This was said to me almost a year ago. Being the impulsive person I can be, I submitted my resignation after a (bleep) senior manager threatened redundancies at, my then, place of work.
Have you ever done something that was impulsive? This episode in my life highlighted to me that the rat race was no longer for me. A profession I had worked in for 13 years had diverted from my original idea of ‘making a difference’ to ‘making profit’, I knew it was time to make a change.
How did I know? That inner feeling that you feel when your values are challenged. The sense that all is not well. Now call it what you like. instinct, God consciousness, awareness, gut feeling, whatever. You know. And I knew.
I didn’t know the exact value that was challenged at that time, but I knew I wasn’t willing to play a part in the catastrophe that I could see happening. Fight or flight? I hung up my gloves.
‘Morals are good Becky, but they don’t pay the mortgage’ my manager said. She accepted that I wasn’t prepared to dance to the tune but she did make me see sense. I saw that being irresponsible, by acting on impulse, meant I wasn’t fulfilling my responsibilities and she gave me the gift of time to make a decision, rather than an impulsive reaction.
The grand gesture I made and the determination in which I handed in my notice soon melted and I agreed to stay until I found another job. Now don’t get me wrong, it was as much for the place that I worked as for me. I was an ‘outstanding tutor’ who had the ability to work with all types of students. I was, if I say so myself, outstanding.
However, I was tired. I was tired of fighting the behaviour when all I wanted to do was teach in the hope of making a difference. I was tired of being surrounded by paperwork when all I wanted to do was be with the students and listen whilst we drew/painted or designed. I was just tired.
In November, I eventually stopped fighting. I gave up and over a period of 3 months, I decided I could no longer be anyone’s puppet. I wasn’t prepared to dance to a tune I no longer enjoyed, so I decided to write my own.
It wasn’t easy. I first had to find out what my values were. Then I had to look at what would match these values and not conflict against them. On doing this I found the reason why I was discontented in the rat race. It went against my values. The main ones being honesty and kindness.
During the last few years I did not find the rat race to be an honest environment. Nothing was ever straight forward. Dishonesty and ego were hidden amongst abbreviations and jargon which was like a secret code I wasn’t privy to. Kindness was found in individuals who were few and far between and usually, such people, were highlighted as weak or were taken advantage of.
When did people lose sight of the qualities that are free? We weren’t born unkind or dishonest.
Today I surround myself with people who share the same values. I have challengers who make me think about things, but I no longer fight them. Today I have a choice in what I do. I pay the mortgage (just) by doing things I enjoy, by working where I want, when I want, with people who I want to work with. What a freedom that gift of time gave me.
I will be forever grateful to that manager, who is now a friend. Morals are good and I can pay the mortgage and be true to them.