Just a handful of days from my quit day, I had an epiphany about why people don’t change from one job to another. I had been running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to complete the various tasks required to leave one job for another. My realization was this: people don’t quit jobs because the paperwork and running hither and yon to start a new job are a special form of torture.
There is no “Changing Jobs 101” class in which I could enroll. I had never seen a book called “Ten Things You Should Do When You Change Jobs”, and I’m a librarian (with a lowercase L – but that’s a different blog altogether). I sat around for a month or two after announcing that I was quitting without really grasping what that meant.
I can tell you right now in one word: paperwork!
The amount of red tape involved in quitting one job and starting another was astonishing. I guess eight years in one job was long enough to make me forget that part. The entire process could make the IRS proud…especially if it could all have been done electronically. Alas, it could not so I began making lists: a list of things to do before I quit, a list of jobs to apply for, a list of my current finances, a list of bills I would still have to pay, a list of references, a list of people to say goodbye to, a list of skills I possessed, a list of skills to learn, and so on and so on. I had lists coming out of my ears! At the least, they were overflowing my desk and notepads.
Everything about it seemed so surreal at that point. I kept writing out the lists and marking the days off the calendar without comprehending that I was actually leaving the job…and not coming back. I just floated through on autopilot putting in applications and resumes for jobs, figuring out when my health insurance would run out, and keeping a hawk eye on my bank account to be certain I could make it for a few months without work if necessary.
I met the Health Insurance Marketplace which wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but my checking account wasn’t thrilled to be introduced to it. I started learning more about my life and cancer insurance policies. Frankly insurance is like learning a foreign language that I still have as of yet to master, but I managed to get all my basic ducks in a row. I’ve learned to live on less, and it hasn’t killed me yet.
One of my resumes paid off with a part-time job offer to begin right after I left my full-time position. I find that I keep learning the definition of providential. The past six months have been a massive – but interesting – learning curve. Changing jobs has not been a terrible experience, but I have had to learn new financial self-control. I have cultivated new interests and re-cultivated dormant hobbies. Perhaps more importantly, I have had time for some serious self-reflection. All in all, I have been able to stay on an even keel by accepting that my change in circumstances is still better than the stress I endured with my old job. Those closest to me have acknowledged the positive difference in my personality with the reduction of stress and strain in my life.
So to alter a Douglas Adams quote just a little: “I may not have [gotten] where I intended to be [yet], but I think I have ended up where I needed to be [for now].”