I quit my job two weeks ago. And while not the most fiscally responsible thing I have ever done, it is undeniably one of the smartest - and bravest - things I have done in a long time.
I love the work I do - creating engaging work environments for people. The work suits me well… half science, half intuition. Nature and nurture. I love when dualities come together to make a more perfect something. And I do the work well.
Very well, in fact.
A change in leadership late last year brought about a change in philosophy about the work - not so much its importance, but how to go about doing it. The difference in our philosophies was big - miles apart - but I was fairly confident (or naive) that we would, eventually, meet at a comfortable middle ground.
So I put on my game face and tried to work within the new parameters. What I found, however, was that I was becoming increasingly sad and angry about how I was no longer enabled / entrusted / empowered to choose the direction of my work because that meant I was no longer enabled / entrusted / empowered to choose the direction of my life. See, there is no difference between me and the work I do. I echo the sentiments of a close and trusted friend who recently said to me, “My work is my sacred ground. The truest expression of who I am.”
When the smallest disagreement sent me into a tailspin two weeks ago I knew I had hit my breaking point. The fight was taking up too much psychological space and it was time to throw in the towel. I was done defending my work… done defending me… done defending my sacred ground.
I am confident in my talents and abilities. I am confident in my purpose. To stay in my current job - even with all its safety and security and hella big paycheck - meant I would have to acquiesce to a system - a philosophy - that refused to acknowledge, let alone honor me.
Some things are more important than a paycheck.
People keep asking me now where I am “going” next. The only honest answer I can give them is that I am going home. Going home to breathe, to collect my thoughts and to regroup. And then I am going back out into the world to find my tribe - the group of people that I will surround myself with that will honor and help nurture what I have to give this world. Whether that means I will end up working for someone else or working for myself is still up for debate. The answer changes hour to hour, minute to minute, second to second as new possibilities and opportunities present themselves. I am going to allow myself time to explore them all.
I met with a dear mentor yesterday who encouraged me to get real clear on my truths - the principles that will guide this next phase of my life. I am committing to taking these first few weeks of FUNemployment to define my absolutes and tonight is as good a night as any to start the process.
I will erase “should” from my vocabulary. Should is dangerous and an ineffective bandaid for fear. Also, “Because I said so,” stopped working for me at about age two.
I only want to work with the willing. Potential is good, but only half (if even half) the equation. Dragging along the continuous neigh-sayers will not be part of any future job description.
I want to have important conversations with brave people. If I EV-AH have to sit through one more 90 minute meeting about who has permission to email all staff, I’m out.
I will honor people over process. Listen, I get the need to have (some) rules and standardized operating procedures, but the minute they become more important than the people they were created to serve, they have lost their usefulness.
I will not have a work persona and a real life persona. It is all real life. In real life I have emotions and I am vulnerable and I have ideas and sometimes I fail and I always laugh a lot and I like to dance for no reason other than dancing is damn good for the soul.
I will not suffer to do good. I will not sacrifice a need to be personally stimulated and fulfilled, nor a desire to earn a comfortable living to do work that contributes to the greater good. Good work feels good and good work can be done just about anywhere.
I will not spend my time excusing and explaining away bad behavior - mine or anyone else’s. Sometimes good people behave poorly in bad situations and I get that, but when bad behavior becomes the norm, it’s no longer acceptable.
So, that’s my starting point. More to come over the next few week. What are your absolutes?