[I’m publishing this almost 10 months after I started the new position for which I had applied at the time I wrote this (early May, 2020). It was the Right Thing for me to do, and I’d do it again. But doing it still sucked.]
It’s been 23 years since I applied for a job. I remember some of the emotions I experienced back then: angst, trepidation, fear, anticipation, hope, guilt.
Fear? Yes, fear. Fear I wouldn’t get the job and be able to leave my current employer on my own terms. Also, ironically, fear I would get the job, which would mean relocating to Potsdam.
Angst. Is this the right thing to do?
Trepidation. Am I good enough to even be considered for the position, let alone get it? (I have a self-diagnosis of Imposter Syndrome. It tends to flare up at times like that.)
Anticipation and Hope. In those moments when I can get past the angst, I allow myself to daydream about the possibilities this change would bring and make plans.
Guilt. This is the worst. And it’s almost crippling. The guilt is over leaving whatever you’re currently doing (in this case, the job I had at the time) for a new job. I tend to be a loyal person. And I care about the work I do, no matter what it is or who it’s for. Walking away from a body of work is a hard thing to do when you care about it.
It’s been 23 years since I applied for a job. This job. The one I have, and the one I have the good fortune and privilege to actually love. I have been working full-time for SUNY Potsdam for, as I write this, almost 23 and a half years. If I count my time as a student here, I’ve spent over half of my life on and around this campus. When you work for a place for that long, you become a part of it, just as it becomes a part of you.
It’s been 23 years since I left a job. And for me that’s hard. The pit in the stomach, the faint aftertaste of bile as your gut literally wrenches. You’re doing the right thing for yourself, but you didn’t plan this with your current employer and so to them it’s a surprise, and you feel badly doing that. No one is indispensable. You know that. People leave jobs all the time for all sorts of reasons. And the employer figures it out and moves on.
I will always be a part of the SUNY Potsdam Family. But it’s time to move out of the house.