Life with Huntington’s Disease and Taking on a New Career

My long break from posting blogs is officially over.  After a few weeks of life changing events, I felt as if I have left my peers and friends for far too long.  My apologies.

Today’s blog reflects an overall statement about my work ethic and how I encourage others to strive for positive change and be the initiator that is often lacking when life gets stagnant.

This is my “Jerry Maguire”

I have decided to make a change in career that was very difficult for me.  Considering I absolutely adore the company I work for….actually it’s more than “adore”, OverDrive is my family and what I consider to be my second home.  The challenge that I face is that I am a point in my life where I feel the best that I ever have.  With a CAG of 42, will I continue to feel better as each year goes on?  I don’t know.  I do know that I have passion and an innate desire to make positive change happen where I feel it’s really needed.  My current role was not where I felt I should be and unfortunately, I felt as if I was underutilized.  I felt like the dork in the class room yelling “Pick me! Pick me! ME! ME!”

Well I wasn’t picked.  So I had to continue the daunting daily tasks that were completely different from what I am an expert in.  Boredom set in.  I lacked the challenge that I feel I need to keep my mind fresh.

So after a few years of “waiting and seeing” I decided to move on.  I felt as if I was ending a relationship with a boyfriend with whom I gave everything and he gave nothing.  That statement is not entirely true and I have to admit my perks at OverDrive where wonderful.  Yoga, Cross-fit, holiday parties, Zumba, beautiful work environment.  But I started to feel as if it was sugar coating over what was really important:  My feeling of self-worth and having to sit idly by and watch people struggle fighting fires that I feel should have been resolved …but it was never the right time to fix them.

For those co-workers I leave behind.  I have some words of wisdom for you:

Live every day like it is the most wonderful day of your life.  I am a stage 3 breast cancer survivor with Huntington’s Disease so seriously I cherish every day.  Do something wonderful for yourself and others around you.  Sometimes it annoys people when I am over-caring or happy (especially when they are in a bad mood) but who do you think sleeps better at night?  I do.  I can sleep through a Sharknado.  It’s because I go to sleep with a clean conscious. Don’t be annoying though…

Challenge the system…the right way.  When you make suggestions for improvement, always provide several ways that you think the issue could be resolved.  Remember that you will be rejected from time to time…or you may be ignored.  But I say “Keep on Keeping on”.  Don’t be annoying though…

I am sometimes told that I have too much emotional attachment to my workplace.  I say that my dedication to my place of business is what drives me.  I fight for my team and am the best cheerleader.  Try to encourage others around you even if you don’t get it in return.  Don’t be annoying though…

Don’t be afraid to admit your flaws or mistakes.  People will relate better with you if you don’t try to hide your issues.  If they are big issues that require some fixing, be genuine about your desire and efforts to fix them.  Don’t be annoying…be genuine.

Moving on…

Now I will be moving on to consulting and working from my home more.  This terrifies me because I hate working by myself.  I work better in an environment where there is people to collaborate with.  This is my new challenge, however I face an opportunity to go into companies and make positive change happen….better their workflows and business process, cut their data entry time down to minutes instead of days, encourage internal staffing professional development by providing the training for new systems.  This is what makes me happy.

As far as how I deal with my Huntington’s symptoms, I think I have a good game plan. My husband is very nervous about this change.  He knows if I am not on my meds, then it’s possible that I will be sleeping most of the day or getting distracted.   I have a long road ahead of me.  But I feel that for the past four years, I have learned what works and what doesn’t.  I get up each day.  Shower and dress as if I am going into the office.  I have skype to face time with my co-workers.  I schedule my meetings and business lunches like usual.  I push myself to stay connected to the outside world.

I have 3 weeks left at OverDrive and I’m feeling as if I am “losing my sense of belonging”.  I’m a little jealous of exciting new developments, future events and programs that I am no longer able to participate in.  My mentoring programs have to end and this breaks my heart.  But I have to let go and see what happens.  Maybe I can join OverDrive again one day when the right position opens up.

So now on to bigger and more challenging opportunities.  I leave my friends at OverDrive with a sad heart but also with the knowledge that I have shared my experience and expertise.  I feel as if I have a new world ahead of me and new adventures.

Ok, I’ll stop being annoying now.

All my best,

Mackenzie