A little while back I mentioned (in a previous post ) that I've been having conflicting feelings about life and work, health and happiness, and really the balance of all those things. I was feeling like everything was colliding and I had been thinking a lot about how I could get to a better place and what would need to change. Well, last week I took a big step forward and put in my notice at work. The poor work conditions had exceeded the limits of what I could tolerate and it pushed me to make the move that will hopefully put an end to the dissatisfaction and negative energy I have been carrying around with me, and improve my quality of life. But what I'm learning is putting in my notice to resign really isn't where the story ends; it's actually only the beginning.
I've already experienced a range of emotions since making my decision final and I feel as though it's only the tip of the iceberg of what's to come. When I first told my supervisor of my intentions to resign, I was quite relieved. She was very understanding and knew my situation well enough to empathize with me. I went out that night to meet up with a friend and felt charged with excitement telling her about what happened and for what the future held for me. I was hopeful. The next hurdle was meeting with the head of the office--the glue that holds the company together, and an all-around awesome person--to make the news official. She made my attempt to leave much more difficult, and I wasn't prepared for that! In a plea to convince me to stay she threw out an offer for a new role in a different department working on other business.
I took the time to think it through. I weighed the pros and cons. But I knew in my heart it wasn't going to be enough for me to stay. My mind was made up. I was going threw with my plans.
Here I am a few days later and I've got some strange feelings and thoughts surfacing. Monday I worked from home and it was the first day in a long time I sensed a quiet within me. My mind had started to process the decision I had made before the holiday weekend and was starting the usual checks and balances analysis. Not having clear answers to some big questions was enough to give me a little panic. "Was this the right decision?" "What will I do next?" and a bunch of variations of similar questions kept coming to mind that all point to fear and doubt. Ever heard of the idea that our brains are programmed to resist change? It was like my brain finally caught up with where my heart was at, and sensed the risk, change and challenges ahead and was pumping on the brakes. Of course the stream of "What if's?" followed too, but I tried to resist arrest by reminding myself why I was making this change, and all the good I hoped would come from it.
Still, another two days after that I got in a weird funk at work and started going back to rethinking it again. So far, I had only told a few colleagues I was closest with that I was leaving, partly because I figured the news would spread to everyone else and those I wanted to tell personally I would do as time permitted. I had given more notice than the norm so it seemed unnecessary to tell people any sooner than I had to. But today a couple people I hadn't gotten to yet had acknowledged to me that I was leaving in conversation. And it felt odd and distant talking about it. Like it wasn't really happening and I wasn't really excited about it anymore. I started feeling like maybe I didn't have good reasons to leave because I don't have another job lined up. It may be nearly as hard for me to wrap my own mind around the idea that the "what's next" part of the plan hasn't been figured out yet as it is for other people.
My overthinking mind was doing what it does best and pretty much trying to talk myself out of this. It's like the play-it-safe part of my conscience was saying, why are you giving up? Things aren't that bad. It's too soon. There's so much more you could be doing and learning, maybe this is a mistake. And the bolder, compassionate, driven side wasn't chipping in with a rebuttal.
But things started to become more clear again as I worked late into the night with a close colleague of mine and we got to talking. I've come to really enjoy that part of working where I do. It's always the long days/ late nights that you really get to know your colleagues more. And there are truly some great people I've had the pleasure to spend time working with.
Anyways, I start confessing some of my doubts out loud to my colleague Julie and she gives me some reassurance. A bit later we talk about something personal and very close to her heart and she makes a comment about how I always get her to talk about things like that. I dig deep, she says, and maybe I should be a journalist. Funny I think. I've always wanted to do that. It made me realize something that's been right in front of me this whole time. I really like to connect with people. I like to learn about them, relate to them, try to see the world through their eyes and share a moment that makes us both feel understood.
And just like that, my faith in my choice is restored.
:) I think the lesson here is that we can't give up at the first sign of things getting tough. I made the choice to head down the path less travelled, and there will be more challenge that comes with it. If I push myself to face and embrace the challenges, I think I can come out a better and stronger me. That's the goal anyway!