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Natasha came to work with me in the midst of a should-I-stay-or-should-I-go situation, this one revolving around grad school and getting her doctorate. Ultimately, through much digging (soulful and otherwise), she decided to go. Here’s why she left, how she got to that decision, what she’s learned, and where she is now (two years later).
I worked with Michelle, I talked with my husband, I took a good hard look at my life and then I left graduate school.
Cue confetti and a marching band and a confident stride into my perfect new, better, shiny career, right?
Don’t I wish.
I left. And then I started looking. I leapt before I looked, just like we’re all always warned not to do.
Sometimes, that’s what you have to do. I didn’t have a plan two years ago, but I couldn’t let that stop me from leaving in part because I couldn’t see anything in that situation. I found myself in a perfect storm of long hours, worrying I wasn’t putting in enough hours, feeling like I was an imposter, feeling like I was so lucky to be where I was that I couldn’t leave and more. I couldn’t see a way out, but I also couldn’t fathom how to continue in the same direction.
I was lucky. My husband (then “just” my boyfriend) made enough money to support us both, and was willing to do so. We looked at the finances and decided it was worth the monetary hit to get me to a better space – even without knowing what that space was. I was also resistant, at first. It took me a very long time to see this as a lucky place to be and a sign of pretty deep love from the person most impacted by me, day to day.
Some of the (hard and good) lessons:
Sometimes, incredible stress and pressure can really mess with you. I didn’t realize for a very long time that many of my responses had as much to do with stress as they did with my own choices and focus. That chronic stress really invaded my system, tried to become a part of my bones, and really changed how I looked at things. I had to have faith in myself, had to eventually become comfortable with a lack of focus (obsession). I had to stick through it and let go of what stress I could (the probing questions from loved ones still get to me) and try on all the ideas.
I had to give myself the time and space to recalibrate and look inward and find me.
It feels great. Now I have the energy and space to give these ideas real consideration. I’m not just grabbing anything to try to answer the question, “And what do you do?” I’m (usually) not feeling terrible because I don’t have an answer yet. I will.
Now I know. Stick with letting yourself figure it out. Find, and use, your support network. That and some luck and a lot of perseverance, and you’ll find your path (or the path to your path) in time.
Natasha is figuring out where she’s going with a dash of questions and a dose of answers. She holds a couple biology degrees (B.Sc. and a M.Sc.) and finds that training coming to bear on any path she explores, especially as her interest in food blooms. She maintains MetaCookbook as a place to explore that delicious interest in all things food from cooking to growing to the politics of food to the communities food builds.
Glorious Guest Post, Kick in the Knickers, Meaningful Mindsets