Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Unexpected Reactions

An unexpected, totally unrelated hat
The last week has involved me slowly spreading the news of my departure to coworkers.  I guess I didn't know exactly what recations to expect, but I figured they'd generally involve people giving me odd looks, with older and wiser folks telling me that I was crazy to leave a promising career with a major company.  So many people I work with are closer to the end of their careers than to the beginning, they've already spent their time working for the company, and they probably would be crazy to leave now.

But those looks of disappointment and fear and worry never came.  In conversation after conversation I got outstreched hands and congratulations.  I got wide eyes and even wider smiles.  I concluded several meetings with the announcement of my departure to contractors and coworkers.  More than a few of them turned into a room full of people going around the table sharing their own long and winding tales about how they ended up where they are today.   

I've been on the recruiting end, standing in front of a booth listening to person after person telling me why they'd be good for the company.  I've made judicious cuts to wide swaths of applicants based on a few numbers on a resume and 30 second conversations.  So many people are doing what society deems to be the normal path to a secure future. Do well in high school so you can go to college.  Do well in college so you can get a job.  Do your job well so you can buy houses and cars and retire in 35 years.  I was gliding my way along that path until a few weeks ago. 

My recent conversations have left me with an aching question:  If so many people are trying so hard to get where I am, then why is everybody congratulating me for leaving?


  1. What we thought we wanted wasn't all it was cracked up to be, as they say. I have been unemployed since last August and much as I miss having an income, I don't miss a job so much. Congratulations to you on your courage.

  2. What's next? (Outside of photography?)