Why giving up your task could be your best career move ever! A week after leaving the publication I’d edited for two years, I used to be phoned by a former colleague bringing what she sensed certain was wonderful news. The very best job on the well-respected name was vacant – I should apply, she insisted.
‘It’s perfect for you,’ she said. I hesitated, then accepted I’d been contacted already. I told her that I wouldn’t be choosing that editorship, or any other. There is a stunned silence on the other end of the telephone. ‘But you can’t just give up,’ she argued. I’d been in magazines all my working life and had relished the creativeness always, buzz and innovation.
Over the years I’d been promoted, edited a clutch of game titles, and loved the rewards. Just a few months previously, I’d been shortlisted for an esteemed award. But having celebrated my 50th birthday just, something in me had transformed. I wasn’t only exhausted and disillusioned: I sensed permanently pressured and artistically squeezed dry.
It wasn’t just that particular job. It had been my whole career as an editor, that I found myself questioning. It shocked me to understand that, quite simply, I didn’t wish to accomplish it any longer. Abandoning my hard-won achievements demonstrated definately not easy Yet. In today’s competitive, fast-paced society, we’re conditioned to believe that people who give up have somehow failed.
Onwards and upwards will be the only permissible options. The question is, why? It’s not as if it was easy for women of my generation to realize our ambitions. We, 40, and 50-somethings required the beliefs and dreams laid down by the feminists of the 1970s into the work environment and fought hard for acknowledgement, promotion, and equivalent pay. We now have accepted that people were kidding ourselves to think we could own it all.
That’s never heading to happen while working women still do most of the childcare, organizing and housework. Although some applauded her decision, she also attracted howls of protest from others who accused her of letting down the so-called ‘sisterhood’. ‘It requires a lot of strength and courage to leave from a recognized career and the position it brings,’ says psychologist Sue Firth. She believes we are much more aware that we have options about the true way we live and work today and feel more empowered to make changes.