I cleared my computer desktop, returned the microphone and headphones to the shelf I had taken them from six weeks earlier. Gave the office keys to our executive, thanked for the day and left. For good.
Today’s Wednesday the 18th of July. It’s also the day when I quit my job – words I have been longing to write for a few weeks now.
The Lightness of Doing Right
The actual conversation of me saying ”I’m resigning for personal reasons” and the executive answering ”Oh, I wasn’t expecting that – is everything okay?” happened two days before, on Monday. The talk was over in less then three minutes. It’s true – I recorded it.
The shaky nervousness that overtook my body on Monday was gone by the evening. Next morning when I woke up I felt the lightness in my mind and body – as if the pressure that I hadn’t taken notice of before had left my body. Instead there was the lightness of doing right, of living according to my own values.
It wasn’t the first time I quit my job but it was the first time I quit my job in the middle of the contract of employment. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. But at the same time it was and it is the first step towards the thing I want to do most – write.
The False Lightness of Being Good At What You Do
But let’s talk a little bit more about Monday.
Only twenty minutes after having the actual conversation I started re-thinking. Was I doing the right thing? Or was I overreacting to everything around me? Would it have been better for me to walk back to my executive’s desk and say ”hey – I changed my mind, I want to stay, sorry for the mess”?
Almost immediately after the conversation I got the feeling that I had done wrong. The fact that the feeling came to me made me wonder if it was a sign of me doing right or of me doing wrong or what kind of World War was happening in my brain. But I put the feeling aside and focused on my work. When I got home and woke up the next day I knew I had simply reacted to the fact how easy it after all was to resign.
For the last two days at work, the same feeling came to me over and over again – was I sure about this? And when I got home, I thought, I’m sure about this. Why the shifting?
The Narrative: ”Why quit something you’re good at?”
I think it’s because I was good at what I did – doing radio. When at work and doing the things I felt I was good at, I felt lightness. But the difference with the other lightness is that this was the lightness of doing things I was good at. Not the lightness of doing things I enjoyed. There’s a big difference.
With this false sense of lightness, the narrative in my head said ”Why quit something you’re good at? Why not stay until the end of Summer?” It was the narrative of the kind, loyal, reliable me. The people-pleaser.
But the people-pleasing would need to come to an end. If I didn’t do it now, I don’t know if I would ever do it.
So, in a way me quitting had a bigger symbolic meaning than just quitting a job I didn’t enjoy. Me quitting was the moment of signaling to myself and everyone else that I am done pleasing other people. Instead, I will find out what I want. And act accordingly.