Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Kickin I.T. To. The. CURB

I’ve had this job for two years, two months, and 9 days.
I have complained about it for about two years, two months, and 8 days.

I have worked with some real characters, some cardboard cut-out imposters of people, some fun clients, and a lot of people whose names I cannot pronounce.

I think I have come to appreciate certain things about it, though: my schedule is flexible, my vacation package is fair, I can get away with pursuing other hobbies during the day, I can work from home, I have a steady paycheck, I have my own desk by a window, I rarely have to take work home with me after hours or on weekends.

But we all know my heart is somewhere else, my talents better used elsewhere, and my life not to be spent doing this, blogging furtively in between struggling to figure out how the hell to update a Use Case Document about whatever it was they were talking about in that one meeting.

So why haven’t I left? Why do I feel a choking, knotted sensation in my chest when I think about what it will take to look my team in the face and quit? Why is it that I sweat and inhale shallow, rapid, breaths when I get serious about making myself happy?

I think it has to come down to being more scared of the known than the unknown: the idea that once a decision is made, predictable consequences fall rapidly as paving stones and cement into a path.. a path that I actually set myself.

Which is why on Friday morning, at 9 AM, I am nervously fumbling with my coffee cup and suppressing intermittent spurts of nausea, because I am seated in a conference room with my boss, and I say,
“I’m going to cut right down to business and let you know that I am giving my notice of resignation.”
Without being terribly dramatic, it was more like I heard myself say the words rather than actually think to say them.

My boss Allen wastes no time. “When are you leaving?”
“Welllll-“ I glance at the calendar behind his head. “August 19th.”
“Ah, okay,” he says, looking at something on his computer. “You’re only required to give two weeks’ notice, so we really appreciate that extra week. So, let’s talk about the reasons why you’re leaving…”
I take a deep breath and launch into ALL the reasons.

Ba said later I should have just given him this blog address and walked out of the room, but, I tried to be tactful and articulate while also direct and honest:

That we all know I sort of fell into the job, that it was a steep learning curve for me, that my talents are likely better suited elsewhere.

And oh, that I am moving to New York City the first week of September.

“You’re moving WHERE?!” He laughs. “Do you have a job lined up?”
“Nope!”
He laughs again. “Wow. Well what are you looking to get into?”I want to get into all kinds of things (trouble, my own place, a niche) but I only list a couple.
“Event planning and design, ideally nonprofit. Maybe work for a small media company.”

“Well,” he sighs, “I can’t say I’m surprised. I’ve seen this coming for a while.”

I relax, and start to resume normal breathing patterns. We chat lightly for a few minutes and I am overjoyed by his supportive and encouraging response, so much so, that I float away from the conversation and am consumed by an adrenaline rush: the realization that I have the power to make decisions and create change for myself.

I head back to my office, and am greeted by the only co-worker in-the-know, to whom I confided my plans over three or four mojitos a few weeks ago.

“SO?!” she whispers hoarsely, a question in her grin.

We take a walk outside and I recount the conversation, aglow with triumph.

“That is just so cool,” she says smiling, shaking her head. “I am so excited for you, and sad that you’re leaving of course, but only for personal reasons. It is so rare that we advocate for ourselves proactively, you know? There’s a lot to be said for that. So often we respond to the flow, and we roll with punches, but it is a unique and defining experience to grab the reins and really make a decision – make a change like this – for yourself. I am proud of you!”

I’m proud of myself, too.

So it’s really happening: I finally quit my job. I am going to move to New York City with no job, and no family, and no place to live.

I am kickin’ I.T. to the curb, and will start kickin’ it in NYC in September.
I hope you stick around to hear how it goes (spoiler alert: it goes awesomely).

4 comments:

  1. I was all set to give you words of encouragement to make the move, but I guess I don't have to. I'm really proud of you!

    "She had just realized there were two things that prevent us from achieving our dreams: believing them to be impossible or seeing those dreams made possible by some sudden turn of the wheel of fortune, when you least expected it. For at that moment, all our fears suddenly surface: the fear of setting off along a road heading who knows where, the fear of a life full of new challenges, the fear of losing forever everything that is familiar." - Paulo Coelho

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  2. You are a superstar and I didn't need the spoiler alert to know it is going to be fabulous!

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  3. Not true -- You def. have family in NYC!

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  4. High motherflipping five. It's going to be staggering. Go forth courage!

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