Monday, December 4, 2017

What I Learned When I Quit My Job

I've been sitting on some writing the last few months.

Sometimes it's best to write. And think.

And then share.

I quit my job.

Yup, you know that job I’ve loved for over six years? I stopped loving it. Slowly. It started with some cracks and continued until it was a full fracture. If I’m honest, I was a little broken too. I stopped being my best self. I got burnt out. I lost some confidence along the way.

And, sometimes, when something is fractured, you just need to break it in order to put it back together. So, I broke it. I made the decision to leap without knowing exactly where I'd land.

And I learned some stuff. 

We are not our careers.
I sit on the board of a local non-profit and shortly after I quit my job, I attended a board meeting. There were new members of the board present so we all went around the room and introduced ourselves, saying what we do. Jobless, I froze. Without the title of Marketing Director, what am I? And, why am I here?

The truth is, we are not our careers. They are a part of us, but not the totality. What outlasts a job or a career path are the relationships gained along the way. We build these relationships by helping others to grow, doing work that inspires and investing in each other. These relationships define the person; not the job itself. And, frankly, I did a great job building and maintaining some of the relationships gained during the past few years of my career. And other relationships I did a piss-poor job of establishing and growing. We live and we learn.

I am not meant to be a stay-at-home mom.
I adore my children. Anyone who has only had brief contact with me since having kids knows this to be true. I’m borderline obsessed. I’m also an achiever. I like to set goals and accomplish them. And, every parent knows that any day home with kiddos means you’re simultaneously doing so much while getting nothing done!

And, yes, you’re doing the most important work. I believe that to my core. But, I also know that my mental health can’t take the feeling of coming up empty every day. I always thought this to be true, but the experience of being home with my kiddos with no job to attend to each day, made me know this to be true.

I so admire all the stay-at-home mamas I know. I am absolutely in awe of them. I know I don’t have it in me to do this important work so I’m proud to have found a good village. And I’m happy to know myself well enough to know this is best for our family.

Pausing is important.
I’ve heard the power of meditating comes from lengthening the time between thoughts. Embracing the pause. Lingering in the pause.

We go from singlehood to marriage with little pause. Just the two of us to a family of three with absolutely no pause. And, typically, job to job with no pause. The problem with this is that each new phase of our life is going to expect a new us. To figure out the parts of our selves needed for each new phase takes a pause. It takes a moment to identify what strengths we need to focus on and what areas we need to improve upon to bring our best selves to this next challenge.

I was blessed with a pause. I know this time was a gift. I was fortunate to end up with options for my next career path and I understand this isn’t the case for all. But, whether that pause is taken by quitting a job or just taking a few days off, I believe it’s important.

So, more to come about what's next in my professional life. 

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