I nearly resigned today… But I’m not giving up that easily

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I love my job but hate that on a more than infrequent basis it makes me feel like a complete failure – a gnawing monster that works its way into every part of my life, taking the shine off it all well past the end of the working day and week.

What plunged me back into my pool of despair this time? The frustrating point is that I can’t point to a single reason – probably a bit of tiredness from working away from home, unclear expectations, loss of control, a micro-managing boss, and a general feeling of hopelessness that I continue to be overlooked for promotion.

This time I tried to swim against the tide, rather than blithely watch the waves roll in until they engulf me. I scheduled discussions with my manager to talk through the way I was feeling (dismissed), committed to ‘playing the game’ to impress the partners within my company (didn’t yield results fast enough), and generally tried to react professionally and not outpour the waves of emotion I was storing.

But I can’t hold back the tide for that long and last week the dam I’d been building broke, and sick of feeling like a failure, acknowledged that I had to take some time off. However, being at home isn’t always the answer – my always occupied mind was bored and so went into overdrive. The outcome – I was going to have to leave.

I told people expecting them to be shocked and try to talk me out of it (‘you are being unreasonable’) but they weren’t. My best friend was thrilled that I’d be back in London so we could see each other more, my parents were pleased that there was an end in sight, and my fiancé told me that I could get another job. But I suffer from catastrophic thinking – I can’t just leave, what about money? What if I am never able to find another job? My biggest fear was walking away and this cycle just repeating somewhere else – and I can’t live my life going through this on repeat.

But I wanted to get off the never ending carousel of stress, self-criticism and disappointment, so I wrote my resignation letter. It was surprisingly short – maybe as I had nothing much to say. Two sentences ending with the banal statement made popular by The Apprentice contestants on being fired – ‘thank you very much for the opportunity’ because I’ve read on numerous websites that you have got to make a good exit.

However, meeting up with work, I realised that I didn’t want to give up and admit defeat. Why should I have to leave my job? I hadn’t done anything wrong – I was just having a bad project. So I stalled….

Walking back home I called my mum and poured out my frustrations that I believed my career was over. Maybe she realised that I was floating adrift and it was time to attach a lifeline and bring me back to shore. If she did, she decided to do it with a yank – dragging me headfirst out of my pool of despair. ‘Yes your life hasn’t followed your plan – so make a new one! Sometimes these things happen for a reason – so get a grip.’

So what am I going to do? Running away isn’t the option. Do I still want to leave? Maybe – but only to somewhere I feel I’m going to be truly happy and fulfilled. And in the meantime, I’ll take the coaching, training and ongoing support offered by work (as well as a monthly paycheck). Writing this the old fashioned phrases resonate – ‘don’t cut off your nose to spite your face’ and ‘mothers do know best’. I’ll try to take note.

Alice in wonderlandComment