The first time it was easy. I hadn’t planned to go back to outside-the-home work until my youngest was in school full time. But I happened to glance at a want add in the newspaper my neighbor was having delivered to our house while he was out of town and it caught my eye: “Google searchers wanted – part-time, flexible, temporary.”
“You should apply for this,” was clear and unmistakeable, as was the “Stop!” when I tried to quit after the company did something which I felt strongly about and the HR person on the other end of the phone did not quite hear me the first time and I was about to repeat myself declining their offer.
The second time, nearly 8 years later, it was a little trickier. I’d been recruited by a former coworker from the first job, which had since become much more than flexible and temporary, but was still for the most part part time. I was nervous leaving a place I felt comfortable. Where the people I worked with were like family. And where I was good at what I did to the point a number of people relied on me and depended on me as their supervisor.
I recall standing, shaking nervously, with a big bold pit in the bottom of my stomach, at the window just before my interview, looking out over the airport runway.
“What are you thinking? You are afraid of flying!” This was true both literally and metaphorically.
All of a sudden a feeling of peace and calm washed over me.
The interview went well.
I had an offer shortly after.
As well as an unprecedented counter offer from my current employer, who was quite taken aback by my resignation.
A big decision to make – why leave a perfectly good job at which you are good and in which you are comfortable?
It all came down to the surety of that feeling of peace and calm I felt looking out over the ramp. Parts of it were going to be literal rocket science. I was completely out of my element and my comfort zone. But I was going to jump.
The third time it was more difficult. I had an opportunity to leave what felt, even though it was soft-funded, a more secure part-time position to work full time as part of a new team “educational technology.” In the interview my boss described the security between the two positions as “sixes.”
Full time was a big commitment. Not really what I wanted to do, but something I felt compelled to do. The benefits–particularly the tuition benefit–would be especially helpful for our last two kids. I tried to discuss it with family to get their input. Little was forthcoming. I sought inspiration and guidance, and again, little was forthcoming.
The weight of this decision was heavy on my shoulders.
I jumped again.
Now, nearly three years later, I still find myself asking if I did the right thing. The part-time job I left this time is long gone. I’ve moved well beyond my comfort zone once again and find myself doing work and accepting responsibilities I would never have dreamed of. I became a frequent flier and spent over two months traveling–Washington D.C., Atlanta, Chicago, Ft. Lauderdale/Miami–in just over a year and, surprisingly, loved almost every minute of it.
But as I drive along the pastoral perfection that is my short commute–God is used to hearing my prayers along this commute–I still often ask, “Am I supposed to be here? If I’m not, please tell me where I am supposed to be.”
And the silence still weighs heavy on my shoulders.
[Day 12 of Ann Dee Ellis’ 8-Minute Memoir]