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In August 2018, I decided to leave the company I was working. Between the decision and my last day at work, a lot happened, and I wrote this experience in another post here.

One of the things I didn't explore in the other text was that I worked January and February with everyone knowing I had already agreed to leave. I would work until sometime in March, but I had not signed anything yet, and I didn't know which day would be the last.

It was one of the most exciting experiences from a personal and professional point of view. A company with hundreds of employees in my building alone, and I know a good portion of them, had enabled several people to come to me to talk when they heard about my decision. Many of them being the first time we spoke. Each conversation was an engaging experience, with some similarities I bring here.

Man working in a desk where he can se the sunset through the window

You are acting this way because you're leaving

The certainty that I was leaving created an expectation of less commitment from my part in some people. Some of them already asked how it was like to be doing nothing. Others thought that I would get into discussions by saying all that I had in my mind as if I had not done so before. That would not try to solve any more complicated problem; after all, I would gain nothing from it.

The odd thing is that I started to try harder to contribute, trying to get them to change their minds or never think this in the first place. In the end, it didn't have much to do with me. People generally judge others based on what they would do in the same situation.

I also found it interesting to realize that behaviors that already existed in the past were bringing more attention. The kind of surveillance that was not common before. A Youtube visit, which always happened when I thought it was justified, was quickly pointed to as a lack of commitment.

I also realized that it was unwise to engage in any work that required criticism of something from my part. My critic could be dismissed as empty, because I would not be there to help with the solution or because now that I was not afraid of consequences, I was throwing everything out.

If I gave this impression at some point to you who are reading, I apologize.

For which company are you going to work now?

One of the most curious things I have come to realize is how much we assume about other people's lives based on our experience. We ask questions that already conclude other factors as truth.

The first question almost everyone asked me when they knew I had resigned was about another job I had gotten. When I said I didn't have a place to go, I often saw confusion in their eyes.

I was having fun with the situation, but I can't help but understand how more complicated it is to answer a question that assumes some other fact behind it. And the questions were about nothing personal. Imagine if it was.

Do you know when you ask a couple who have been trying for years and can't when they will have their first child? Just one example among thousands. Often these questions have answers that do not interest us so much, but it is the way we learn to start a conversation.

You must have a plan

Board with papers that seems to represent a plan

The second most spoken sentence, shortly after they discovered that I didn't have Plan B to earn a fixed income on my sleeve, was that I would have to have a plan. I always said that I planned to have free time to increase my chance to bump into a new opportunity luckily. I knew more what I didn't want than what I wanted.

Do you know what I find most interesting? I don't know anyone who told me that they are living the life they planned. No one seems to have a plan in action, but neither would accept that I was quitting without having a plan.

The majority plan is to keep working and make sure not to get fired. And far from being a criticism, because I think one should be able to choose how to live one's life. However, that kind of question made it clear to me that just keeping my job was never my plan.

The suspicious

My job was excellent, I had no motive to think that I could lose my position shortly, and my salary was above the market average for the same activity.

So, one of the most common cases, especially with people who didn't know me well, was that they didn't believe I was leaving without another job in sight. Add to this the fact that I am more reserved than average about my personal life and imagine the distrust generated around me.

This distrust generated hilarious situations. Because it was inconceivable that I was quitting, and hardly anyone would quit my job, people were open to believing anything closer to their universe.

I got to the point of seeing a colleague joking another that I would be changing state to take on an unplanned child. The mother lived in another city and demanded that I live there also. I accepted the conditions, so I had to quit my job. I even went further, saying that I had doubts that the child was mine. I was more afraid to find out that it wasn't.

The situation was comical, and my colleague who listened to the story swears he did not believe it back then, but it was clear how the pregnancy story seemed more plausible than the real story.

The too confident

Another group was formed by those who were sure why I was leaving the company. Do you know the questions that already assumes some facts? These people would make a lot of them.

Because they were dissatisfied with their situation, some colleagues swore that I was leaving for the same reason they would: dissatisfaction with the environment within the company, uncertainties, longing for the past, unfulfilled promises, monotony, endless and repeated problems, dissatisfaction with leadership, etc.

