Read the Room

     Being on disability this year has given me a new perspective on how people and organizations work. Things that I took for granted have turned out to be false. This new reality is especially evident in my relationship with the members of the team I worked with before.

     When I was in the hospital, there was a flood of contact and people wanting to know how I was doing. Once it became clear that I would be on long-term disability, the connection gradually went away. Even corporate HR abandoned me. 

     I listened to a podcast yesterday by Chris Jericho, the wrestler, and musician. He talked about his career milestones and knowing when to look for a new opportunity. He used the phrase “read the room” to describe how he knew that an old situation was going away and that it was time to look for something new. His story specifically addressed the problem of losing contact with the people you had worked with closely. When you were no longer talking to those people or talking to someone else, it was time to “read the room” and realize that it was time to move on.

     My value has diminished in their eyes. When I can return to work, I suspect that my job will no longer be open or even available. The situation isn’t personal, just business. I must respond by seeking what is best for me because no one else will do it.

     I have the advantage, if there is one, because of long-term disability. Until I get medical clearance to go back to work, I still get most of my salary. I can focus on my health and can make my career decisions without undue pressure. If a new career is in my future, I can look forward to that time.

     I am at peace with things now. My priority is my health. Everything else is secondary.