I wrote a post a few years ago, How I Quit My Job When I Didn’t Have Another One Lined Up, that popped into my head recently. I went back and re-read it, and I had another thought about that process, one that I didn’t get into in that post. So, here’s the thought:
Sometimes You Need to Leap Before You Look.
I explained in that post that on my last day of work, I had applied and interviewed for precisely one job. It was my first choice moving forward, but I had always planned to keep applying and interviewing at other places too. I just hadn’t done that yet.
I gave about three weeks notice at my job, and at that point, I hadn’t even gotten the call saying I had an interview yet. I had only applied, and that had been a couple of months prior.
So, when I decided to give my notice, I had one job application out and nothing else. I had almost nothing in the way of actually moving toward a new job, but I gave that notice anyway.
I remember sitting with my supervisor (who, very fortunately, I had a good relationship with) having a one on one meeting and I must have looked completely dejected at my assignments coming up because he finally asked me if everything was OK.
Before I could answer the question, I started to cry.
I’m not a big cryer to begin with, and that’s the only time I’ve ever cried on the job, but in that moment, I broke. I had been trying to hold on for so long that when the tiniest thing cracked my facade, I completely crumbled.
Long story short, my supervisor finally said to me, “you need to decide what you want to do,” meaning make the decision as to whether I would stay or not, and in that instant, I knew exactly what the answer was.
I needed to leave.
Even though I didn’t have much lined up in the way of another job, I knew that was the answer for me.
I let my supervisor know the very next day that I would be leaving, and he encouraged me to quickly let our Regional Manager know so they could get moving on finding a replacement. I gave my official notice by the end of that week.
A little over a week later, I got a phone call from the one place I had applied to saying they wanted to bring me in for an interview, and we set it up for a day during my last week of work.
After I got off the phone, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had only gotten the interview because I had let go of my old job first.
There was no logical reason to think that, as, practically speaking, they were completely unrelated events, but still, that was my first thought.
This wasn’t cause and effect, as it wasn’t possible that quitting my old job had directly lead to me getting an interview, but I wondered if something else was at play here. That letting go of the old, and committing to a new path, had opened up enough space in my life for this new thing to enter it.
A Few More Tidbits
The story ends where I leave my job, accept the new one, and never look back. Until about two years later when I got curious and looked up my old company.
It no longer existed.
About a year after I quit my job, I happened to drive into a nearby shopping center where one of the locations (not my location) of my former company was located. The weird thing was that it didn’t seem to be there.
I was on the other side of the shopping center and didn’t bother driving closer. I drove home and forgot about it.
Fast forward another year, and I thought about that moment in the shopping center, so I searched for my former company.
Turns out that half of the locations closed down by the end of the year, 2007 ( I quit in April of that year), including the location where I had worked. And by the middle of 2009, the entire company went out of business.
I had been on a sinking ship, and hadn’t realized it. But I didn’t go down with the boat because I had already taken the leap.