I’ve been thinking a lot about the end of the blog lately. (Probably because it’s a mere 20 days away.) I can remember about halfway through wondering if I was going to have enough to write about. Now I find myself thinking about all the things I feel like I need to write before it all ends.
Don’t ask me what’s driving the impulse. Maybe a need to document who I was…to better help me to know who I am… Doesn’t matter…it’s just this feeling that’s been stirring up what I thought was old stuff that I feel compelled to write about now.
The thought that hit me yesterday was the need to write about when I knew it was time to leave my job. I know there was a lot of energy that went into getting to that point. But I can’t remember the exact moment or anything specific that happened.
What I do remember is one day just knowing that it was time to go. That it wasn’t time for me to find another job, necessarily. It was time for me to change my entire life. It was time to retire. And just like that, my mind was set. From that point forward, I started putting in place a plan to make it happen. But what led up to that??? Something did.
Some who worked with me probably think it was PA. That definitely confirmed I’d made the right decision but my mind had been made up months…MONTHS…before that debacle. The PA situation just removed any guilt I was feeling about leaving. Up until that point, there was a part of me that felt I’d be letting people down…people I cared about…by making such a personal…selfish…decision. PA helped me to realize that being selfish was the only way I was going to have the life I wanted…the life I deserved.
I think the turning point was the realization that I wasn’t getting any smarter working my job. I wasn’t challenged like I needed to be. Sure, I was stressed…but that’s not the same thing. I wasn’t using my brain to learn new stuff…because I didn’t have to.
After you work at a place for 15 years, you’ve pretty much seen it all. Everything could be boiled down to a technology issue or a personnel issue. And both of those always involved some sort of breakdown in communication. Eventually I started to see the similarities between the issues I dealt with in 1999 and the issues I was dealing with in 2009. I’d been around the block enough times to know what worked and what didn’t. There might have been a surprise here or there, but by and large, I’d seen most of it before.
What I couldn’t predict, though, is how the people inside the business were going to react. It got to the point where I honestly thought that we made our own special variety of chaos to justify how much people were paid. The bigger the salary, the more worked up about something you had to get and the more you had to spin everybody up around you. A simple issue couldn’t really be that simple. No way, there had to be more to it and if there wasn’t, by god, we were going to make something up.
It was exhausting.
See I’d reached a point where I was bored and I couldn’t deny it anymore. Where I could feel my brain starting to atrophy. I’m not trying to sound cocky at all. I’m really not that smart of a person. I just like to feel challenged…to feel useful…to learn. And not just when it comes to company politics or knowing whose ego needs to be stroked to get something accomplished or how to word a memo just right to get it approved. But that’s what my life had become. I wanted more.
So I started to look outside work for new interests…hobbies…stimuli. And I found an entire world of stuff just waiting to be seen…touched…experienced. But then the unnecessary busy work (read office politics) would crank into high gear and all my energy would be diverted to making work…not doing work…but making work for myself and others.
I finally had to face facts that if I stayed, this was going to be my life…every.day. I had no power to change it. Not only was it not enough, but I didn’t like who I was becoming or who the people around me were becoming. If I could get honest answers from any of them, I’d bet money that every single one of them was/is in the same boat. Tired of seeing the same shit happen over and over again. Tired of being stressed but not challenged. Tired of feeling a little dumber each day.
Before I go much farther, let me clarify something. I didn’t work with morons. To the contrary, I worked with incredibly smart people. I worked with some that were so smart that our business was too easy for them. And because it was too easy, we had to make it difficult…for ourselves. So we built…or allowed to be built…obstacles to make our work lives more challenging. To give us something hard to work on. We…the people that worked there…were our greatest assets and our greatest liabilities. A bored mind is a dangerous mind. And I, like many others, was bored.
I was so bored that the thought of starting over in the same sector made me want to throw up. The thought of going to work for another company made shivers run down my spine. I was done. Spent. Over it. I had to do something drastic. I needed to breathe life back into my world. I needed to ignite my passions…but first I had to figure out what they were. And that’s why I needed to retire. I had so much to figure out…so much to do…so much to learn….so much to give.
And just look at the results….