It was quick as a flash. Scrawled onto a post-it note and stuck down next to my new phone, in the new office, at my new workstation, it was an extension number. It was this very moment. A wave of OH.MY.GOD.WHAT.AM.I.DOING.AT.AN.OFFICE?? panic pulsed through to my core. Suddenly the accumulation of all the screen time, and clicking, and calling, and meeting weighed down on me in an instant. And I knew at this moment––for my survival, and the best interests of the organization's growth––I needed to jump ship.
Slowly, over the next handful of weeks, I digested my thoughts and began to distill my WHAT.DO.I.WANT.TO.DO.WITH.MY.LIFE?? mini-mid-life crisis into a coherent plan. Ultimately, I decided to lay down this added [and fourth] position. All of these jobs, none of them applied for formally; I have never quit one single time. Even the heaviness of the word quit; all the baggage. So, I did what made the most sense to me. PANIC LIKE A CRAZY PERSON!!!, and internalize the worry of letting a good friend and long-time colleague [BOSS??!] down. How does one go about quitting a job? I would percolate and ponder this question over and over and over again in my head on my way into the office. Then I would log into the server, start reviewing artist-teacher planning documents, schedule meetings and site observations, and compose several e-mails and absolutely hate that all of the fun parts of the job kept getting sucked into the rabbit hole of workflow, administrative tasks, and general organizational stress.
A few weeks ago, I bit the bullet and said I.QUIT!!, but more professionally. It was actually a lot more like: I am planning to quit. I am slowly wrapping up this semester and working myself out of a job, and I am going to do less and less, starting the moment right after this meeting. And I was a million pounds lighter. And Spring came early! It was hearts and unicorns, and curlicue writing in my mental diary entry that afternoon. You know, world peace and everything.
I'm not sure why I didn't put it out here sooner. Other than it was maybe a little too fresh, and just a bit too long to type out quickly and publish on hurried time.
It was this morning's conversation that prompts this post...a conversation that Dave and I had, after lamenting that we tell the Craunlets a seemingly million times to simply worry about themselves, and let us do the rest. The phrase has a million variations; Don't worry about your brother. Don't worry about your sister. Please worry about yourself. I know that is what your friend said, let's let her mom and dad worry about that. You know what, we don't need to worry about that. Just worry about yourself. ETC.ETC.
Dave worked most of the hours last night that our family slept. And I said in our conversation, imagine that for a week. That JUST.WORRY.ABOUT.YOURSELF. bit. Show up for work completely unconcerned about keeping people working under you busy, and keeping those over you satisfied, no more worry about what's good for the business or organization. No more worry about parenting, and maintaining a healthy marriage. Sure, all of these adult relationships are totally worth the work, but could you imagine the week where we took our own advice? Oh, I'm so sorry, I'M.JUST.GOING.TO.WORRY.ABOUT.MYSELF.RIGHT.NOW.
Where's the balance? What's real in that advice, even for us adult folks?
I think in a smallish way, that my letting go of something that was good [this job I laid down] but not the right thing for where I am now, and where I am headed, is a certain step in the right direction.