“Why don’t you find a new job,” my husband suggested?

Something within me had changed after that layoff incident. I had lost my zeal for work. My life felt dry and drab. So, I took my husband’s suggestion.

I quit my job, traveled to India for a couple of weeks with my son, and danced my heart out at my cousin’s wedding. As soon as I returned home, I joined my new job. This time, it was a high-paying individual contributor role.

A few days into my new job, my ex-colleague and friend Liana called me. She sounded happy. My former company had accepted my proposal to make Liana my replacement.

Within a day or two, my ex-boss gave me a ring and invited me for lunch. They were still looking for a VP of Information Technology. He wanted to check if I had any inclination to return. That’s when I realized I had reached a point of no return. That career-ambitious person in me was dead and gone forever.  

That’s enough of serious stuff! We need some drama. Right? So, let me narrate my last couple of days at my new work. I quit my new job within a month of joining it.

Before accepting my individual contributor role, I had made all sorts of demands. Here are a few to give you an idea:

  • I will not work beyond 9 AM to 5 PM.
  • No phone calls or emails outside office hours.
  • I’ll work from home on Fridays. My cleaning lady comes in then.

In short, I had gotten into this Office Space movie mode. Strangely, the new company agreed to all my random demands. Then, the reality surfaced when I went to work. My direct boss had approved my terms, but his boss turned out to be a dictator! 

It was Friday, and I was working from home. The dictator called me into work immediately. I was mad because they were violating the terms discussed during my hiring. Still, I went to work and met with the dictator.

“You can’t work from home,” he declared.

“That’s pre-negotiated,” I replied.

“I didn’t approve it.”

“Sorry, but that’s not my mistake.”

“It’s difficult times. You won’t find another job,” he said in a slightly threatening voice.

That’s abuse, I thought but replied, “My ex-boss just called me. I’ll have a job tomorrow if I wish.”

“They don’t pay as much as we do,” he mellowed down a little.

“I’ll be the VP of Information Technology,” I said nonchalantly.

“Oh! Let me get back to you,” he said.

Returning to my desk, I started thinking about my next steps. Before I could make any decision, my direct boss called me in for a discussion. He desperately tried to convince me. He had made a mistake in approving my once-a-week work from home request.

“That’s the reason I took up this job,” I said.

“Maybe you can start coming in until I convince my boss,” he said.

“Sorry, but it was pre-negotiated. Anyway, let me think about it,” I said and walked out of his office.

For an hour, I sat down at my desk. I pondered upon all the options. Then, I went out for a walk and returned. Finally, I realized that I was done.

I gave my husband a call and said, “I’m resigning with immediate effect. And, I’m not looking for any more jobs.”

“Wow! What happened? Maybe we can talk tonight,” my husband suggested on the phone.

“Do you think we can manage with your income?”

“That’s not my worry. We’ve enough and we can adjust with whatever we have. All I care about is… Will you be happy?”

“I will be extremely happy.”

“Then… Quit it,” my supportive husband said. 

Even to this day, my husband makes fun of me, “Your work from home idea destroyed your career!”

“Blame it on the cleaning lady,” I reply.

Sometimes, we just need a push to let something go. In my case, the trigger was my work from home on Fridays. It was an easy request. If I had wished, I could’ve flexed my demand. But, in my mind, that phase of life was over. 

I bid goodbye to my work in September 2012. My interactions with Swami started in November 2012. Perhaps, nature had prepared me for the next chapter of my life!