Well not like that. But essentially, yes.
After damn near ten years of dedicated service to an organization that shall remain nameless – although I don’t think it will ever be quite forgettable – I walked up to my boss with my well typed up resignation letter.
I’m not quite sure what I expected. But what I got was surely not what I anticipated.
Think of it as breaking up with a boyfriend who just wasn’t making you happy anymore. You finally get up the nerve to pack up your stuff and tell him you are leaving. Surely you have some underlying hope that he will beg you to stay… or at least try to plead a case for how things can be better.
My boss of damn near ten years took my letter and said okay. He asked a couple of questions about my plans, and gave a few short sentences about how much I would be missed; but that’s really about it. By the next day, he was emailing me to go ahead and post my position so the organization could find a replacement.
Oh and he needed a job description because he wasn’t exactly sure what I did every day.
Talk about frustration. I think that’s the best word to fully describe the last few years of my work life.
When most millennials – wait maybe I’m a Generation Xer – are job hopping through career opportunities, I was one of those old school thinkers who really believed that you should stay put. I grew up where my grandparents worked the same job for 30+ years without even a consideration of applying elsewhere.
In my mind, you find somewhere, get settled and plan out retirement. And so as the years rolled on, I got comfortable. Very comfortable in a space of I’ve mastered this position and I can learn and grow and continue to build here. False.
The truth is – I think I ended up staying too long.
As I continued to earn degrees, certifications, and credentials, the smart move was to move. When I was personally evolving as a woman and emerging as a well-seasoned leader, I should have relocated to a new organization that was ready to receive the talents I had to share.
At some point, my growth just got stunted. I got so busy in the day to day operations of work and engulfed in the now, that I missed chances to jump ship when new prospects were passing me by. The comfortable energy quickly resonated as a stifling vibe that closed me up in a position that was no longer satisfying.
Now there are words and thoughts and colorful adjectives I’d like to use to describe some other aspects of my experience, but ultimately that all pales in comparison to the fact that it was time. Time for me to push myself out of that well-crafted comfort zone into a world of new possibilities. And there was no time to think about it or keep sitting to think it over – I had to move NOW.
Let my mama tell the story and she’ll say – you gone leave this good (white folks) job without another job to fall back on? Good Lord. She, along with quite a few others, seemed shocked and really concerned that I was committed career suicide.
Where is the PLAN B? What will you do for money? How will you live? What will you do? Are you having a nervous breakdown or some kinda midlife crisis?
Yes, all questions posed to me by folks who sat in my inner life circle.
Well, thank God that I had well-padded savings that would float me in the transition period. And most importantly, thank goodness I serve a God who I fully trust to open the next door for me.
Interesting enough, as I sat home one night mulling over the plan, I decided that rather than waiting on a job to find me, I could create a job that I wanted. Here I was with all these years of experience and expertise – there was absolutely nothing holding me back from designing a business that would be the very best return on investment.
For years I had been loyal and committed to a company that wasted zero time when I left to move on; why not use that same loyalty and commitment to building my own brand?
I had done the work. I had been the go to girl for everything under the sun for those around me. Whether it was marketing, communications, copy writing, promotions, public speaking, employee relations or even legal aid – I’d been a resource to many. And usually, more often than not, for little to no compensation. Here stood a perfect time to build upon that pro-bono consulting experience to design a business that made this my own brand.
Fast forward to some fly head shots, a dozen or so glasses of wine, a pep talk from my pastor and girlfriend/life coach, and I got up the nerve to invest in me. I can only describe it as a blind leap of faith. You jump with no clue about what’s to come, but you are so pumped up on the excitement of the landing that those fears have no power against your confidence.
I quit my job. Yes I did.
And I have not looked back or regretted that decision.
Because what I earned was a sense of accountability for my own future. What I have obtained is an affirmation of trust that I am enough all by myself, and that I have the tools to take myself to the next level. None of this could have happened if I had not pushed aside my doubts about who I was or what I was capable of.
Will the entrepreneurial life be the end of my story? I don’t know for certain.
There are days – like today – when I struggle with the hustler’s mentality of chasing business and sales. There are days when I miss the comfort of a bi-weekly check and group benefits. Moments when I want a boss to get me together and help me refocus (in theory).
Perhaps the start of my consulting business will happen in stages so I can craft a brand that has long term sustainability. Maybe a greater opportunity is in the pipeline with my name on it.
But I quit my job. Walked right up to my boss and handed him my resignation letter. And I tell you it was the most liberating, most empowering, proudest moment of my professional career.
Kudos to the Black girl who believed she could win. And did.
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