I finally did it – I handed in my resignation. I can’t overemphasise how momentous this decision has been for me!
When I first joined my company 4.5 years ago I truly believed I would stay with them for 20+ years.
I know that may seem crazy to some, but a company the size of mine has a lot to offer. Offices located around the world, resources to support extensive travel and training, a well recognised name… I figured it had everything I needed to continuously grow myself personally and professionally for many years to come.
Life had other plans though.
After many months of turmoil, caused by large-scale restructuring, relationship breakdowns, a battle with an existential crisis etc. my time was up. I decided to quit my job and move to Spain in search of a new life.
Preparing to Quit
Big decisions are sometimes easier said than done. Although I did make a tentative decision to quit my job about a month prior to handing in my notice, the truth is I really struggled with the idea.
I felt disconnected to what I was doing, but was frantically holding on to my old life at the same time.
I was talking to people all across my company, exploring new job opportunities, leveraging connections, tracking internal job applications. Anything and everything was a go. I just needed to know what life would look like 6-12 months down the line.
That was not to be my fate though.
I have a strong belief in the fact that life puts us exactly where we need to be at any given moment. That being the case, I didn’t end up getting a dream role I applied for and the future was looking uncertain again.
What would I do if I couldn’t find a job in Spain? What if I couldn’t find a good role internally? Was my situation at the moment really that bad? I could make do… couldn’t I? But is that really the kind of person I am? The one who just sits down and makes do with an ‘ok’ situation?
I decided I would make one last attempt to stay. That was it though – no more negotiations.
I would talk to my new manager about the situation and see if I could get some support for what I needed. A new job, time off and/or flexibility in my role. If I couldn’t secure what I needed I would leave.
It turns out that conversation was exactly what I needed to make the jump.
Incentive to Quit
I had never really opened up to my manager about anything before, so I was feeling rather vulnerable at the time. It’s difficult exposing your personal truths and needs to someone who may or may not be willing to support them. Especially when they don’t really know you and are not the openly supportive types.
I did my best to explain the situation I was in, get her buy in to support me. I repeatedly emphasised the fact that I really did enjoy working for the company and admired all those around me.
The response I got from my manager to my tale of woe was:
But do you? Do you really enjoy working for this company?
“Personally, I’m not seeing it… You don’t seem to like the policies, the rules, the places. From where I stand it doesn’t seem to me like you have many options. I think you’re just going to have to make a choice.”
When I first heard this I felt gobsmacked. How dare she question whether I enjoyed working there – of course I did! How dare she question my loyalty, my support, my commitment! Hadn’t I shown that in the past 4.5 years? I gave my life and soul to the company week in and week out! It’s not fair – why am I left to make such a choice? It didn’t have to be this way if only…
Although I kept myself composed during the meeting, my mind was reeling with indignant thoughts. And so it would continue for the rest of the day. At lease until I tried to re-frame the conversation to understand where my manager was coming from.
It was at that point I realised something important: My manager was right.
Much as I respected the company and loved the people, I did not enjoy the restrictive environment. For the past 8-12 months I had not really been growing.
I had simply been struggling to fit into a company and system that just wasn’t working for me anymore.
At that moment the final decision was made.
Quitting My Job
I travelled into the office the next morning and went to work as normal. It was a surprisingly busy day, which didn’t give me much time to think about what I was about to do.
In the afternoon, however, after a quick conversation with a colleague, I decided it was time. I fired up my resignation file (started ten days prior, but never finished) and completed it.
Since I was on back to back calls that afternoon, I scheduled in a time to hand in my resignation. That time came, I printed and signed my letter and then went up to my HR Generalist’s office, letter in hand. We then had a discussion on my reasons for leaving – she was sad, but not surprised. She had been one of the few involved from the start.
Then I finally handed her my resignation letter and… nothing.
I had been expecting some kind of wash of excitement, trauma, feeling…something. Instead it just felt like any other day. No fanfares, no nothing.
This continued for about two hours until I went home and then I noticed something. Even though it felt like I was feeling nothing – the absence of feeling was actually something.
For the past month or two I had been living with a constant feeling of anxiety. Feeling on edge, tired, demotivated, upset, hard done by etc. everything just felt so difficult. Now I felt calm, at peace.
I didn’t know what was coming, I still didn’t have a plan. Yet for the first time since the idea of leaving popped into my head it didn’t matter. I knew I would figure it out.
I’m also happy to report that several weeks down the line I still feel the same way. In fact now I know great things are coming and that’s why I am now thoroughly convinced: I made the right decision. 🙂