Leaving a job is a scary thing. It doesn’t matter how frustrated you were with the old job, or how much you hated the hours or the work, leaving is still terrifying. No matter how much you like change, if you’re anything like me, you’re still bound to end up questioning your choices before the dust settles.
For me, all it took was a couple nice notes in a card to wish me luck in my new job. I’m not one to cry in front of anyone, but tonight all it took were a few kind words from the few people I really enjoyed working with the last four years. This is not normal for me, as evidenced by my roommate’s panic upon seeing tears running down my face. It’s one of the most uncomfortable and irritating feelings for me; hot, salty droplets falling onto my cheeks and chest, a manifestation of the pain of leaving something I know all too well behind and the fear of uncertainty ahead.
Sure, I know people where I’m going and I’m confident that this is where I want to go and the time is right for me, but it’s the fear that none of that will matter that makes change so scary. Maybe my confidence is misguided? What if this wasn’t the right job? What if I am supposed to continue where I was? What if I was just coming into my own? How can I leave the only thing I’ve known in my career? What if I will never be as good at my new job as I was at the old one?
Leaving a place you’ve lived for three years and a roommate you’ve had for four years is also pretty petrifying. Considering the fact that I’ve never lived with anyone for this long (apart from my family), it might even be more scary than changing jobs. Sure I want to live close to my new job and finally live in the city and take public transportation (a serious obsession of mine), but is it worth it if I don’t get to come home to someone who knows me almost as well as I know myself? What will I do when I just want to come home to someone watching a crappy romantic comedy that I can make fun of? And most importantly, who will let me sit in their room, drinking champagne from the bottle when the Giants win the World Series?
For me, if you let one doubt in, the flood gates open and all things in the future become a big scary abyss, only to be explored by those brave enough to read this blog or get into the submarine and dive into the depths (nobody should ever do that, haven’t you seen The Abyss?)
So now I find myself doing the only thing I can in this situation: trying to remind myself to be rational. Remind myself how long I’ve wanted a change. Tell myself that no matter how much I like some of the people I work with, it’s the job and the work that I really have to like. Remind myself that just because you don’t live together, doesn’t mean you can’t still be close. Tell myself that my roommate would never let us go too long without talking because who else would look things up for her on the internet? Remind myself that tears are just a really good way to end up with swollen eyelids in the morning.
Logical and rational thinking bring on the kind of questions I can answer: How long have I been talking about how much I wanted a change? How long have I considered myself ready to do what it takes to alter my path? Where else would I live? Is a card really enough to make me second guess what I’ve decided on? Why do hormones exist and are they responsible for this? (Ok, I don’t know the answer to this one, except to say hormones are bullshit).
Sure, change is scary. And a lot of change at once is extra stressful, but if I don’t do this now, when will I do it? Five years? Ten years? Twenty? I’m not going to give myself that chance. This is where I want to be, this is what I want to do and now is the time to embrace change and enjoy the transition. And enjoy the 11 days I have off between jobs that will bring me to DC and New York and back again — like a big ol’ reset button before making this thing official.