I made a big decision this week. The kind of decision where right/wrong aren’t crystal clear, and right before you fall asleep at night you think you know what you're going to do and then you wake up the next morning and the temporary respite of resolution has disappeared again.
I was offered a job on Tuesday. I began my job search two months ago, after receiving confirmation at my annual review that, despite the fact that everyone was really happy with me, the funding for my grant-based job was ending in June and there was nothing in the pipeline that matched my skill set: weight loss expert without an RD, health interventionist not interested in teaching exercise. I had created a niche for myself in my current position that although I seem to be fairly good at, doesn't really exist in other grants. Small problem.
So I started tentatively looking. My expectation was that finding a job could be a half-year project, or more. I applied to anything that seemed remotely appropriate, hoping that interviews would at least be good practice. I heard nothing. Not even rejections.
In early August, I found a job that I loved the sound of and applied, expecting the usual - nothing. Two days later I got a phone call. A week later, an interview. Another week later, an offer.
It all happened so quickly, I barely had time to process it. All throughout my job search, I thought of course, of course, if I find another job, I'll leave. I mean, HELLO, I don't have a job in 8 months. (Although I did lobby hard to try and convince Matt that Buddy could really benefit from me becoming his Stay at Home Mommy. I'll just pretend he was so enthralled with his PTI episode that he didn't hear me ask. All thirty times.)
All through the offer process, I thought I would accept.
And then, an agreement was made and it was time to decide. I started freaking out.
"Can I really leave my participants?" "Shouldn't I finish out the study?" "I really like my co-workers, and I have loads of vacation days saved up, and I can do my job with my eyes closed... what if I hate my new coworkers? and I can't go on vacation? And learning a new job is HARD?" My stomach churned while I tried to decide what to do. I was sitting in my car outside my office, and I squeezed my eyes shut and prayed that God would tell me what the right answer was.
So I called Matt, my Mom, my Dad, Jamie, Heather. Anyone who would listen to me sort of the reasons to stay or go.
I realized that most of my reasons for saying no were lodged in fear: fear that my current employers would think poorly of me for leaving, fear that I wouldn't like or be as successful at the new job, or like my coworkers, or that I wouldn't be able to find anything good on XM radio for the extra 10 minutes in the car both ways.
Fear, as it turns out, is a pretty crappy excuse to avoid doing things. So, I decided to go for it. I punched the return call button on my phone, and said yes. I hung up, and called back Matt, my Mom, my Dad, Jamie and Heather. (Thanks yall.)
I didn't really feel the excitement of my decision until after I had gotten through the hard task of telling my 3 bosses and my 4 co-workers. Their reactions were mixed, but those who were most impacted by my decision to leave were supportive, which confirmed my decision.
By Friday, it was official. Everyone at work knew, and preparations were underway for my departure. It hit me as I was erasing my name for the September schedule that this was real: I was leaving. I was leaving the study that I had created out of my clueless, naive, hoping for the best little head and heart 4 years ago. Panic and guilt started to set in. Did I make the right decision? Too late now, I told myself. Move forward.
That night, we all gathered at Zac and Jamie's to celebrate two birthdays and, as Jamie's email lovingly put it, "my awesomeness." Happy hour turned into five hours as a group of amazing people sat around a patio table taking slices of Burke St Pizza and pouring glasses of Cook's champagne, laughter and conversation accentuated by the flickering lights of candles in tin lanterns.
I was leaning back in my chair looking around at this group with such contentment when I heard with absolute clarity the answer to my prayer that I had spoken 3 days prior.
"It doesn't matter."
When truth hits you, you know it. I knew it then: there had been no right or wrong choice to be made. Where you spend 40 (plus) hours a week is important, and being happy there is a big slice of life. But it’s just that: a slice of life. Making a living is simply so much more than just where the paycheck comes from.