Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What you learn from colleagues left behind

I chatted with an ex-colleague over IM today. Though she is, like so many exes of our personal lives, not someone with whom I have regular correspondence, she's also a rare touchpoint into an old life; a portal into what could've been, had I stayed.

After the typical chitchat covering respective travel and significant others, I finally got around to asking: "how's the bank?"

She got me up to date on the recent hirings and firings; who got promoted and who up and left.

And then she admitted what I had no idea she felt:
"I want to leave," she confessed, "but I feel stuck."

My heart fell - because up until that point, I thought she liked the gig.

I pointed out to her that few people are as stuck as they feel, and that the perfect job is out there for her. "Believe me when I tell you, it doesn't have to be this way."

She came back with the obvious reasons against it: a comfortable salary and weeks of upcoming planned vacation.
"If I keep my head down and ignore most of it," she explained, "I can coast by for now... until I can figure it out."

After we talked about it, she ultimately signed off with, "welcome to my life."
I responded by reminding her, "I know. It was once mine too."

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