“So what are your plans?”

I’ve left jobs before, always of my own motivation to climb the corporate ladder, except for one layoff which was more of a blessing that didn’t even bother disguising itself. But this is the first time I’m leaving a job without another one waiting for me [a paying one anyway].

The day went pretty much as expected.  I got a time slot with my manager at 10, just to make sure I didn’t get caught up in emails or project meetings. My resignation speech was short and [bitter]sweet.  I told my boss that I’d been struggling with balancing my work and home life, and that, unfairly, I’d been giving less than my best to both.  When I said I’d be leaving, he seemed confused, but nodded as if he’d known all along. I told him it wasn’t as much about any unhappiness in my job, though there were some frustrations, most of which I saw as opportunities I just didn’t have the energy to rise to. I told him how much I appreciated what a great manager he’d been, and how much I respected him and the team.  He was disappointed but understanding, which made it harder. I actually lost it a little, which I’d planned not to do. Oh well.

He asked for the day to communicate the news up to senior management, and I agreed not to share it with anyone else until then.  I offered 4 weeks transition time, which he said he’d consider and get back to me. Then we talked about projects in the works and I committed to doing my part on them until the end of my time there. He said, with unquestionable sincerity, that I would be leaving in good standing and welcome back any time. I’ve heard that before when leaving jobs, but this felt more like I was leaving home for college and could come back at holidays and after graduation.

I partly expected to have a panic attack upon leaving the room, but I just wiped away a couple more tears on the way back to my desk and babbled something about fall allergy season in case anyone noticed.  The rest of the day felt oddly indifferent, but excruciatingly slow.  I, too, felt strangely the same, except that knowing I was leaving and not able to tell anyone yet was making me squirmy. At lunch with my counterpart, I was tempted to tell him in case it helped him somehow, but decided a day or two more couldn’t make a real difference.
The day ended with a phone call from my senior director.  It was half exit interview and half an attempt to change my mind, and both made me feel valued and even more appreciative.  He made me some tempting offers, which I agreed to take a day to consider, though we both knew that I wouldn’t likely accept, and he was kind enough to acknowledge that they would probably only complicate my decision. I reiterated my gratitude and how difficult my decision had been, and he said he understood, that he and his wife had made the same decision when their children were born.  He asked what my plans were and when I told him I was going to stay home with my children and pursue a writing career, I felt a little surge of adrenaline, and pride.

“So you’re going to be a mommy-blogger, huh?” he said.

“Yeah…I’m going to be a mommy-blogger.”

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