Thursday, August 12, 2010

MNA (my one-woman post-employer recovery group)

4 weeks ago, I left my job.

It's been 4 weeks since I left my employees and friends and shut the door on my broadcasting career.

Wait.  It's only been 4 weeks since I left??  What is THAT???  Why does it feel like it's been a year already???

Considering the title of this blog, I suppose now is as good a time as any to look back and consider the ramifications of what I did; especially since, for the last 4 weeks, I've done a pretty good job of avoiding the subject and throwing myself into a whirlwind of activity so as to avoid facing reality.  Somewhat.

So lets talk, shall we?  My name is Gina and 4 weeks ago, I left my job.

"Hi Gina."

Actually....truth be told, it's not the realization that 4 weeks have passed that sparks this particular posting.  Something happened today that make me wonder if I'm on the "road to recovery".

First, let me explain that one of the things that I started about 3 months prior to leaving was a "Things I Won't Miss" list.  

Despite the fact that I felt confident about leaving my job, I also felt completely conflicted about leaving my job.  I think there's always a certain degree of fear of the unknown in any decision, and realizing that at some point I'd be walking out the door of my office one final time was no different.  So I started The List in the hopes that, in those moments of sheer panic wondering why I made this decision, I would remember the reasons leading up to it. 

The List had about 16 different items on it.  Some funny...some not so funny...but all were pretty solid reasons as to why it was time to move on.  And I'll be completely honest with you; in the 2 days after I walked out the office, but before I physically left LA, I actually had to put the list on the door of my apartment so I wouldn't (in a mad panic), rip everything out the boxes I'd carefully packed and try to find a way to rescind my resignation.  Because despite the 16 items on The List, there were actually still several good reasons to stay.  There were my co-workers (who I enjoyed working with day after day), there was a paycheck (that I really enjoyed getting week after week), and then there was this sense of identity that my job gave me....that I knew what I was doing, that I knew what I was talking about, and that I knew that, even if I didn't, I could make up a good enough answer to get me by until the real answer presented itself.

So flash forward 4 weeks to today.  There I was, cleaning out the random pile of "To Sort Through Later" stuff that had collected in the corner of my closet post-relocation, when I came across The List.  I hadn't seen the list since I unpacked all of my boxes--so the first thing I noticed is that I forgot I still had it.  That seemed odd, I thought--considering how much time, effort, blood, sweat and tears I put into it.  The next thing I suddenly felt was this overwhelming sense of relief.  I think that I truly thought I would regret my decision to leave weeks into it (again, hence the list).  I thought that I would be drowning in this pool of uncertainty about my life--that I would still feel like I had no purpose and no idea where I was supposed to go.  But here I am...a month later, and I feel surprisingly good about the fact that I walked away from my job when I did.  Now mind you, I still have no purpose and no real idea as to where I'm supposed to go; but somehow the overwhelming feeling of panic has subsided and has been replaced by this strange zen sense of calm.  I don't know if this means I've somehow skipped stages 2 through 6 of the 7 stages of grief--or if I've developed a rare, undiagnosed psychosis.  But I did something that I didn't think I'd do for at least 3 to 4 months after leaving Employer X....

I threw The List away.