Why did you leave your job when you clearly miss the status and the invitations and the many phone calls?
This was one of the unbelievably many reactions to my previous post about leaving my job without a plan. It is an excellent question that merits reflection. I am not intending to turn this blog into an online forum about my career endeavours, by the way, but given the feedback I thought I’d indulge for one more post.
I am still at a very early stage of my post-previous day job -life. Most articles and interviews I have read about people’s leaps of faith (I am not sure my decision merits such a bombastic description!) or similar, are usually published after some time has already passed and often when there is already a success story to announce to the world “I got a much better job offer elsewhere!” or “I am now running my successful organic beeswax candle factory and have never been happier and wealthier!“
I wanted to be honest about what it feels like to go when there’s no definite plan or a new job in the pipeline. I had prepared myself for almost everything else, except for what it would actually feel like. I was always aware that big part of my social life and any other life was work-related, even more so because I am an expat who has moved to a foreign country for the job (Brussels is not exactly your classic “come for the weather, stay for the food” -destination, except possibly for the food).
When that 360° ecosystem was gone, there was definitely a short “where’s everybody and where am I?” moment.
But this is not a negative thing at all. Despite my remarks about missing out on invitations to cocktail receptions (blog readers will know already that I am not the biggest fan of compulsory mingling and soggy hors d’oeuvres) and phone not ringing off the hook, it was the first real opportunity for me to actually assess what my career, status, affiliation and such mean – and had meant – to me.
As long as I had my job, I could always toy with the idea of maybe one day leaving. What would I do if I won the lottery – type of thing. As I wrote, once shit got real, I was snapped out of my funk. That would, or could, have never happened otherwise.
People leave relationships, jobs, countries and friendships for myriads of reasons all the time. Very often the momentary nostalgia hits them, sometimes many years later. It does not need to mean that the decision to go was not right at the time.
So why did I leave? Phew. It was a culmination of many factors over a long time that finally met each other on a same tangent. I drove myself and my friends absolutely mad by having become a broken record about what I should be doing next. It had to stop.
I found a career coach who was key for me to summon up the courage to try this. This being taking time off to think what really drives me in this world.
I might decide to return to my old professional existence one day, who knows, but this step was necessary for me.
In the end, and I insist on bringing the topic of privilege here, because I think about it all the time: Mine is a privileged position to be in. I am not complaining about my situation.
Do I miss free champagne?*
Is that the only thing that matters?
*Please note that sipping Dom at fancy functions was not my main job description. (Also very often it was Prosecco).
Thank you for your understanding.