First, the shock and awe. This is your defining moment, this is where you took the bull by the horns and exhibited breath-taking courage. People will shake your hand. People will hug your body. People will come up to you wide-eyed and bewildered, ‘You’re leaving?’. Some of them in a more subtle manner, but in the frequency of their voice is a quaver, a small crack, betraying the calm demeanor they show.
Your resignation has more to do about themselves than you. They are shocked you are leaving, Has time really been that fast? What were they doing the whole time you’ve been plotting and scheming? Surely, they had the same problems, qualms, frustrations. You shared drinks with them discussing how the system tasted like broken glass in your mouth you’re all trying to swallow. They all agreed, and cheered each other with another bucket of beer. We’ll find a way out, they promised, through resignation, transfer, promotion. Soon.
Another year has passed, and it was the same faces, the same beer, the same problems. Nothing has changed.
And then you, quietly executing a plan that made you different, one that made you lesser oblivious to the anesthetic the system has you in a cycle of euphoria and depression. You have changed the workplace ecosystem.
What trap they can not escape, you have. And forget about them wondering how, and where you are going, and what you are about to do.
They aren’t exactly concerned about your well-being, not entirely no.
They are suddenly aware of what they haven’t done, what they aren’t doing, and what the hell are they supposed to do. At the lowest of it all, some of them would feel a fraction of envy, finding themselves hoping you regret what you just did, to confirm that staying where they are at, like what they do, is the intellectual thing to do.
And then comes the best behavior. You’d be surprised at your new workplace superpower during the time you render service. The rules no longer apply to you as much. You can waltz around and prance like a ballerina. The pressure lessening, you start to think, was this really a good idea? The work was not half-bad. Why are you leaving? But don’t hum and tap your ballpen to the tune of the latest billboard top hit yet. What you’re building from this point is not temporary relief. It isn’t for a nice smooth day at work, but a more balanced rest of your life. When you commute your way back home and sweat down to every unmentionable place in your body catching that 6 o’clock MRT train, swallowing a mouthful of black polluted air from jeepneys, or praying to The Lord Above for some Father, send me a cab because Uber surge will amount to my whole day’s worth of work today, remember what it is that you are giving up.
You don’t pay things with money. You pay them with your life. Your minutes, your hours, your limited invisible currency that ticks everyday you can no longer take back. It starts early in the morning, and ends late at night when you come home and dinner was already cold, and your family fast asleep. You pay with these moments, and they can’t be taken back.
The ripples of your action will affect those who are at the same predicament. It will spark action from an otherwise calm sea. They will start to plan, to paddle, to think harder than before.
The next would be the appreciation. You’re going to get this, there’s going to be some food, and people are going to take some pictures. They will have the decency to say they will miss you. Your boss would express how much it was a shame for you to go. For a moment, you realize the acceptance you are going to miss.
But inasmuchas a month, I would tell you this: Life went on.
The people who worked there for 10 years aren’t even mentioned at all anymore. You are never as irreplaceable, nor are you a black hole of space sucking up, creating emptiness in the hearts of the management.
What life you gave up for the company’s growth will be thanked for, in passing. But in a month, you will be forgotten. Replaced, even, in as early as a week.
The time you could have spent elsewhere that made you happy– on stupid things like calligraphy maybe, or helping your niece learn the alphabets, the dinners, the gatherings, another ‘I’m sorry OT ako, habol nalang ako’. Those, however, can never be taken back. All the things in life you’ve missed.
But now, you don’t have to miss them anymore.