As I type up my resignation letter, it feels easy to let go of this job.
Then I start clicking through my project folders and see all that I have accomplished in these past eight years…and all that I didn’t. Some folders contain articles and projects that interested me that I never took time to dive into. Some have old conference material that I was excited about but had to put aside as my work and family life would overshadow those ‘pie in the sky’ things I had hoped to do in this job.
Do I delete that folder? Should I save it and email it to myself. Will I ever really look at it again, especially once I am at home?
Wait! If I delete it, it’s gone; I will ‘lose’ the file and information forever…What the heck are these conflicting emotions I am feeling? Deep breath. I sit up taller in my chair and push away from my keyboard. I think for a few minutes. Am I really losing something if I leave this job? Or am I letting go of who I thought I would ‘become’ in order to gain something deeper?
After a few minutes, I realize I am mourning. But I am not mourning a loss.
I can hear my coworkers clicking away at their keyboards. I can hear their witty banter about the next work project. I can hear the self proclaimed importance and badge they proudly wear as they complain about the amount of meetings on their calendar. I feel my displeasure beating in my chest. I hear myself saying. “who gives a shit?”. This is when I realize, I am not ‘losing something’ by letting this job go.
The fact is, I never felt passionate for this job. I initially accepted this job as a stepping stone because I was so stuck in my previous job (Grant funded, low paying position right out of graduate school). I didn’t ‘get anywhere’ in this job because I didn’t push for it. Those articles, project files and ideas are all sitting there, were never explored, never presented at a conference, never published, because I didn’t have a vision or a goal I truly desired.
I took the road of least resistance with this job. I saw a way to stay employed and have a family that allowed me Maximum flexibility (working from home). So I stayed in a position that I was overqualified, underemployed, and underpaid in to gain the benefit of being home with my children while I worked. I didn’t apply for better positions because I would lose my flexible schedule. I opted to hang on the lower rung of the ladder. No shame in that.
Yes, sometimes I griped and complained about my low pay and how my position and effort were largely overlooked. Maybe I was victim of the ‘mommy penalty’. I don’t know.
What I have gained from this experience is the understanding that you get what you settle for or accept. And sometimes what you are getting is what you need in that moment, and that’s OK.
When it no longer serves your purpose or you need something different, it’s okay to let go of who you thought you were or who you had thought you would become. It’s okay to switch directions and become someone entirely different. There are no ‘rules’.
We can decide