Empty teacups

"Can't you see the
teacup is full? You can't pour tea into a full teacup!" - Buddhist teaching



When I quit my job back in 2004 (!) I literally didn't know what my next steps would be - I knew I didn't like my job but I didn't have anything lined up to take its place.



(I was pregnant, but I wouldn't find out until later that evening. My decision was based solely on what I wanted for myself. It was selfish, if you will.)



All I knew is that all the energy I was putting into that job was literally making me sick to my stomach  and I simply couldn't do it anymore.



(OK, maybe morning sickness had something to do with it, but I didn't know that at the time.)



So I took a deep breath, walked into my boss' office and quit.



She assumed that I was being coy about my plans because I was leaving to work for a competitor and at first tried to get me to spill the beans - probably because she wanted out too.



"I swear. I really don't know what I'm doing next."



"You're serious."



"All I know is that I won't be working here. Or in another big company. At least not for a while. I want to try something different."



"Like what?"



"I don't know."



At first, saying that out loud felt like I was admitting defeat: I don't know. Who says that? Not Type A careerists like me! But the more I said it, the more comfortable I became with the concept - I could accept that I didn't know what I wanted. I wanted to keep my options open. I had made a mistake and was going to own up to it: I did not want the corporate job after all.



I had given two (or maybe three?) week's notice, and dutifully worked at finishing up projects and tying up loose ends. I blissfully closed up shop and handed over my projects and timelines with a clear conscience.



I remember waking up happy as can be on my first Monday of Freedom, my mind clear with the simplicity of my new life.



Not so fast, sister.





The phone rang at 9:00 am. It was a headhunter. She was calling me about what two years before had been my dream job - to become a cosmetics buyer for one of the largest retailers in the US. I hesitated for a second, but then I told her the truth - I wasn't interested.



That felt good. I had learned the hard way that I didn't want the corporate life, and I wasn't about to get suckered back in.





Then a month later my old company called, offering more money and promotion. They thought I had been playing hardball, and they cried uncle.



It was all I could do not to laugh.



"I was serious when I quit. But thank you."



"Come back."



"I'm pregnant," I blurted out. "No thanks."



Silence.



"Then consult for us. What are your rates?"



I had never considered consulting - but it sounded good. I negotiated my rates and my terms:



"I refuse to work on any projects with my old boss. I'm not covering for her lazy ass anymore."



"Can't blame you."



"I'll come in after 10 AM. And my contract ends exactly 30 days before my due date. I want time off before I become a mom."



"Deal."



And that, my friends, was the first step in the strange and meandering path that is my work life. I haven't looked back on my old corporate life and I certainly haven't been bored. I've been honest about what I want, and more often than not I get it. And when I don't? It's not the end of the world. I've taken on so many interesting projects (not all for pay) and learned so much from every single one.



I just went through a month when I got rid of things that were weighing
me down and cut off people from my life that didn't have my best
interests in mind. And because nature abhors a vacuum, as soon as I got
rid of the dead weight awesome things have taken their place. I've been
invited to take on great new projects. I've met amazing new people that
make me laugh and cry (with laughter.)



I'm not saying you should quit your job - I don't know you. Maybe you love your job but something else in your life is driving you crazy. What I'm saying is that if something is in your life and you hate it, get
rid of it. You have to make room in your life for what you want - even if that scares the pants off you.