I’m leaving my job. And it is the right decision. I have no doubt about that. My husband has noticed a difference in me the past few weeks. A growing difference. There is hope in my eyes. I smile at him. I talk with him, really talk. These are all things that have been missing. Heck, you guys have noticed the difference in the tone of my posts and commented on it! It is right. I’m starting to remember what it’s like to live, instead of just exist.
But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
I always hear people saying, “I wish I could leave my job!” And I feel like I’m getting that silent jealousy/judgement, even though no one has come out and said that to me flat out (or if they have I’ve blocked it). Well, I take that back. I have gotten a lot of “In this economy!?! Dang, wish I could do that,” comments.
And I just want to say to those people: You do not wish you were in my position.
You do not wish that you had spent four painful years killing yourself, taking 24 credits every semester (when a normal load is 12-18), fighting your way through a curriculum taught by apathetic, sexist teachers, spending every summer “break” working at a full time internship in preparation for your future career, only to leave the culmination what you worked for after a mere two years.
You do not wish that having a full-time career, the work of which you love, left you so drained and exhausted that there was nothing more to your life than surviving. Nothing. That the highlight of your day was knowing the day was over. Every. Single. Day.
You do not wish that you can feel yourself destroying your marriage because of how empty your career leaves you, and know that while it will now be better, you still have two years of pain to patch up.
You do not wish that you have a choice between a life of near-constant and sometimes dangerous depression, and leaving the only adult and married way of life you’ve ever known. With nothing exciting on the horizon to look forward to.
You do not wish that you are throwing away half your family’s income for what feels like nothing more than weakness many days, but that despite hating yourself for the weakness you feel like there really is no other right choice.
You do not wish that you are leaving the only people you regularly see socially behind. All of the friends you’ve made as an adult, now reduced to nothing more than facebook friends and the occasional lunch (because they’re still working and busy). No more daily chats with other adults who think like you and have common interests. No more casual teasing and chatter. Of course you’d still be friends…but be realistic. It won’t be the same.
You do not wish that you are giving up a large part of your identity, the career you have used to define yourself proudly for years, to go become a retail clerk, narrowly beating out some high school students for the job.
Yes, I feel lucky that I am able to leave my job. I know that not everyone can. But it is not just luck – sacrifice, hard work, and good planning also make this possible. My husband and I are giving up some of our way of life. We have not been living richly, even while we had a lot of good money coming in what with two engineers working and no children. On that note, we planned to not have children, largely because we wanted to be in a good place financially before we started depleting our funds (and yes, we know it could always be better, we’re not just waiting for “the right time,” but having savings established first has made us much more comfortable). We both worked hard, before, during, and after college to be smart with our money. I applied for well over 100 scholarships for college, and ended up going free-ride. So all the money I’d saved since I was 5 was still mine. He had very few loans and got them paid off ASAP. He worked at a job he hated for a year to keep his foot in the door at a good company. We both knew that at some point, I’d stop work to have children. Because of our working hard for that goal, I can stop earlier than we’d planned, without too much sacrifice. But it is not like the gods just smiled upon us and dumped a bunch of money in our lap. For gods sake, there are 8 children in his family! I realize there is still luck that played in, and we both had a good start in life. I am certainly not saying this is all due to how amazing we are and that fate had no role. I’m just saying that our work, planning, and decisions have helped us get to this point.
I also know that I’m lucky it is a job making me feel this way, and not a kid. There are RAD moms out there who feel like this, but they can’t just leave their kids. I am lucky, and I acknowledge that.
But it’s not just luck. And it’s not a walk in the park.
Saying to me, “I wish I could leave my job!” is kind of like saying to someone in a wheelchair “I wish I could sit down all day!” Not being able to successfully live a normal life is not something I am happy about or proud of.
Anyway, it is the right decision. We can afford it. It will be good for my marriage. It will be good for my health. It will be good in so many ways.
But it is still hard. Very hard.
And when my boss comes up to me and is so wonderful and supportive and tells me to take it easy tomorrow and not worry if I don’t do any work, they’ll handle it, that makes it harder. No one knows exactly why I’m leaving. But they all trust that I am making the right decision for me. And they all support me in that decision, blindly.
This is such a good company.
I wish I was healthy enough to work here and live.