Today, December 22nd, 2011, is my last day on my employer’s payroll. Tomorrow I will be unemployed.
I’m sitting in my parents’ house, watching the sunrise over the water, admiring our tree, already drinking too much coffee (it’s 7 AM), and trying to let it all soak in.
A little over sixteen months ago, I zipped up my pencil skirt, slipped on my heels, packed up my overnight oats, and headed off to my first day of work at my Big Girl Job. It was a job I had worked hard to get, slogging through resume revisions and interview prep and anxiety over whether or not my suit was sufficiently ironed for my second round. As a student in the undergraduate business program at UNC, I had – as I like to say – “drunk the Kool-Aid”. This was my way of measuring my worth as a college senior. Getting a Big Girl Job was the goal. And I had to achieve it.
So I interviewed with a few companies and got offers from two consulting firms. I chose the one that would land me in Charlotte, a place I knew, a place that was comfortable for me. Looking back now, I’m not exactly sure why I thought this was the right job for me. I know I wanted to be able to use my brain, and help to solve problems, and work with people, and do something exciting. But I think it might have been a bit of the Kool-Aid talking, too. Regardless, I showed up for my first day, excited like a kid on her first day at Kindergarten. I had my lunchbox and everything.
I went through a month of training and orientation, and then landed on my first project. While I loved the excitement of meeting new people, working in a corporate environment, and feeling surrounded by ambition, I never really cared for – or understood – the subject matter. As the months went by, I became restless. Although I adored my coworkers, I was unhappy sitting in a cubicle all day, my human interaction limited to conference calls and instant messaging.
This time last year, I knew that I wouldn’t be staying at my job long-term. I wanted to stay at least a year, to prove (to myself? the world? my peers? whatever.) that I could do it, and to stay the course. But I knew I had to start thinking about what was next. And, although liberating, this was scary. But anyways. I distinctly remember writing down goals for 2011. One of them was: “Start Making Moves”
In January, I signed up for yoga teacher training to do something for myself and enrich my non-job life. It was one of the best – albeit impulsive – decisions I’ve ever made. I think that, as a young person/adult/twentysomething/lost girl it’s important to have parts of your life that are your own, that you nurture in order to nurture your soul. This was one of those.
And luckily, at about the same time I was having my “life is so hard and I want to quit my job and POOR ME” moment, a close friend was going through something similar. Text messages of “I want to quit my job” became “I want to quit my job and run away to India” and then, soon after, “Let’s do it“.
Lastly, I started this little blog. It hasn’t been much, but it was a big move for me. I was afraid to do it for months. I was afraid that people would think it was stupid, or that I would fail, or any of those excuses we make to keep ourselves from doing what our hearts keep yelling at us to do from the backs of our minds. But one day, I did it, and I kept at it. It reminded me that I love writing (Dad, you were
write right). It reminded me that writing is good for me.
And then, of course, the day came for me to put in my notice. My ticket was booked, my pack had been purchased, my first round of travel immunizations still stung in my arm. This time, under that pencil skirt, I slipped on my big girl panties. I walked into my boss’ office and explained that I would be leaving in December. It was scary and exhilarating and liberating and I was shaking. But I did it.
There’s a whole lot I’m still working on. But I am proud of myself for making small decisions to get me to where I am today. I am thankful that I allowed myself to embrace uncertainty and leave even though I don’t have any future employment arranged for next year. I am grateful to my parents, my friends, and the Holy Spirit for supporting me and listening to me when I sobbed over picking the right travel insurance and being irresponsible and feeling utterly and completely lost. I’m proud of myself for making moves.
Today I’ll drive into Boston and drop off my security badge and this stupid PC I’m writing on (I’ve always been a Mac girl). I’ll be unemployed tomorrow. THAT scares me. I’ve always been a good student, a hard worker, an ambitious young lady. And now I’ll be unemployed. But I refuse to look at this as an embarrassment. I refuse to look at the last year and a half as a disappointment, or a waste. I am incredibly grateful to my employer and my coworkers for the opportunities they gave me and the skills I have gained. (Getting paid was nice, too). This was clearly something I was meant to experience. I stuck the course, I did my best, and now I’m rewarding myself with a little “me” time. This year was formative, and exciting, and frustrating, and difficult, but I made some moves, and I got through it.
Now, on to the next…