“Two people have been living in you all of your life. One is the ego, garrulous, demanding, hysterical, and calculating; the other is the hidden spiritual being, whose still voice of wisdom you have only rarely heard or attended to.” ~ Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
Yesterday, I quit my dream job.
At least, what I thought was going to be my dream job.
It couldn’t have been more perfect for me—on paper, anyway. It was the title of my dreams, doing work that I love, for an organization that I admire and had been a huge fan of for years.
I knew a lot of people who were applying for the position, and they all would have been amazing in the role. But in the end, I was offered the position, and I was giddy.
It felt like the planets aligned in my career sector (is that a thing?) because it happened so quickly and effortlessly. Like it was meant to be. Destiny.
And I was so busy patting myself on the back for my powers of manifestation, and accepting everyone’s congratulations for snagging The Perfect Job, that I didn’t hear it…
That nagging little voice in the back of my head.
That bitch was back. But this time, I didn’t listen. You know what I did do? I slapped some duct tape over her mouth and told her to shut the hell up.
You know who I was listening to?
My. Big. Ass. Ego.
The one who marveled at the fact that they wanted me.
The one who couldn’t wait to do something as silly as changing her title on LinkedIn. Even though titles had never meant anything to her before.
The one who immediately put the sticker on her laptop, proudly proclaiming who she was working for now.
Now, she was somebody.
My ego was apparently hungry and she was being fed by external sources the likes of which she had never imagined.
That other voice? The nagging quiet one that I pretended I couldn’t hear above the din of my ego? I actually could hear her—I just didn’t want to.
I really, really, really didn’t want to.
She whispered to me that she wasn’t sure if they would be able to offer me the flexibility I needed to handle all of my kids’ activities long-term. There were other parents working for this small organization, but the most visible people to me were what I liked to call the Young & Hungries. Twentysomethings who have no responsibilities outside of work, except maybe a pet. I told her that they were bending over backward to give me all the flexibility and schedule control I needed—and to shut the hell up.
She was worried about my highly-sensitive nature and whether or not I could handle my new boss’ management style. But I just told her that he was five years younger than me, and I would simply repeat to myself that he was not the boss of me. Even though he definitely was.
That little voice also whispered that perhaps they wanted me to work on a project that I wasn’t really passionate about. I wanted to work on this thing over here. But I told her that I would be happy to work on that project if it meant getting to work for this company and be a part of their world-changing mission.
But that nagging little bitch-voice? She would not shut up.
And then she gave me a tummy ache.
And while I might be really good at ignoring a quiet, little whisper voice telling me things I didn’t want to hear, I could not ignore the knot that was forming in my stomach.
The body never lies.
I have learned to trust the messages that my body is sending me. And this message was clear.
The career coach in me knew what I had to do. And it broke my heart.
Because when we get those messages—the quiet whisper and the knot in our stomach—we need to listen. Those are the messages that do not lie. They are straight-up truth. Begging to be heard.
No matter how much we do not want to hear them.
Because dream jobs don’t come along every day. And when they do, of course you take them.
We would be stupid not to take a chance like that. Especially when it’s offered to you on a silver platter. That someone takes from you when you voice your concerns and polishes it until it turns to gold.
But you realize that no matter how sparkly and shiny it is, it still isn’t your platter.
We just didn’t fit together. No matter how much they wanted me to work for them. No matter how much I wanted to be a part of their team and their mission. We didn’t fit.
And not fitting this time is okay.
Sometimes the things that show up in our lives that look like they could be our happy ending are actually only a lesson in disguise—showing us that what we thought would be perfect for us actually isn’t. It’s just another signpost pointing us in the right direction, because we were so focused in the wrong direction.
This, for sure, is not my favorite life lesson. And I feel like I’ve gotten it more than once over the last few years.
Maybe this time I’ll really get it.
Meanwhile, I’m going to enjoy my new freedom. And not clean the hell out of my house every day like I did this morning. Or if I do, I’ll be sure and take a break like I did today and come sit at a café with my unicorn frappuccino and write for a little while.
And then I’ll take that duct tape off the small, quiet voice—and shut my ego up, instead.
Author: Christy Williams
Image: elephant archives
Editor: Travis May