When I told people I was leaving my job, I framed it as “figuring out what I want to do with my life” and less “oh my gawd get me outta here asap.” And because of that I got a ton of questions, mostly some variation on what will I do next?
But more than just questions, I got life advice. A lot of it. Mostly unsolicited. It was kind of overwhelming.
You see, everyone loves being the hero of their own story. And, apparently, leaving a job without having something lined up strikes a lot of folks– or at least the ones that I work with– as a turning point in a narrative that reminds them so much of their own life.
So, so much.
One colleague of mine was reminded of the two-month road trip with her husband after she’d finished chemo decades ago. Another colleague recalled how he got to spend time with his dying father after quitting a toxic job. And then another woman who, bless her heart, told me, lamenting a longer-than-she’d’ve liked period of unemployment in her past: A good mind is a terrible thing to waste.
It was interesting to see these people, many of whom I barely spoke to day-to-day, just randomly open up to me to say, basically, See me for what I have gone through!
I don’t think there’s a point to this post. Or if there is, it’s this: As much as I feel lost, alone, scared, and humbled, I am grateful that so many people in so many ways are trying their damnedest to tell me that I, like they, will get through this.
Have you ever had colleagues randomly open up to you?