The Good in Goodbye: The Lesson I Learned When I Quit My Job

“If you’re brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello”

Paulo Coelho

Last week, I left the job I had spent over 10 years with. On my last day I just knew I was gonna Crip walk outta there, chucking up the deuces, and say what my 7 -year old daughter told me to say; “see ya later suckers”.

Instead, I spent my last half hour at work fighting back tears. My first supervisor waited for me to hand in my badge and laptop to administration and walked me to my car. He said that he didn’t want to give me a hug because he would get too emotional. I started tearing up. I hurried to my car, begging the tears to stay put until I could get home. As soon as I walked into the house, the tears that I felt had no right to be there fell. Then I opened the card they gave me and the red velvet donuts they bought, and I cried. And then I cried some more. I texted my brother and told him what an emotional wreck I was, and he responded, “I thought you hated everyone there” …

You see, the last 5 years at my job were rough. I was harassed and lied on. A phone call was made to internal affairs that I was accepting bribes and I was investigated for official misconduct. There were 4 individuals who tried to get me fired. When that didn’t happen, my work environment became a living hell. Not long after, I accepted a rotational position and things were better for a while until I got a new supervisor and then things got even worse. Finally, I was sent back to my old position and I became completely miserable. I was paranoid, anxious, stressed, and I had the biggest chip on my shoulder. I didn’t smile as much, and I trusted no one. I was in constant defense mode, ready for a battle with anyone who dared to cross me. I knew it was time for me to leave and when my chance came, I jumped on the opportunity to leave that toxic, hostile work environment.

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When I started telling my colleagues I was leaving, they were legitimately sad. They told me they were happy for me but expressed how much they would miss me. One of my colleagues said, “who is going to help me get my life together and be my life coach”. Another said, “Who am I going to be silly with now. I am going to be so bored”. Another said, “I’m so depressed you are leaving”. And another said, “who am I going to get my book recommendations from”. They said again and again how sad it was to lose good people. I was like wow these people really do like me and value me. They are really going to miss me.

Then it dawned on me, here I had spent the last 3-4 years so focused on the couple people who hated me, that I had not fully enjoyed and valued the people who valued me. I felt like a complete fool. I was so defensive, angry, bitter and spent so much of my time in get them before they get me mode, I allowed myself to lose sight of the people who loved me. I cried because despite the hell I had been through at that job, there was a lot of good over the years. I have memories and laughs that I will carry with me the rest of my life. I was so mad at myself for letting a few haters make me lose sight of what really matters in life; those who love you and value you. The rest just doesn’t matter. Haters and enemies are inconsequential in the grand scheme of the beauty and purpose that is ever present in life.

Leaving my job taught me one of the most valuable lessons that I will carry with me forever. As a recovering people pleaser, I tend to shift my focus and energy on the people who don’t like me, talk bad about me, want to see me fail, and try to destroy my character and name. I have always had the stance that I have to prove people wrong. Now I realize that they don’t matter, and I have nothing to prove.

My focus and my energy should be completely devoted to those who love me, care for me, support me, cheer me on from the sidelines, cry when I cry, mourn when I mourn and pick me up when I fall. That is all that matters and now, that is all that will ever matter to me. Some people who are reading this may think, “duh, you’re just now realizing this”. Um, yes. Yes, I am. Lol.

This is huge for me. I’ve always been crippled by the thoughts and opinions of others and now I finally feel free. Leaving my job has not only eased my anxiety and job-related stress, but I found some extra good in this goodbye. A lesson to only focus on who loves you. Don’t worry about those who don’t. Don’t put too much energy and time on your enemies. They will never be able to stop you. What is for you is always for you and it will find you. Everything that happens is for your highest and greatest good. People who present themselves as adversaries should be thanked for elevating you to higher states of being. Our energy should be devoted to those who know that they are blessed to have you in their life. Anyone who does not see you as the blessing you are and doesn’t understand that to lose you is an immeasurable and irreplaceable loss is irrelevant. This was the good I found in goodbye when I left my job. I move forward with new wisdom and strength, not wasting another minute or ounce of my energy on anyone who doesn’t value me.

Kathleen, “The Nutritional Truth Teller” is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, and a Certified Vaginal Steam Facilitator. She is the owner of Beauty In A Barbell Nutrition, whose sole mission is to optimize the physical, mental, and spiritual health of the Black community through African Holistic Health. She carries with her the ancestral knowledge and wisdom of the medicine men, women, healers and warriors she lovingly calls her ancestors.