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“I want to quit. I want to quit. I want to quit. I just can’t do this. I can’t go to one more team meeting. I can’t pretend. I can’t send out one more email which starts, ‘As a follow-up to our conversation earlier today…’ I don’t want to follow-up. I want to walk away.”

But you send that CYA email. You don’t quit. Instead, you slowly you self-destruct. You go to the meeting, but you sit a bit back from the table. “No, I think we covered everything,” you say when your boss asks you if you have anything to contribute. You send the follow-up email but in delayed time. You wait until the afternoon. The conversation happened in the morning. “Am I the only one not buying this?” you wonder.

People can tell. A colleague you don’t know that well asks you if you’re feeling okay. You’re caught off guard and don’t know what to say. “Oh yeah,” you respond. “Good. How are you?” Hopefully, they’ll give a short answer.

Finally a friend who doesn’t work with you, who hasn’t witnessed your self-destruction, puts you in touch with a promising contact. The idea of getting out is a boost of energy. You get the job. You hold it together when you deliver the news to the boss. Two more weeks. You don’t cause a scene. You lie. You tell them you enjoyed working there. You weren’t lying when you said thank you for the opportunity, but you had to remind yourself of that. You really did need a job when you started working there. You were in a bad situation. And the chance to get out of it had given you a boost of energy in itself – just at the thought of getting out.  You were convinced it was going to be better until you realized the new gig wasn’t so different from your last. Something else was going on. Your dissatisfaction was more complex than your environment. “This new job will be better,” you tell yourself. “I feel better just knowing I’m getting out.”