31 July 2012

Yes, I Quit my Job. No, I Don't Have One For You.

I don't like to write when I'm angry. It rarely ends well. Feelings get hurt. Boundaries get crossed. In one case it gets you sent to Fr. Vito's office. In another, you get to spend time with a child therapist.

I don't like to have the same things bothering me for any measurable amount of time. The topic becomes a distraction. It clouds my judgement and sours my mood. When I am bothered, I write.

When there is something that makes me angry and that stays top of mind, I become paralyzed as I consider the resolution. And I simply do not have time to be inactive. So allow me to make a few things clear.

Yes, I quit my job.

More than that, I switched careers. The circumstances (at this juncture)
are irrelevant. I had to weigh my options and brace for a change. Then I had to do the deed. This was not a decision I made easily. I had to talk to my parents. I had to talk to Kate. I had to accept some realities about where I was (and was not) heading professionally. I had to reassess and redefine. I had to see myself differently, as I am perceived by outsiders. I had to let go.

I had to wait for the right opportunity.

I had to formally resign from my job, my career... my "Plan A."

The actual resigning was underwhelming. On my end, it was a defining moment, the culmination of months of consideration. I basically prepared a dissertation, detailing why resigning was the right choice for me at this time. It was a tough realization, tantamount to accepting some sort of future failure. It was a big decision for me. On the other end, my bosses were either nonplussed or apathetic. I presented my decision. I prepared my arguments. I had delusions they would want me to stay - that they valued my contributions. I had been prepared to bring them along on the path to enlightenment. I had points and subsections and examples to show them 'no, this is the time.' I was prepared. And it
was all for naught. My translation to their reaction was "they don't care." It was a decision-affirming ego blow. I had labored over this move, and had been met (at the higher levels) with ambivalence. Down on my level -- the worker bee level -- my leaving was an event.

I spent two weeks battling wide, questioning gazes. People were sad to see me go. People were curious about my new role. People began weaving their own versions of how it all happened. I got really sweet phone calls and messages of support. There was a distinct lack of apathy among my peers. I was slammed with the warm and fuzzies. My last two weeks passed quickly. Then -- after my badge was deactivated and I had received my last paycheck -- I found myself in front of a boss asking to have an open discussion. Two weeks later, I was ready.

I said things I had needed to say. I said things that made me feel in control of my life and of my future. I said things I should have said before then. I should have been open about my thoughts and feelings well before the end. It sounds like the simplest thing in the world, and it never crossed my mind. I never thought it plausible. I worked and lived in fear of the repercussions of something said out of anger or in sadness. I had been afraid of getting in the way of my own self-serving intentions. But you know what? Honesty did not hurt. No one can help you if you don't help yourself. No one can give you what you want if they don't know what, exactly, that is. Don't get me wrong, there were people who knew my ambitions and who simply did not care. But it would not be fair for me to be angry or hurt or devastated because things did not go as I had planned. At least not entirely. I had been waiting when I should have been clamoring. I realized that at the last possible moment. It's a lesson I'm glad to have learned.

No, I don't have one for you. 

My new job will have me reporting to someone with whom I used to work at the old job. This has led to my learning some ugly truths. First, some clarifications.
This new role was not given to me. I earned it. I earned it on my own, using my special blend of skills and talents. I do not take - nor do I need - handouts. I'm a qualified person who has found and pursued other interests. I have ambition. I take initiative. I say this because it needs saying. Yes, I've had help. And I'm deeply grateful for it. Still, it's important to know how to network. Networking is never "I'm going to need you to get me a job," or "take me with you," or "tell me what to do." It's never "can you do this for me," "what should I be doing differently," or "how would you do this." Networking is not mentoring. It's not implying I got lucky and that I need to (in some way) pay it forward - specifically to you. To suggest my only qualification is who I happen to know is to imply I am undeserving. And that's where I draw the line. You don't know me. You don't know what I've spent, what I've studied or what I've sacrificed. You know what I let you know. Until you've built the bridges, gone back to learn what you've missed or worked harder than others, you do not get to ask why me and why not you.

There are a lot of people who are really happy for me. There are a lot of people who have suggested we may work together in the future. They've suggested I keep them in mind if I see anything that may be good for them. That's fine; it's even exciting. I've been humbled by the well wishers, just as I've been enraged by the opportunity seekers.
There's a fine line between trying to keep in touch and trying to use me as a Danie-shaped life raft. I simply cannot abide. I don't want excuses. I just want apologies. I just want to be clear. Yes. I got a new job. No. I don't have one for you.