I quit my job today. Or at least I tried to.
Apparently, as someone who has never failed at anything until recurrent pregnancy loss (except that pop quiz in grade 5), I can now add quitting my job to my growing list of failures! This list currently includes: having a successful pregnancy and having a simple miscarriage (who knew, when I grew up, I’d dream to have a simple miscarriage?!) and now resigning. But, seriously, who fails at quitting there job?! It seems like a rather easy thing to do – all you have to say is something like “I quit”, or “I am no longer going to work for you”, or “I resign”.
So, in my mind I’ve been a pretty horrible employee – a couple times a year I stop coming into the office regularly, as we work our way through a miscarriage. Also, to help with reducing stress, as soon as we find out we are pregnant, I refuse out of town travel and am quietly reducing the number of 14 hour days that I work. In my mind this makes me an unreliable employee. In fact, with miscarriage number 4, I have refused to do any work, and actually passed my projects off to other staff – I have NEVER done this. I have actually never before in my life said I cannot do something (usually I’d take a negative situation as a challenge to overcome regardless of the personal costs). So, this was a significant first, some would even say it was a personal accomplishment. I had actually said no!
All that said, apparently, my company doesn’t agree. I met with my supervisor today, and explained to her that my husband and I feel that I need to take time away from work. Medically it’s been recommended, and quite frankly, if we look back at our lives in 20 years we need to be able to say we tried everything to have a healthy child. So, here I am, doing the “I love by job, but” speech, trying to respectfully resign. Apparently, I’m just too valuable to loose. As my husband says, I should take this as a compliment. While I do, I also cannot help but think, of course I’m too valuable to lose – I work 70+ hours a week (but only get paid 40 – I’m like a professional slave!); I never complain (at least not to them); I bring in billable work (which is pretty important to a successful consulting firm); I have a positive attitude; I organize my companies charitable work with a local homeless shelter (in my spare time of course); I volunteer on multiple professional boards (again, in my remaining spare time). I’m not just a valuable employee, I’m a freaking awesome employee!! Now, if only my personal sanity didn’t matter.
So, even with missing so much work, but being such an amazing employee they want me back, and when I’m ready to return to work they want first right of refusal on me. I should point out, although this comment was meant respectfully, somehow it made me feel like a tradable commodity, not a human being (maybe this is what professional athletes feel like – except, presumably they get paid enough to make that feeling worthwhile?).
Anyways, so, where do we go from here? Apparently, I go on an extended, undefined leave of absence!! The part they don’t seem to get is that I don’t love my job (I’ve obviously done a good job of hiding this tiny fact from them). So whenever I do choose to go back to industry, it likely won’t be in the same type of position! But, I would rather leave on good terms, and it is kinda nice to know I have a job to return to if I need it. So, here I sit, trying to tell myself that this is actually a good thing.
My struggle with my job continues – to quit or not to quit?
Someone said something to me today that really helped. He pointed out that every time I talk about my decision, I keep using the terminology of “walking away from my company and career”. When in fact, what he hears is that I’m looking to take care of myself. And maybe something that would help, is if I stop looking at it through the guilt-laden perspective of what others will think of my choices. Yes, there will always be people who don’t agree or don’t understand but I cannot change that. But, what I can change is my perspective and so maybe it’s time to reframe the situation to start putting my health, both physical and emotional, as the priority.
Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve heard this – just ask my Psychologist (I can see her smiling if she were to read this). She’s been trying to tell me this for a while. But, somehow his terminology just clicked for me today.