When you give up a good thing…
Six years ago, I gave up my job in advertising and it turns out, it was the best decision of my life. Looking back, I can think of many sensible reasons why I did it, but at that moment, it was an impulsive decision. I had just changed jobs, moving from one agency to another, mainly motivated by a much better remuneration package. My father and my uncle, both of whom were my go to people for advice, were not happy with my decision but they stayed clear of dissuading me.
It took me about a month to realize that the new place did not suit me; we were just not a good fit for each other. It took me another month to admit to myself that it was better to cut loose at that point rather than try to pull on. For a month, every time the thought that this new job was a mistake occurred to me, I closed my mind to it and soldiered on, feeling that I was being both brave and sensible. I wasn’t. In reality, I was just stupid and stubborn and that finally dawned on me one Saturday morning, when I woke up close to tears, feeling that I just couldn’t go on. Lying in bed, looking up at the ceiling, I decided to go in on Monday morning and resign my job. Everything around me cleared and being unemployed for the first time in my adult life did not seem like a big deal at all.
The next morning, the whole family was plunged into a crisis when my mother went into respiratory failure. The next few weeks were spent outside the ICU first, and then in taking care of her. Newly unemployed, it seemed natural that I stayed with her and nursed her through her recovery. Even today, I do not know if I would have given up a job to look after her, but luckily, for her and for me, that was a decision that I had already made.
Looking back, I know that those few months of concentrating on my mother changed me into a kinder, better version of myself. It also led to a change in my career choices as I was suddenly free to go into teaching and freelance consulting, working at a pace which suited me, and getting involved in projects which I liked and people with whom I had a certain affinity.
There are days when I miss my advertising life and I do not regret the years I spent as an advertising professional; I just realise that sometimes a good thing may be keeping you from a great thing.