All that time cheating to yourself has a price, a psychological one. The burden gets bigger as time goes by, you suffer from lack of interest and concentration, among other things, and you end up making a whole big trouble of something that should have been a lot easier.
Finally, when the glass filled, and I reached my limits, something happened and I sent my resignation letter. I was finally leaving the job after that long time struggling and lying to myself.
There are many things I tried to keep myself on track, stay on the job and avoid burnout. I started exercising, at the beginning three times per week, later on joining a kick-boxing class, and at the end 4 of the 5 days of a week. I also resumed reading, I had been years without reading books, and I loved it, so I started again hoping to resume the abandoned love affair. At last I thought, maybe improving my personal settings will finally do it. There was not much left to try, so I moved to another city where my partner in love works, and we moved in together again and we are making ourselves home again.
All those have been wonderful things to do, and I have fully enjoyed them, in fact, I should have done them earlier, but that is not how you face your job situation.
A long time
It has been a long time. Deep down, I could foresee the moment was coming, the inflexion point was near, but I was getting really good money. I never asked if I really needed that money, or if I was doing what I wanted to do. I just kept going.
With time I decided it was time to let go. Leave the job.
It took a lot of time to materialize. Since the day I thought about leaving until now, it has been more than a year. The reasons for leaving are varied and may be topic for future writings, I’m not going to think about them here.
The struggle and deception
Since the day I thought I had to leave I’ve had many checkpoints, that is the way I used so that I could feel in control and keep calm, just as an adolescent having trouble at home or like a drug addict, I would say to myself:
Yeah, September will be my last month. For sure. I can’t take it anymore.
And cheating to myself, once again, I wouldn’t comply and would let the dates slip. There were 3 or 4 checkpoints, I can’t recall exactly, and I’m not proud of it.
So just as the adolescent grows in anger day after day, or the smoker lights up another one last cigarette, I would resign, find some stupid reason why I hadn’t taken the step, and set a new date, a new checkpoint where I would finally grow balls and do what I had to do.
Each and every day it burns a little bit more, one more drop into the glass, one more excuse, one more time shutting your inner self down and letting yourself drift with the current. So as time goes by, you inevitably get closer to your limit, one step closer to the edge of the cliff, week after week, step by step.
A final push
Months came by and I became closer to the ledge, you feel numb, scared and determined to jump, but a last push was needed. That push came from a friend, who was in a similar situation on Ireland.
Jorge is a good friend from college that suffered the same fatigue and dissatisfaction with his job, but for other reasons. A well paid job on a big established company with all benefits, low work load, indefinite contract and no perspectives of being fired. We talked and shared from time to time our experiences, that being different in reasons and source, where equal on impact and burnout.
One day another friend told me that Jorge was looking for me at gtalk. I fired up gmail and waited. Those seconds, deep on me, I knew something, I anticipated it. As the page opened, the little window peaked blinking from the corner, he had left a message.
Jorge: i have to tell you something
We talked for a while, a burning fire inside me with every word I read or wrote, a mix of anxiety, happiness, courage. He had finally taken the extra step and we talked for a while about it.
- me: but how did you manage it, why now?
- Jorge: why not now?
- Jorge: this is as good as any other day to do it
- [… more conversation …]
- Jorge: look at it this way, it is not that you are crazy for wanting to leave
- Jorge: it is that you are crazy if you stay
His gentle hand propelled me of the cliff, and as I was falling to the unknown I saw his majestic beard and I thanked him.
I was crumbling inside the rest of the day. Thoughts and beer had been flowing plentifully all afternoon, and finally, a 2AM determination. Tomorrow I would send the resignation email.
Next day as I came into the computer, I composed the email and went to have breakfast. Later on, looking at the screen, and the screen looking at me, after 20 minutes fiddling mouse on hand, I clicked Send. It was finally done. The feelings changed through the day, tears of joy of having done it, the insecurity and fear of not knowing if you are acting correctly, the determination and security of knowing that you are acting correctly, acknowledging that what you fear and makes you insecure is the uncertainty of your future, and a whole lot more.
Like the tired mind of the adolescent who breaks free leaving home, a mix of fatigue and joy possessed me, locking away the coward in a hole far deep down.
Environment and opinions
The next steps were handling the environment, telling friends and family. When doing so you can get every kind of comments, depending on how against the current you are going.
In my case, I am not changing jobs, I am leaving the best paid job in the area “for nothing”, the country is in extreme crisis with a 27% of unemployment rate, etc. It was not hard to predict what some of the responses would say. Catastrophic, madness, “The situation is really bad out there”, deception, and a whole lot more of that.
Even knowing that this kind of responses were inevitable and being prepared to hear them, depending on who tells you and exactly what they say and how personal they make their arguments, it can hurt. But you have to let it slide, they have different perspectives and values, and just received the news, they need time to settle down and accept them.
It is necessary to comment also a bunch of great positive opinions and responses, containing acceptance, trust, love, curiosity, reasoning, logic and a lot more goodies. To those who responded that way, I’m really thankful and they are great people to keep close.
From them, there has been a huge surprise. My father, who is overly attached and proud of my current workplace and who I thought would overreact, but instead he kept steady and calm, listened, and responded with a mix of acceptance, resignation, common sense and advice. Thanks to him for such a beautiful surprise.
At the end, I’m happy for what I’m doing, and I feel embarrassed about my behaviour during this ambiguous time. I hope to have learnt some lessons, and maybe this writing will help somebody take the step that I missed for so much time.
This is not the first job I leave by myself, without having nothing else (in fact, it’s the 4th time I do something similar). I do not know why I act this way, nor if it is the correct one, but it seems to be my modus operandi.
Of the other times, there were hard ones and easy ones, but I always felt relieved afterwards. This time it’s taking me more to recover, and it has been the tougher one.