to being happy. "If we change our formula for happiness and success, we can change the way we affect reality," he says in his 2011 TED Talk, "The Happy Secret to Better Work."
Here's his formula for happiness:
Now that's a way to start a new job! (I've really got to exercise more.)
Watch the whole talk here: