I've been surprised by how much my decision to quit my job has felt like a failure on my part.
This is, frankly, rather silly. The pieces I unleashed when I took my professional life and shook it up and threw it into the air are still settling, but the early signs are that they will settle in a way that is rather eerily aligned with exactly what I've wanted to do for quite sometime. So, rationally, I cannot call this a failure.
I quit for a complex mix of reasons, and even now, almost a week after I did it, I can't really explain what made me do it on that exact day, in that exact way.
I can say that as I looked ahead to how we were going to make our summer logistics work out, when Pumpkin is in summer camp a 15 minute drive from our house instead of school a 5 minute walk from our house, I could see that we would not be able to make it work without more help. But we have the resources to hire more help, so I had started looking into nannies and mother's helpers and the like. Then, one day it struck me that I was going to be spending money to sacrifice a part of the day I actually like for a job that I knew I didn't really want to keep.
That seemed crazy. That IS crazy, particularly since I also have the resources to make a different choice. So I started a job search, and was diligently working to find my next job.
Until Friday, when suddenly, I decided not to do it that way. As I say, I still can't fully explain why.
As the pieces start to settle and I can see what my next phase might look like, it looks good to me. So why does it also feel like I've failed? Like I have somehow let the side down by admitting that no, this job just isn't working for me, for reasons related to my family and to my inability to flourish in the culture at this particular company?
Rationally, I know this is wrong, but that doesn't make the emotion less real. I am fascinating by what it might say about my cultural baggage about careers and families and how they interact, but I can't quite put my finger on what is going on in my own head.
Perhaps there is an implicit assumption that this one job is a representative of all jobs in my field, and if I can't make it work perhaps there really is an unresolvable conflict between career and family after all? Again, this is clearly nonsense. The bit that I can't make work is the commute plus the 40 hours. If the company hadn't moved or had agreed to my query about dropping to 32 hours per week, I might have chosen to continue to overlook the feeling that I don't really fit the culture, and not have resigned. If the company had evolved a different culture, I might have decided to go ahead and hire a nanny and not resigned.
The company created the conditions that made me decide to leave, not me, and yet the little voice in my head is telling me I should have tried X, or done Y, or blah blah blah. And some of its suggestions contain some good lessons for me to learn about addressing conflict more directly and earlier- but I suspect that ultimately, none of the X's and Y's would have changed the outcome.
I know this move is not a failure on my part. I am looking forward to the time when I feel that, too.