Often the conversation would take the following form: I heard you resigned. It makes sense. Things are very complicated because of any of the above reasons. Even before I answered, the confident one would make sure that he could use his time to explore his dissatisfaction. I learned so much about several of them. Many I had never talked to before.

In these cases, I made a point of saying that I liked the place I worked. I wasn't leaving because I thought the company was a terrible place. I always said that I had never woken up in the morning and regretted going to a place I didn't like to be. Most did not even register my point.

The procrastinators

A lot of clocks that represent the future

Bruno, I heard about your resignation. Nice! One day I will get there and do the same. I call this group procrastinators, but maybe dreamers are also a proper name. They always envision being somewhere else, but they are not working to make it happen. They seem to expect a falling from the sky opportunity.

Some even rehearse one activity or another that may generate an alternative path to their current job. This behavior usually does not last for many days. I fell that it is generated by some dissatisfaction with the current situation, which sometimes is not even directly related to the workplace or the activity executed. The dream generates the comfort of knowing that everything is temporary. Our mind is very efficient in trying to keep us stable in uncomfortable situations.

I would always joke that If you realize you have a dream and your routine remains the same, it will never be anything other than an idea. If you haven't done anything today to make it happen, it might not be such a significant dream. And I make fun of it because I'm good at doing that too.

The romantics

The romantic profile is one that has a particular fetish about quitting a job. These people seem lured by the supposed rebellion of saying bye to a position that others would not leave and the consequent possibilities. Since I had no idea of my future, this was the profile I liked to talk about the most. The talk energy was contagious.

Many have a dream to travel the world, to change careers completely, to spend a year enjoying their families, to go to a monastery, to do full-time volunteer work, to explore a childhood skill or else. Knowing that a colleague is resigning and having the possibility of executing any of these ideas made them feel almost in the same situation.

They wanted to know if I was considering doing what they would do if they were in my shoes. When I could identify with the same situation they were thrilled, they would shine in excitement. Almost as if they could live some of it with me. They gave me a lot of ideas. Awesome!

The resigned

The word resigned has a definition that is too heavy for this profile: those who endure evil without revolting. However, it is almost like that. Some people told me they were not dissatisfied but had no choice but to continue in their job.

The procrastinator is different from this profile because he has faith that he will go elsewhere. Make his destiny. The only hope for a resigned one is that the current situation will improve spontaneously. He is sure he has no way of getting a better option.

Another mechanism that we apply well in our lives to cope with hard times. Accepting that life can be different is admitting that all these years that we didn't do anything was our responsibility. It's not easy.

The concerned advisor

The concerned advisor was those who, regardless of whether or not they heard my motives, had the mission to make me give up. The current employment scenario in my country shows that there are a lot of people having difficulty getting a job. Deciding to drop out of one was confirming that I didn't have the judgment in the right place.

I call this group worried because I felt they had a special affection for me and were worried that I was making a decision based on a temporary emotion. They wanted me to wait a while because they knew I would change my mind. They tried to help me find another activity within the company so I could stay. They not only cared, but they knew they would miss me. Nice, isn't it?

The pretended concerned advisor

Man wearing some custom the seems funny

This group was harder to understand, but they also showed a great deal of effort to make me give up. However, I realized that they were talking to themselves and not to me.

This group was less open to hearing what I had to say. They probably were the resigned, or perhaps procrastinators, but not comfortable enough in telling me. Or they just denied the truth. By convincing me, they would do the same with themselves.

Trying to persuade me to stay was like an exercise for them to justify why they must accept the problems of their current job. They are dissatisfied and repeat the reasons why they do not quit. How extraordinary can people be, right?

I did before. I will do it again!

You may have noticed that in the text, I wrote a few times that people were judging me from their own experiences, right? The fact is that I probably identified the above situations because I've been the person on the other side many times and certainly will be there again.

I still find myself asking questions that assume a lot of things. There are things in my life that I'm probably sure that I can't change. All these conversations that I had helped me to improve a little. Write about them too. So, I hope that reading helps you a little also. Who knows?

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Bruno Barros