After eleven and a half years, on Friday I said goodbye to my job at the bank. If this seems sudden, you’re not entirely wrong: it happened quickly on Friday afternoon, but in many respects it was inevitable.
The three biggest takeaways, though: it was my choice, it’s truly a good thing, and I’m profoundly greatly for a life-changing experience at the company.
Frequent readers and personal friends will attest, 2016 has been a difficult year. My father’s cancer diagnosis, my mad dash to finish my Ph.D. before he died, his death, my struggles with keeping up with my job, my own health issues, and some ongoing health issues in my family and Sal’s family, have all conspired to make it a hell of a year. Adapting something snide my dad used to say about Canada: happiness is 2016 in the rear-view mirror.
In the midst of all of this, I’ve had the opportunity to sit back and think about what’s really important to me, and what I want my life to be like. I’ve become obsessed with the idea of legacy, of making an impact that will (even if in some small way) make the world a better place when I’m gone. It’s made me rethink assumptions about my career, among other things.
My introduction to diversity research for my dissertation was eye-opening. My time teaching graduate students as an adjunct professor was invigorating. And the frequency with which people around the country look to me as a subject matter expert on diversity issues has made me think about where and how I’ll make the most impact with my work.
In short, I’ve realized that my career path in Corporate America just wasn’t giving me the opportunity to do the kind of work, or make the kind of impact, that I want to be remembered for. Plainly put, it’s been a long time since I’ve been really proud of, much less inspired by, the work that I’ve been doing. So it’s time for a change.
Don’t get me wrong: my job offered plenty of opportunities to contribute. And indeed, over these past six months or so, my boss has been looking to me to expand my job into the strategic “driver’s seat” role that I’ve been desperate to have these last couple of years. But I came to realize that this is just not the time for me to expand that job, and it’s not expanding in direction that I really want anyway.
So I took a leap of faith. I’m unemployed today, and I’ll be able to take some time to focus on my family. It’s a cliche, but it’s true. My husband has been through a lot right alongside me this year, and we have struggled to spend time just being together without things looming over our heads. And there are still some ongoing health issues in my family, which have made it difficult to really focus on work at the moment. Lately work has felt like it was distracting me from those issues, rather than the other way around, and that was a clear sign that it was time to move on.
After that, when it’s time to get back on the figurative horse? Well, there are a few irons in the fire. In fact, I hadn’t even left the building on Friday before I started getting text messages and phone calls about opportunities. I’m not in a huge hurry, per se, but it’s reassuring to know that there are some great things on the horizon. (More on that later, as things start firming up.)