Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. ~ Mark Twain
Oh…hi Karen….you’re actually the person I wanted to talk to….
I’ve been working in my current position for 2.5 years. This was the first job I took after a six-year maternity leave. Why my maternity leave lasted six years is another story for another day.
I’m calling….um….to give you my notice…
Shit, shit, shit I’m getting verklempt. Not in the plan…I was going to be cool, pragmatic…this is business…I have my list in front of me…focus on the list. Balls to the walls…
Can I ask why?
This isn’t “take this job and shove it”. I’ve learned a ton here. I like my co-workers. It’s not you, it’s me. Well…maybe it is you a little. My position limits me. I want to write. I want to teach. I need to grow. It’s time for me to lead. To call some shots. There’s no opportunity for me to do that here.
Because I’ve tried for two and half years to be zen with training management. Enough time to know training management is not my thing. I’m getting squirrely and irritable. Duly noted by my co-workers and family.
Because I’m 42 for Christ sake, and my professional biological clock no longer gently ticks. It persists, when…when…when?
Because I’m exerting excessive energy into someone else’s work plan. Because I want to pour this energy into my dream, into my community, into my family, into making a direct impact on the wellness of others.
Because Confucius says, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” For me, this means creating my own unique position rather than adapting to one developed by a company prior to my arrival.
Because Madonna sings, “There’s only so much you can learn in one place…the more that you wait, the more time that you waste.”
Ok, I didn’t quote Confucius and Madonna to my executive director. Luckily, she said all the right things: Ah, you are at the stage when you realize you only get one life…You are at a good age, one that brings more confidence…This is bad news, but it’s also good news. I think you’re going to do some exciting things.
I’m not quitting, I’m moving forward. One of the stupidest phrases people take too literally is “winners never quit and quitters never win”. So they stick it out and stagnate. Leaving can mean accepting your reality and your limitations. It means identifying strengths and catering to them. It takes maturity.
Leaving takes courage. Ceasing any situation is one of the hardest things we do. It’s easier to stay, it’s safer. Change is harder because it challenges us. A huge reason I didn’t leave sooner is that my family already lives by humble means. Losing this salary puts us in financial straits. I know this. And it scares the shit out of me.
Oddly, a major mental shift came to me from watching X-Games, The Movie with my son. Travis Pastrana explained why his crowd takes such incredible risks with their lives. “In those moments that most people say ‘I can’t’, most people say ‘Self-preservation’, most people say ‘What if’?…we say, ‘What if?’ the other way. What if you land it? What if it is possible?”
What if I nail the landing? What if I succeed? What if I make more money?
What if, for the first time in my professional life, I say “I love my job”?
It’s time to find out. As of June 8th, I will be a free agent. What will Amy do, you may ask? You’ll just have to stick around and find out.
But rest assured this end is the beginning of a dream. Off I sail with a belly full of nerves, a head full of inspiration and a soul, finally, beginning to fill with faith in myself.