Another COVID (workplace) casualty


Last updated 6/7/2022 at Noon

Regan Roberts with Sisters Athletic Club owner Tate Metcalf. PHOTO PROVIDED

I never thought I’d be writing this, or at least that it would have been at the beginning of the pandemic, not two years later.

I quit my job. A job that I loved. A job perfect for me. A job immediately tailored to my needs, and then again after my first baby and then my second, remote and flexible before that was a thing. A job that allowed me to raise those babies, now 11 and 13, in my office and at home. A job where my boss became one of my best friends and biggest supporters.

But I’m done.

It feels so cliché — another mom that couldn’t survive all that was asked of her during the pandemic leaving the workforce. And I had it good. A husband who still went to work every day. Two kids who I adore in a school system that supported them. A fourth-grader back in a school building way before most of the state. Weekly coffee dates over Zoom, then six feet apart in a field, then the Fika parking lot, and then finally back inside where I got to laugh and cry with friends who helped hold my stress when I just couldn’t anymore.

And yet it wasn’t just a miracle or good fortune or smart choices that got me through. Zoom therapy, anti-anxiety medication, a newly created, often-ignored living room exercise routine, daily 3 p.m. ice cream, a lot of wine, and loads of tears all played their part..

And now the decision to quit. So did I actually make it through? Why now? I wish I could put it clearly into words. More for other people’s sake than my own. This decision didn’t come quickly or easily and I’m terrified to feel the consequences. For all of the people asking, “What are you going to do?” and offering “Congratulations!” and “Happy Retirement!” I wish it was that simple. Each time I fake my way through those conversations it adds another layer of uncertainty and fear.

As silly as it may seem to others, so much of my identity comes from being the finance director of the Sisters Athletic Club for over 16 years. When my kids were crying babies and naughty toddlers, and I got a break, where did I go? I went to work. The place where I felt the most “me.” The job that measures success in black and white — the checkbook balanced, employees got paid. Gold star! You did it!

I’m putting this out there because I know I’m not alone.

We’ve all been through more than we ever could imagine and we’re not done yet.

People are burnt out and we don’t just need self-care.

The hardest part is that we don’t know what we need.

I need to be more kind.

To myself.

To others.

Less pressure.

More listening.

Some fun.

Check on your people.

Some of us are not OK but we’ve been faking it for too long for anyone to realize.

I know that I’ve probably been nonchalant about other people’s life changes, and if I’ve said anything to add to your weight I’m sorry.

I get it now.

Transitions are hard and big and scary and different for everyone.

My big transition may feel like nothing compared to yours, but it is big for me.

And yours are big for you.

To the members, past and present, of Sisters Athletic Club: Thank you. There is no Sisters Athletic Club without you; you give staff a reason to come to work each and every day. I had an identity in part because of you. Enduring the pandemic was near impossible, but Tate’s relentless effort and passion for your well-being allowed Sisters Athletic Club to get this far. Tate created a space for your health and wellness for the sole purpose of your health and wellness. Please appreciate the emotional cost of its survival.

To the staff, you consistently provide some of the best customer service I’ve ever seen. You go above and beyond for your coworkers and especially the members. You face each challenge with a smile and it shows.

Thank you to Ms. Debbie for helping raise my kids; Brittany and Rebecca for teaching them to swim; Andrew and Tate for encouraging the athletes in them; and countless others for keeping them occupied so I could just get payroll finished or sneak in a workout. Cindy, Stephi, and Rebecca, we made quite a team, and some of my best memories stem from our work trips to visit other clubs.

To Tate Metcalf: owner, general manager, friend. I don’t think our back-and-forth of “I couldn’t do this without you” does our relationship justice. Thank you for seeing what we could be from that very first interview. You’ve supported me every step of the way, allowed me to speak my mind, often when it disagreed with yours, encouraged me to be myself, but also challenged me to grow and change, loved my kids as though they were family, and been there with a listening ear and box of tissues through some of the hardest moments of my life. Don’t worry, that part won’t end; I’ll be there often for coffee with you and the guys. Frank says he’s buying.

To my family, thank you for helping me find the mostly balanced way to be a wife, a mom, and an employee. I know work often took priority, but hopefully you’ve seen that it was for a bigger cause, be it part of my lifeblood and place to use my brain, to show you that women and moms can be an important part of a business, or to be a part of something bigger than ourselves by supporting the health and wellness of our community. We scheduled family vacations around membership billing and payroll for our whole existence as a foursome. I look forward to a summer with you unscheduled. Thanks for supporting me through this transition.

And if you can occasionally toss me a gold star, I’ll be forever grateful.


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