How do you know when it is time to go? I’ve been in a difficult place at work for the past year or more. I’ve agonized over whether to go or to stay. I’ve worried about the work, the people, me. I’ve spent countless hours journaling, praying, and talking about the situation to friends and family. I wore myself out trying to figure out what to do.
Advice ranged from get out now, to suck it up, with lots of stops in between. Friends sent me job postings. I scoured the internet looking for my next opportunity. I applied for some jobs, then I decided to stay and see it through. I convinced myself I could be different here. I convinced myself it could be different. Finally, I decided to go.
Leaving is hard. Handing over work to colleagues who are already overloaded feels selfish. Saying goodbye to friends I’ve spent so much of my day to day life with feels like abandonment. Disconnecting from the work feels unnatural. How do I put down what I’ve poured so much life into? How do I walk away as though it doesn’t matter?
I want to end this well. I want to walk through this process with my heart open. It hurts because I care about people, about the work, about the loss. If I were leaving in anger, I could wrap my heart in rage to protect it, but this is an act of great love. My own life needs more time, more attention, and more margin. I am yearning for something different, and as yet undefined.
So, for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been saying goodbye. Hugs and tears, laughs and awkward pauses have interrupted my days as I have wrapped up my work and tried to hand it off well. Next week, there will be things I missed. People will wonder where I put that file. But they will go on. The work will continue. And so will I.
This morning, I woke up at 5am but didn’t have to go to work. Now that the goodbye is over, I’m ready to begin planning for what is ahead.