But all good things must come to an end (or so we’re told) and I made the choice to leave and pursue other interests – one of which, of course, is to write more books.
Yet leaving a job I’d had for more than a third of my life brought up a lot of questions. Here are just some of the ones that crossed my mind.
What if it’s the wrong decision?
I’d been contemplating making a change for a few months and this question is one that came up often. I’m someone who agonises over possibly making the ‘wrong’ choice. What if I never get another job? What if I’m doomed to failure? What if this was the best job I’m ever going to have?
It’s all crap, I know, especially as I rarely do anything reckless. And it’s built on a fear of the unknown. Luckily, I’m fortunate that, even if there are some negative consequences as a result, I won’t be starving and on the street. Logically, it’s just a decision and how I handle what comes next is largely up to me and my outlook.
But how often are we logical beings?
What if I miss doing the things I’ve always done?
I have severe fear of missing out (FOMO). It underpins a lot of my anxiety about, well, everything. What if, by not going to work anymore, I miss out on all those cool little things I got to do that very few people get the chance to do? Never mind that I’d done most of them already and more than once.
But even a week after leaving and with little looking back, FOMO hasn’t been such an issue. I guess it’s a case of out of sight, out of mind. Besides, I think my FOMO about not leaving became greater than leaving. What was I missing out on by staying?
Why would I give up the safety net?
Having a permanent, well-paid position is not something to be given away easily, especially in these days of short term contract and casual work. But really, I’d gotten to the point where it was time to try something else. I was, pardon yet another cliché, spinning my wheels.
A safety net is fine, up to a point, but it was no longer a reason to get up in the morning.
What if I’m letting people down?
This one had me bound up for a while. Family and friends were supportive of my decision to move on (though Mum had often said I’d peaked too early and would never find a job so good again). They weren’t the only ones I considered. I had a great relationship with my bosses and telling them that I was leaving was something I dreaded.
I hate disappointing people. I don’t like causing anyone else ‘unnecessary’ pain so to have to tell someone I respect and like that I was leaving was incredibly hard for me. And when I finally did do it, the moment brought together all these other questions I had into one big climax. Well, if I’m honest, it wasn’t much of a climax. (Not with a bang, but a whimper.)
The words took a little while to come, my gut clenched, I shrank in my seat (spot the body language), but then they were out and it was done. And while they might be sad to lose me, ultimately it came down to what was right for me.
A week has passed and I still feel like I’m on holiday, which has been helped because I actually am on holiday. I think about my old work but there’s already a block in place that stops me thinking further about things I can’t do anything about.
We’ll see how the world looks in a few more weeks when the reality of it all has sunk in, but I have a strong feeling that there’s not going to be time to dwell on the past. I’ve already got work lined up and, yes, there are books to write.
As Mum used to say…
Onward and upward.
And perhaps I’ll remember these sorts of questions next time I have to make a hard decision.
Have you ever left a job you loved? Or could you not wait to get out of there? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.