Aviators // MAC lipstick in "Rebel"
Hello loves, long time no blog. I feel I say that way too often but please bear with me it's about to get better. On to this dramatic post title, I need to vent/chat and this has always been one of my favorite places to do that. So, grab a coffee and get comfy cause this will be a long one lol.
So, you know that dreaded feeling you have when it’s time to do something you REALLY don't want to do? The dishes, call that annoying family member, go to the dentist or do cardio at 5am.... The dread, the knots in your stomach, the excuses you come up with to avoid it.... Well multiply that by 10 and that's how I felt about my job. Every. single. damn. day was a struggle.
My job, by most people's standards, would have been their ideal perfect job. I worked for one of the largest IT firms in the world, not the US but the WORLD, Craig! My job as a consultant was to travel all over to help clients solve their real estate management problems with my management program. Travel that has taken me as far as London for 2 weeks and as close as Arkansas. My client was one of the largest retailers in the world and we were implementing my program to ALL international markets, the travel opportunities were endless. It wasn't long before I was on a plane every single week. Oh, and the money, let's just say I was 100% satisfied in that department.
So here I was 15 years into my real estate management/ IT career working for one of the largest IT firms in the world with one of the largest client in the world. I should have been ecstatic, I'm still young so I should have been hungry. This was a career defining position to say the least. Now I say all that not to brag but to outline the magnitude of pressure that was on me. To say it was stressful and fast paced is putting it mildly, that project was INSANE! The stress level was through the roof and the pace was unrealistic at every moment. On a plane 5:45am Monday morning (sometimes Sunday night), arrive at client site, work 12-hour day, hotel to eat, shower and check company emails I was too busy to answer during the day, sleep, wake up and repeat again until Thursday when I'm back on a plane by 2pm and home by 11pm. Sprinkle in midnight calls with the India team and respond to emails that have come in from the China team now that they are awake and you have one TIRED Naja. Everything took a backseat, hell at times even that was full and the only room was in the trunk. Working out was hard, eating healthy on the road was SUPER hard, a social life was IMPOSSIBLE. I was miserable and fading quickly. (For any consultant reading this knows that life all too well, it’s not for everyone)
How I knew it was time to leave. Everyone has that one moment of clarity at least once, you could describe it like a movie. The exact moment when you just KNEW. The moment I KNEW this life was not for me and I would have to leave hit me like a tragic freight train, impossible to ignore. GOD does that to me at times. I don't do well with subtle hints (say it from ya chest so I know it’s REAL! Ha) so at times HE shows up in the BOLDEST way to get my attention.
I remember it like it was yesterday. Working away one morning when I hear a shout in the office, "Does anyone know CPR! Someone needs CPR!". I didn't move. Didn't even look up. I remember saying to myself as I very slowly pushed away from my computer, "I know CPR but let me finish this email first." It wasn't until someone came into the conference room with no windows they kept my team tucked away in before I got out of my chair. I moved to the door to see what was happening and a co-worker had collapsed. I moved closer to the commotion where my co-worker lay on the floor while another co-worker performed chest compressions on him. They asked us to stay in our rooms to make room for the ambulance that was on the way. At this point I remember praying, "Please Lord let him get up, Please Lord let him be ok" repeatedly I said in my head. I knew him, worked with him every single day. He was a stable member of the project. You see the pressure wasn't just a lot on me, everyone was feeling it. This project was huge and visibility was high from every angle, we were all under a microscope and expected to perform at 1000% every single day.
After the ambulance arrived and took him away an announcement was quickly given that grief counselors were on the way and people were free to go home if they needed to. I walked over to a colleague’s desk and asked her if she was going to be okay or if she needed to go back to the hotel room and she looked at me with a confused face and said, "Why, what happened?" She had no idea what had just taken place the last 20 minutes because she was on a call the entire time and never realized the commotion. This was a completely open bay work space ya'll with half wall cubicles, how did you miss the calls for CPR, the commotion and the AMBULANCE that just wheeled out a person...HOW SWAY?! I thought it was crazy until 5 mins later my boss asked me to come to the conference room for our morning meeting. Wait. We're still having that?? This man SHOULD have been in that meeting with us and he just went to the hospital and we are carrying on like business as usual? Yes. Just like that. Not a single meeting was cancelled, not a beat was skipped in anyone's day. I was appalled. I was confused. Most of all I was sad and worried about my co-worker. I knew in that exact moment that I would not nor did I want to stay at that job. I don't want to work for a place that wouldn't even stop a meeting for me if I stopped breathing and collapsed out of nowhere. I don’t want to live a life where I am working to the point of death for someone else’s dream or victory. My co-worker never got up. He never came back to work and he never left that hospital. He had a stroke that day and died about 2 days later. We later had someone have a stressed induced seizure in the office and others simply left because the stress was too much.
From that day on, I made up my mind and started planning. I would not die doing something I didn't love for a company that wouldn't even stop a meeting for me. Before I completed my last day, I had gained a ton of weight, I stopped keeping track long ago. I was having heart palpitations from the stress and anxiety I felt every day, I’ve had more than one panic attack in the women’s bathroom stall and almost daily meltodowns with close friends and my momma. I was diagnosed a pre-diabetic...again! I couldn't even walk a flight of stairs without getting winded. A MESS. All of that was bad and I perhaps could have been managed it a bit better on my end with some boundaries and changes in habit but my true problem was I had lost my JOY, I felt like a shell of myself and was simply existing instead of living.
Today is 2 months to the day I quit and honestly, I've used this time to recover mentally. I couldn’t be happier or more whole with my decision. I am a forever What-if’r. What if….I stayed a little longer, it might have got better. What if….I just asked to switch projects. What if….I don’t succeed in my new pursuits. What if….I stayed and nothing changed but things only got worst. DING, DING, DING!! There it is, the only What if that matters, WORST wasn’t possible to me nor an option. I am free now, with not a single regret.
I needed to rest, I need to re-center and find ME again and most importantly find my JOY. Apparently, this does not just happen in 2 months but I'm getting there, lol. Starting with my blog. This is a place that has always bought me joy so here I am. I will focus on this space, I will focus on building this community until it no longer brings me joy (although, I don’t see that happening anytime soon!) Thank you to those who have been patient with me and continue to support me and my blog. You da real MVP and I LOVE YOU!!