Vague. Sudden. Preposterous.
It took me many days and one failed Christmas cake to discover that I was suffering slowly from anxiety-driven depression. From the numerous days that went by, I could not put my finger on what made me snap so often at home and panic at work. I felt like the punching bag of the office – I was suddenly drawn into events that I never participated and seemed to be responsible for absolutely anything that went wrong, irrelevant to my job. Protesting was futile as nobody wanted the headache of investigating issues. It was safer and convenient to just name somebody. My name. The weekend before Christmas, I could not sleep. In my perturbed state did I imagine things at work, more negative scenarios and further accusations involving me. I was to wake up early next morning for Church and with hardly a wink, I managed to pull myself together and prayed for some inner calm. It was then that the words of my tai chi Shifu came to mind:
“I cannot solve your problems but I can surely make you think of some wise solutions. The key to a wise solution is to ask a wise question.”
What really was my problem? My job.
Why can’t I get rid of the problem? Cos I need the money.
That’s it. I had arrived to a conclusion. Yes, money was my problem, but I did have some savings. Perhaps enough till I found another job, which hopefully would not take up much time. I was on my father’s visa, so why not quit while I still had the privilege? Even the very thought of quitting my job relieved me. All those negative scenarios and accusations disappeared. My mind felt lighter, relaxed. I reached home, proceeded to work, completed the entire day and thought it over at home once again before announcing my decision to my parents. They took it calmly, and agreed that I should proceed to do so. I felt bad for dad, as it was his reference, and upon his request that I got this job of my career. Even at night while I framed the words of the resignation letter in my head, I remembered the times when my boss and my team were supportive. The many times I screwed up and how they collectively came together to set things straight. I did not know why did it have to change lately to bring me to this point. The next morning while having my cornflakes, yet once again I tried to discern if my actions were out of fear or pride, or the right step. The odds were greater. Surely, if I didn’t pull out now, someone in some way would take me out eventually. The decision was then final.
At work, I calmly pieced together the words of the letter that I seemed to have rehearsed all night long and folded the letter into a new envelope, unsealed. I made a call to my acting HR Manager (as the real one was on Christmas vacation) and asked for the procedures. He was a bit shocked, and told me that I may have to put up a fight as they were not going to accept my leave so easily. He was right. At the end of the day I proceeded to my boss’ office, and after hearing another bout of tantrums I calmly handed over my envelope and told her what was in it. Her expression changed for obvious reasons. My team was summoned, and immediate opinions were demanded from them. Where was this team when I needed them for the real professional reasons?, I wondered. Irrelevant statements were flared as usual.
“Think of your marriage! You think your fiancé will accept a non-working woman?”
“You are doing something utterly stupid and careless, yet again!”
“You don’t have a reason to decide this on your own. You talk to your fiancé, let him know of your decision first, and then let us know, and only thereafter we will decide to accept this letter or not”.
Weird. When will these people ever wake up to this century? I pretended to agree and make that call and went back the next day pressing for the same decision. My boss conceded, this time she was nicer, she looked defeated and did not wish to argue. It was Christmas eve, and so she suggested that it was not a good time to accept such letters (inauspicious perhaps), and to wait for New Year for its submission, while handing over the envelope to me. In this way, she explained I would get a whole month’s notice period before moving away. I was happy with her decision, it seemed fair enough, while it gave me ample time to keep looking for other opportunities.
There have been moments at home when I stop to think if I did the right decision. Especially when I get calls for interviews that offer me way lower salary than my current. But the peace of mind still prevails. If this is to be my last Christmas at home, then surely I plan to savor every moment without the thoughts of work hounding my happiness. And I did enjoy every bit of it. The Christmas Mass was lovely and cold. The winter is freezing. The decorations at the malls and hotels are magical. I smile more now. I live more. I know I will find something else, even if the income is a bit less. I let go, I trust myself. I let life happen.
Have a Happy and Joyous New Year 2014!