Allow me to tangentize (is that a word yet? It should be) for a moment.
I put in my resignation from my job about five months ago. I know, a little longer than the standard two weeks. Because of the nature of my company, I felt it necessary to let them know that they could not include me in their long term plans.
Well now, after months of waiting, I have finally reached my last day of work. And I think I can understand a little better how people can spend years and years in a situation that they don’t like, or where they can’t advance and grow. Well, I understood before, but now I’m experiencing a bit of that hesitation to move forward, myself.
It’s all about comfort, really. Sure, people may stay at a job or in a place that isn’t beneficial to them, and you wouldn’t think they’re comfortable, per se. But they are, really. They know that place or situation. They know what to expect from it; it offers no surprises. There’s history there. It’s safe. It’s comfortable – or else they’d be trying to change.
And frankly, change is a lot of hard work.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have found a job where I can believe – whether or not it’s true is another story – that I’m valued. My coworkers like me. I perform a role that is necessary to the success of the company and that no one else on the staff is equipped to do. But this is not where my heart is, and for an entire year I’ve been ready to move on. Yet, in my final week, I’ve been feeling pangs of reluctance. You’d think I’d be anxiously awaiting the moment when I can run away from the office with my arms flailing over my head, screaming, “So long, suckers!” Yet for some odd reason, I’ve been wanting to cling to a job that has really not managed to satisfy me in over a year.
So apparently my job has made more of an impression on me than I thought. I don’t want to say goodbye. In a strange way it’s like leaving home. When I think about it, I put about 50 hours a week into my job. For a year and a half, the majority of my waking hours have been spent at work or driving to or from work. I’ve spent more time with my coworkers than my friends and family. You don’t realize how much a part of your life something is until you have to walk away from it.
And as much as I dislike my job, there’s comfort in it, too. I know what I’m doing and where I’m going to be every day. I know how much money I make, how much I’m worth, and I can support myself on that if I want. I know there’s always going to be a future in this field. It’s safe.
Ringling is not safe. Animation is really not safe. We hear the figures and read the articles, but none of us have really experienced that life for ourselves. And not everybody makes it.
My coworkers gave me a really great send-off. There were donuts, gifts, much laughing at my expense, and a card signed by everyone. In the midst of this, this message was passed on to me.
“Be confident that you’ve made the right decision.”
I don’t think they meant my company is structurally unsound and I should get out while I can – though that thought did cross my mind. Rather, that I shouldn’t be afraid to say goodbye now and then, to go off on my own and try something new. Take a risk. Follow a dream. Do what’s right for me.
They’ve hired a replacement for me. He’ll be better at the job than I was. They’ll be fine. “Marketer” is not my identity, and sometimes you need to put some distance between you and your life to gain some perspective.
Scared? Well it hasn’t quite hit me yet. I’m definitely still clinging.
But I’m sure I’ll manage to let go once I see those beaches and palm trees again.