Parting Wishes - things I learned when I left my dream job
Recently I, with the support of my husband, decided to leave my dream job.
Wow - a dozen or so words to capture thirteen years of dedication to one organization. It was not a decision that we took lightly, but when the time came, the decision felt like the right thing to do.
I've had a couple of months to process it now and have been thinking about writing something. Today, after a conversation with some old colleagues I knew what I wanted to share. I have had the gift of reflection lately with my new found time and capacity.
Leaving my dream job - because it was - revealed some very valuable learnings to me:
1- Always be able to remove yourself from your role.
In the final months before my departure, I found it difficult to draw the line of where I stopped and my role started.
We had become one and the same. Now, I'll be honest because that's what I do, I didn't recognize this myself. Two things cued me into this. First, I had a conversation with my CEO - the most supportive, generous, and connected human that I know. She was referring to someone else and mentioned this exact situation.
"She lost herself in the organization."
My breath caught when she said it. Thankfully I was driving and not making eye contact, or I am certain that our universal connection would have revealed to her that I too, had lost myself in the organization.
A few weeks later, once I had given my notice, I met up with a long-time friend. He asked me a question that again, drove this point home.
"Did you find it hard to define where your voice stopped and the organizations voice started?"
Yes. Yes. Yes a million times, yes. We had been so connected for thirteen years, who wouldn't be? It had become difficult to see us separately.
My learning: when you see this happening it is time to reassess your boundaries or time to leave.
2- Love what you do.
Thirteen years is a decent commitment - a commitment that wouldn't have been so easy - felt so right - if I didn't absolutely love what I was doing. I was raising healthier generations. I didn't do the same role for thirteen years, but no matter what role I had, I was always raising healthier generations. Loving what you do, seeing the bigger picture, and remaining connected to the cause makes a world of difference to your happiness. Find a cause that means something to you - and you'll find happiness at work.
In my time since leaving, I have continued to find joy in my connection to the cause. Raising healthier generations wasn't just something I did at work, it is something I do at home too. I will be forever grateful to Vivo for the learnings and influence given to my parenting decisions. A few feet away from me my two fellas are resting after two and a half hours of swimming and an hour and a half at a community firepit (shameless plug for #firepitfridays). Those fellas have known physical activity since day one thanks to Vivo. Thanks to our cause, people like Dr. Mark Tremblay, the amazing humans of Vivo who have played, laughed, made room for the physical - thanks to all of that we have two fellas who are the future healthier generation.
3- You can't be a bridge forever.
Teamwork is tough. I suppose that's why they make us do all those group projects in school. Often times, when things aren't working between teams a few individuals create a bridge. They peacefully bring together the two sides that aren't connected and they mediate what's going. Bridging teams is great, for a short time. For a short time, it can bring about critical conversations, difficult and uncomfortable conversations, and resolution.
It's not a longterm solution. Eventually, the weight of that bridge becomes too much to bear. Eventually, the individuals creating those bridges give out and crumble under the pressure of mending relationships.
If you recognize that you are a bridge you should address it, force some difficult conversations, and remove the need for the bridge.
4- Don't forget you are all on the same team.
You are all united, in pursuit of a common goal. I know that it can get murky in the day-to-day happenings, but you need to always remember what you are here for - don't remember? See point 2. All too often we forget that while we are split into teams within an organization, ultimately we are all still working toward the same goal, we are all still united by a belief in a cause. When we lose sight of that it is far too easy to point fingers or withhold support. Guess what happens when we do that? We slow our progress to a halt. We are one team, united by purpose - so support one another.
5- Ask yourself, what would love do?
To all of the above points, what would love do? I mean - I think we should all live by this one. I know it's hard to work together. I know it's hard to be slow to speak when something is close to our hearts. I know it's hard not to point a finger when something goes unexpectedly. I know. But I also know that pausing, and asking yourself what love would do can really help in the moment. And love isn't selfless, love cares for self and cares for others. I know you likely won't choose to live by it, but if I can leave one thing behind, let it be love.
When you're given the moon, you find ways to give it back. I was given the moon - and there is not a moment that goes by that I don't recognize and feel grateful for every single speck of moon that Vivo gave me. A job through university, a cause to believe in, a husband, a full-time "grown-up" job, two sweet, healthy fellas, the most supportive village, close friends, my dream job.
Off I go, to continue living our cause, a lifestyle for healthier generations.