“I was so beat down at my job that I was constantly thinking ‘What the hell’s wrong with me?’ and ‘Why do I feel like I’m failing?’ and ‘Why can’t I do this?’ And realizing that I was thinking like that hurt even worse because we just had our first child and I should have had ALL the awesome feels in the world.
I’d go into work every day at 6:30am and come home around 6:30pm, including weekends. And even when I came home, I was never really home. In my mind, I was still at work worrying about things I didn’t get done and constantly responding to work emails and text messages, all while thinking the negative thoughts I mentioned above.
This state of mind wasn’t just hurting me; my wife and child suffered. My wife because I’d barely talk to her as I sat on the sofa lost in my thoughts. My baby girl because I’d never have any energy left for her when I got home. I’d hold her, but mentally I just wasn’t there, all while she was beginning to develop a little personality and relationship with her dad. And I was missing it.
I was so conflicted because I really wanted to leave my job in order to be there for my family, financially, mentally and physically, but I needed the job to support my family. I couldn’t have one without the other, but I couldn’t suffer through one more day at work. Something had to give.
It sure as hell was NOT going to be my family. The family that my wife and I worked so hard to build was NOT going to be an afterthought. The job wasn’t worth losing them. I’d rather be living in a box on the street with a happy family than have money and feel terrible.
After an incident at work that finally broke this camel’s back, a three-minute phone call changed my life. I called my wife, wracked with fear and guilt, finally admitting (about my job), “This is it. I’m done. I’m so sorry for this, but I can’t do it anymore.” And the next words I heard from my wife changed me forever: “Don’t be sorry. I see what this job is doing to you every day, and your daughter can sense it, too. This isn’t worth what it’s doing to you. We’ll be okay. We’ll figure this out.”
So with the support of my wife, and knowing that I could start fresh with my daughter, I went straight to HR and asked to file for my own termination, effective immediately.
As I said my goodbyes to the coworkers I was going to miss, I walked out of the building flushed with adrenaline, feeling immediate panic and regret about what I had just done. I got into my truck to drive home and instantly started dry heaving from the stressful thoughts of what’s to come. I called my wife back, asking her a million times if I’d done the right thing, if I’d made a mistake. No matter how many times I’d ask, she’d always patiently say “You did the right thing.”
But I still wasn’t convinced… until my daughter came home from the sitter.
One look into her eyes with my new found sense of freedom and I knew everything was going to be alright, because we were together. I’d do anything for this little girl, but it had to start by being there for her. And I’ve never stopped since that moment.
After a small amount of time and personal reflection, I’ve moved on to an amazing job with an incredible company, and now I’m really happy. At work AND at home.
For those who are reading this and are feeling (in any way) like how I described above, this is what I have to say to you:
That was the single hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. To walk away from something I needed and into an uncertain future was terrifying! But I had the support of my wife and child to assure me that when there’s a will for a better ‘you,’ there’s a way to make it happen.
This concept doesn’t have to apply to a work scenario. If there is something about yourself that you want to change so bad, but can’t find the courage to do, look DEEP inside you to find that one reason, no matter how small of a reason it may seem, and FIGHT like hell to bring it to the surface. If you don’t have the strength by yourself to fight for it, lean on someone close to you and have them help you. If you feel like you’re fighting alone, read this post again from the beginning and realize that you are NOT alone.
Just. Fight. Like. Hell. But fight for a reason you believe in.
– Robert “Tony” Miller
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