Well then. I am officially saying goodbye to my old job. I’m one of anachronisms in this day and age. I’ve stuck with one job for the past 13 years. Sure, I’ve moved from position to position, from assignment to assignment, from location to location. But always under the umbrella of the same company.
“Even if it’s not passionate, it’s comfortable.”
It’s a good move for me. I get a raise, more flexibility, more time off, the ability to focus on my favorite part of the job, the chance to make a bigger impact — all things that people look for, and do not find that often. But leaving is still bitter-sweet. It’s the moment you end a long-term relationship. You’ve known it wasn’t going anywhere. You’ve been ready to move on for months, if not years. But even if it’s not passionate, it is comfortable. There may be problems, but at least you know all the problems. There’s the thrill of diving off a cliff, but the fear of not knowing whether the water below is deep enough. Most of all, there are the memories — memories you’ll be left with for a long time to come.
“It’s possible to stay friends even after you’ve seen their fiancé naked.”
But instead of counting the things to fear or regret, let me take this chance to create a gratitude list. (The last two are the best ones, so feel free to skip down.)
- Security: For 13 years, I’ve known that I have a job today, and I will have a job tomorrow.
- Financial independence: I’ve not only been able to support myself, but also assist others when needed.
- Self-esteem: I am good at my job. When the world has turned upside down, I’ve still had this rock to hold on to.
- Freedom: This company has been absurdly generous with time off. The last few years, I’ve had 6 weeks of vacation a year, and I’ve taken every single day off.
- Growth: I’ve learnt so much that I didn’t even know I didn’t know. Technically, of course. I think every engineer does, out in the workforce. But also, I’ve learnt things about leadership and dealing with people — never my strong suit.
- Challenge: Much of the time, I’ve been encouraged to act at the edge of my abilities.
- Acceptance: On occasion, I’ve laughed, cried, slept, sung, and acted more weirdly at work than you would think possible — including once throwing a water balloon at my boss. Not once have I been reported to Human Resources.
- Friends: The greatest gift of all. I’ve found some of my very best friends at work. Friends who more or less adopted me when my family was far away. Friends who danced with me, and drank with me, and partied with me. Friends who talked politics and religion with me, even when we were on opposite sides. Friends who taught me what to do, and what not to do. Friends who traveled with me. Friends who held my hand in the pit of depression. Friends who listened patiently to my endless tales of romantic excitement and romantic woe. Friends with whom it’s possible to stay friends even after you’ve accidentally seen their fiancé naked (everyone just needs to pretend nothing happened). Friends who were my bridesmaids, and whose bridesmaid I was. Friends who I have lived with. Friends whose babies I have held in my arms. Friends for life.