My cousin is devoted to her work. She does a great job and has risen through the ranks pretty quickly. Recently, she was given a promotion and pay raise. It’s easy to be proud of her, but to me, it was like looking in a mirror at all the reasons I quit my job. I see how hard she works from the morning late into the night. It consumes her.
I was telling her a little about my old job and for context told her how any time I took a vacation was asked if I was taking my laptop. Once, I thought I would be able to truly disconnect by going on a cruise and was told that the company would pay for the WiFi. Eventually, I asked for and was given my assistant, Miguel. However, by then, a habit had been formed where I found it hard to not be involved, night or day. Consumed.
It was really easy to become completely absorbed with my job. For the first 6 years, it was a department of one; me. Created by me and run by me. I felt like I could do it all, and even if I was overwhelmed, I am too proud to ask for help. Also, I’m too arrogant to let go of control and feel like I can do things better than anyone else anyway.
My good friend and hand-picked replacement, Matthew, came in without any of my hangups or bad habits. And behold, things still were getting done, maybe even better than when I was at the helm. It was refreshing to see that there was a possibility of not being so absorbed in your work.
While talking with my cousin, I mentioned the long weekend trips to all-inclusive resorts that our company sent us on. After hearing about that, along with how much I was making and working in such a cool place, she asked, “Are they hiring?”
I began to wonder if I hadn’t made a huge mistake leaving.
Also, I started thinking about my house, it was looking nice and all the projects were pretty much finished. However, after being there for over a decade, living through constant renovations, and doing most of the work ourselves, I was a little sick of the place. Now, I wonder if it wasn’t so bad. Our mortgage was paid off years ago, it looked cute, and was close to the library, work, and a short drive to Central Market.
It’s hard to say whether I would feel this way had I not walked away from my job and house, and taken a step back for a month. With the distance comes a certain clarity. I wonder if I might also be looking back with rose-colored glasses. Despite what I said earlier, I did love my job while I was there. I loved the challenges and the people. But I don’t think I could have obtained my current awareness or broken my bad habits without having quit.
At work, I had created bad habits that were hard to see. Now I like to think I would be able to turn off when I left the office, spend less time there in general, and forget about it totally while on vacation.
With my house, despite the perks and cuteness, I know it was time to move.
While I am grateful for the new perspective, I am still committed to taking more time off before I think about work or living somewhere for an extended period again.
Do you have anything in your life that, when you think about doing for the next ten, twenty, or thirty years would feel like you had wasted a big part of your life? Or wouldn’t bring you joy? Is there a way to get out of it? Could stepping back give you perspective and maybe help you enjoy it more?
Let me know your thoughts.