Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Impulse Entry

I resigned from my job three weeks ago. I didn’t miss my job ONE BIT until the day I left it. I didn’t feel emotional AT ALL on my last day of work, but cried after saying the words “I won’t be coming back.” I’ve been thinking a lot about why I resigned, when I did it and how I did it. A girlfriend who had a baby just a few weeks after I did will give her notice today. She asked me for advice on breaking the news to her employer. Spelling out some of my thoughts for her helped me come closer to reaching the closure I’ve been looking for. Maybe this entry will, at last, put my feelings to bed. This may not make sense. This may offend. This may be the entry that prompts me to go private. But these are the thoughts keeping me up tonight, and what is a blog if not a venue to share our lives and thoughts?

Here is part of the email I sent my friend tonight.

(Please forgive misspellings or grammatical errors. If you email with me on a regular basis you know I’m all about stream of consciousness writing in email, not so much proofing;))

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GIRLFRIEND. You can do this. I know it's hard. So hard. We can totally analyze over lunch Thursday but in the meantime consider the following and it may make things easier (if possible) to resign. (By the way... avoid using the word "quit"... resign settles so much more w/ the soul right now). These things (in no particular order) helped me do the deed.

#1. They will survive. They have clearly survived w/out you this long, so they will continue to survive. Resigning post maternity leave is, obviously, unlike quitting suddenly when they're used to having you there every day. I was worried about the same thing as Fox is SO short-staffed right now too. But they came up w/ a plan to cover me while I was gone and from what I understand, they're just continuing to do so until they replace me. The show will go on. The company will too.

#2. They may suspect you're not coming back which will make the blow easier. My boss didn't act all that shocked and even said he wondered if that's what it would come to. People DO decide to stay home w/ their babies these days. It IS a growing trend... right? :)

#3. Speaking of right... it is your RIGHT to stay home with your baby! It is your RIGHT to use your entire mat. leave to make this decision. It is your RIGHT to accept paychecks/insurance/what-have-you during that time and STILL wait until the last min. to decide what is RIGHT for you. You never know what could happen during mat. leave that could force you back to work (hey, you could get cancer!) What am I doing stressing this point to you? Hello, you are HR. You know these things!

#4. This one may not apply to you but it helped me: I'm totally replaceable. No one likes to believe that and while I know I did good things as a producer at Fox, it's not like I WAS Fox. My boss said he was "professionally devastated" (for the record, he then quickly added "but personally so happy for you") which was nice of him to say, but let's be honest... he will hire someone else and, again, the show will go on and I will be forgotten. Somehow everything will still make air. It may even make air CLEANER or BETTER than it did with me! They will (gulp) live without me b/c something tells me I don't mean quite as much to them as I'd like to think I do. Now, you may truly be an irreplaceable Wonder Woman at your job, so maybe they will die w/out you... but I feel it helps to self-deprecate a little in times like these.:)

#5. The last two times I've left jobs I've been really surprised at how "well" my bosses handled the news. I pictured in my head awful, guilt-ridden pow wows where I leave them shocked and disappointed. Then maybe they make me an offer I couldn't refuse if I'd consider staying, going part-time or working SOMETHING out. Instead they've been supportive, complimentary, then content to bid adieu. Ego: slightly bruised. Bridge: unburned. Difficulty of task: less than expected.

#6. It will be one hard day. One uncomfortable confrontation w/ the boss that ends in bad news and maybe some awkwardness. But then... the rest of your mommy life w/ one job: MADELEINE! You go in there, you bite the bullet and then it's OVER. You never have to see these people ever again. Who cares if they hate you (which they won't).... they are out of your life forever!

#7. Consider the alternative: not resigning. Going back to work. Leaving Maddie. Now think of every thing you DIDN'T like about your job (commute, late hours, piles of paperwork, whiney employees, etc) and say to yourself "no more, never again!" (Note: there are things we love about our careers... now is not the time to think of them.)

Okay... that's my pep talk in an email. Maybe that will help you (even a little) get through tomorrow. As for your personal emotions behind actually resigning, stopping your career, closing that chapter of your life, going from paycheck to poverty... benefits to blow-outs... suits to spit up... career to serious cabin fever... (i could go on and on... and on but I'll stop), well, that's a whole 'nother email! Or better yet, a lunch date on Thursday!;)

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The day I resigned a dear friend said to me: “I think walking away is one of the bravest things we do in life.” I’ve thought about her words many times over the last few weeks because I think she’s right… even if I don’t feel brave every day.

