I recently quit my job because, well, it was time. I had already quit earlier that year but had been talked into staying after I was offered a promotion – but no raise. I resigned myself to a couple months of working but realized, wow, it’s really hard to work somewhere when you can sense you’re being grossly undervalued. I look at jobs the same way I look at relationships: new ones are always fun and exciting, but if you’re not willing to invest in me over time, I’m going to leave. (Mostly because I being undervalued in society is endemic among women, be it professionally or romantically.)
Which I did. I left. I put in notice. Which is fucking scary. There’s something comfortable and warm in the familiar and known, even if exhaustion and tediousness and being burnt out comes with the familiarity. There is no overt challenge in the status quo. Change? That requires me to try harder. My bad attitude is very cozy. Sometimes I choose to keep it.
But not today. Today I venture into the unknown. The unknown isn’t a very safe place for women, mostly because the unknown generally doesn’t hold promotions or huge pay raises or overwhelming professional opportunity. The unknown is a dark room with a low glass ceiling.
This is an expression of vulnerability. This is an exercise in letting go.
So I texted my friend, with whom I have worked in the past and who is well respected in our field. I look up to her as a professional and as a strong woman. I told her about my decision. In many ways, I was asking for her approval, for her validation.
Often times, I find that in moments of vulnerability, when I ask for validation or compassion, my openness can be met with disdain, imposed worry, or glibness. It’s a hard thing to cope with – a lack of empathy when I need it the most can be jarring and a cause for self doubt.
But when I texted my friend, she didn’t do anything like that. Instead, she said something that gave me courage, gave me hope, that made me feel like even in the face of uncertainty, everything is going to be okay.
“I support you.”
And with that, I step out of the past and into the future. That is all I need from her, and all I need from anyone, ever, really: support.
I support you.