I have been thinking about this day for weeks, months even, and as the day grew closer my heart would beat a little faster, it would keep me up at night just a little longer, and my hands would shake just a little more. This morning on the way to work my heart was beating so fast I could have been the entire percussion section in a local marching band. My stomach had that cliché pit feeling at the bottom to the point that I literally thought I might puke. Instead of puking, I opted for a throbbing headache. Headaches are perfect for concentrating when you have something important to say. I’ve been working at this company for almost six years now, and if any of you out there has been paying attention at all, I’ve been fairly unhappy for a while now. Besides the fact that I no longer feel like I fit in, I also just don’t want to see numbers anymore. Considering I majored in Math/Economics and got my Master in Economics, that’s saying a lot. Knowing all that, you’d think this would be a piece of cake. Then why was I so nervous to give notice?
I’ve been dying to do this practically since August was born, twenty-two months yesterday. I guess it’s the enormity of this decision that makes me so nervous. I’ve been working since, well, ever but now I’m going to stay at home with August while I try to discover whether I can become a writer. To put it another way, I’m going after what I want, going for broke. August inspired me to do it. I didn’t want to have him one day look me in the face and ask “why do you work if you hate it so much?” I remember wondering that about my mother. So poor Brent is going to take one for the team and go back to work full-time while I take care of August, and find my path as a writer. I’ve signed up for this writing course at Berkeley to determine if I’m committed enough to complete a writing certificate program. The goal is to become a freelance writer, and maybe someday have a full-time writing job. It’s a big change for me, I know. But if I never have to calculate another percent change, or determine whether something is statistically significant, it will be too soon.
I think the scariest part is staying at home with August. Trust me when I say I never thought this would happen. I never thought that I would even want to be at home with my child. I mean, hell, it took me awhile to even want children, much less spend all my time with them. But I have to admit, I kind of want to see what Mom’s group are like, or what it feels like to go to a Gymboree class in the middle of the day in the middle of week, or know the stress of needing to cook dinner while August is tugging at my leg to read “Duck, Rabbit” one more time. It sounds completely old-fashioned, but it’s a life I’ve never tried, much less attempted. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to bind my feet, or sign up at the local country club to take tennis lessons. This is all a master plan to see if I have what it takes to be a writer and a mom. I may take a significant nose plant and scape up my face beyond recognition, but at least I can say I tried. I can always do numbers.
Anyhow, I did it. At 10am PST I walked into my boss’s office and gave my two weeks notice. After I spent about ten minutes confirming my decision not only to him, but myself I stopped myself from jabbering on for too long and steered the conversation towards something more constructive. I told him why I was leaving and what I wished had been different. I told him about my grandiose plans, and he said he was sad that I was leaving. I was touched by his sentiment, and we chatted a little longer more like friends than manager - employee. It was nice. I breathed a sigh of relief and left his office. Now it’s a matter of telling other people at work that I care about – which is very few but after almost six years you amass at least some people who mean something to you. I’ll spend the weekend thinking about who those people are, and probably have the same conversation over and over about what I’m going to do with my life now, and reaffirm every time I do. But that’s okay, I’ve made a decision, that wasn’t easy, and I’m sticking by it. Although I do wonder if they’ll throw any money my way to stay – I don’t think so, and I wouldn’t take it, but I secretly have always wondered what that feels like.