13 comments:

Claudia said...

I hope this gives you closure. Being a mom is a great job, it really is, and there is no one in the world that can do it better for your baby than you can. It is also a sacrifice. I "retired" (quit IS a horrible word) almost three years ago, and I still miss it, and it's okay if you still miss your job next week, next month, or next year. An added bonus of retiring shortly after having a baby is that your hormones might not be all too balanced (not an accusation, just a statement of fact), and this may make you cry. A lot. And that's okay too.
Will you miss the paychecks, bonuses, paid vacations, friends, and glowing performance reviews? Yes, you will. But, it is better than missing the first smiles, baby laughs, first steps, learning new words, and knowing exactly what your child is doing and that he is being well taken care of.
Good luck with your new job!

Sarah S said...

Oh Wendy!! I loved your impulse entry. It was heartfelt and true to what you went through. I think your decision was TOUGH and I am really impressed with how you handled all of this. And how you're helping your friend go through something so similar!

And on the hard days, when you're home by yourself and only talk to your little munchkin, or when he's screaming or being difficult, you may wish you had done something that gave you a break from all of this. But it's seriously one of the most rewarding things you will ever do. And in the end, such a cool thing that you are home with your little guy.

I went to my high school reunion last weekend - and I think every single woman who has kids has to work. It's not a choice for them. You may temporarily live in poverty and be fine with it because Harley is in grad school - there will probably be four more years of scrimping and wishing you had more, but I think we are so lucky that in the long run, you'll be able to be a stay-at-home mom and it will be just fine. (I think my comment may be more offensive to others than your post. Sorry - I hope it's not taken the wrong way)

Good luck with the moving in a few weeks. It's extra fun with a baby - at least yours can't unpack the boxes that you pack yet :)

Jill said...

Loved your comments Wendy. I wasn't too hard to walk away from my pre-Lizzie job since I was a secretary and hated it, but I did feel a little awkward calling at the very end of my maternity leave. I like to think they suspected that I never had any intention of going back, but it was nice to have it as a fall back those first couple months.

Crystal said...

Great Advice. And you are lucky you have had relativley good expereinces quitting, both times I left a professional job my once very close and friendly bosses turned on me and were not understanding at all what so ever. So glad to be done with that part of my life for a while!

JessK said...

It IS hard to walk away from what has become not just a job, but a career...I love what your boss said to you in #4 "professionally devastated, but personally happy for you". My boss said a similar thing when I retired. It's quite the compliment, really. Respect for both your work and your choice to focus on your family.

Lauren said...

You go girl! enjoy your life and do not get distracted by other things. We all remember how tough and crazy your job was and are proud of you!

Kelly Durham said...

My first thought is one of incredible gratitude for the working women who fought so hard to make maternity leave a reality and to make it illegal in this country to fire a woman simply because she becomes pregnant. I'm so glad we have choices! And I'm hoping things will improve more so that the next generation of women will have it even better!

Thanks for putting yourself out there, Wendy. I think this is an important conversation to have.

Harley King said...

You quit?

What!!!?

I thought you said the money would keep rolling in?

Ligia said...

You are the absolute greatest!! What more can I say? The greatest!

Kellie said...

All the memories of your dream job/career seem to wash away when you are the one that sees all of the "firsts" for your child... and not the daycare provider. It is also great to know that you can be a great role model for your child... someone they know who sacrificed something great for them.

becky said...

Wendy,

I have a feeling that you'll be a rock star in whatever career you pursue -- tv, Anderson's mom, amazing wife, party planner, fashionista, friend and all around awesome person!

I can't wait to meet your new boss. ;)

Julie and Tanner said...

Wendy -
I loved reading your post, having had a similar conversation not long ago - and having to have it again when I went back to visit and realized a lot of people didn't know I wasn't going back. Making the transition from working woman to mom is hard, but worth it - and it's good to know it's okay to feel that way. I believe you told me long ago that working the morning show is awful for six months, and then you kind of get used to it, and that's kind of how any job is. Well, I did it for a year - and seven of those months I was pregnant. (But hey, it sure made it easier to get up for middle of the night feedings.) And I can tell you, the first few months of being a mom is much better - I'm still getting used to it, but the benefits package (ie smiles and firsts) is pretty good.

Suzette Selden said...

Loved your post Wendy. You are a true DIVA!