sometimes it’s ok to be selfish. these are things i’m learning.

As I’ve got older, I’ve gotten much better at being selfish.
The past few months have super charged this revelation. I don’t mean the kind of selfish where I forget your birthday, or won’t help you move house, let’s not confuse me with being self-absorbed, rather the kind of selfish where if I’m not happy, if I know something isn’t good for my health (largely my mental health) and I have the power to change that? I’m going to.
So today I channelled my inner girl boss, stepped into my business pants and did some seriously brave adulting.

I know I have a flair for the dramatic.

I’m a writer, a creative soul and I can be a little apocalyptic in my thinking (largely I have anxiety to thank for the last one, but none the less).
I am however incredibly cautious when it comes to anything to do with money and until those horrible few weeks in the call centre, I’d never just quit a job without knowing I’d got something else lined up, or at least a hefty wodge of savings to keep me going.
But after weeks of feeling miserable and then finding out just how the reporting and assessment system for the kids worked I knew it was going to be my last week.

On Tuesday I got a call from a swim school on the North Shore about a Coordinator’s role.
On Wednesday I got a call from the gym behind my building about a Membership Consultant’s role.
On Thursday I got offered both jobs (pending meetings).
Slightly flustered with the prospect of ‘getting out’ I arrived at the pool having what I think was an asthma attack. I was scolded for being late, despite following what I thought was the procedure for those situations – as it turns out it depends who’s on, naturally it’s one rule for one and another for everyone else – and as I struggled to fill my lungs I felt the last flames of passion I had for this role fizzle out.
I was equal mixes of frustrated and anxious, but the prevailing thought was; it’s your last day, don’t worry about it, either way it’s your last day.

After agonising all night what to do about the job offers, and more importantly how to quit, I’d tried unsuccessfully between Zac, Mama G and Lewis to get someone to tell me it was ok to just call the boss and give my letter to someone else to hand him.
Even reading that back now, I’m cringing. I knew I had to do it in person.
I’d read Zac the letter I’d had to hand write. He told me he doesn’t normally interfere with me when it comes to words but, “Babe, you just ripped them a new one. What you’ve done there is vented and a resignation letter is not the place to do that. Whether or not you want an exit interview, I think you should write a new one.”
Furious, I went to bed: didn’t he understand?
I rang Lewis one more time and while he liked the letter, he was still going to make me talk to them face to face.
We would meet at 9:45 for some black courage and suitably caffeinated he’d hold my hand while I did it.

I woke up at 4am at peace with the world.

I was actually amazed I’d managed to sleep that long without waking myself up, worrying about what ifs.
I rehearsed a few different conversations in my head while I was lying in bed, and then realised that I needed to let the other swim school know I wasn’t going to see them.
After going through all manner of ridiculous scenarios and excuses, I opted for honesty (yeah, I know, an anxious brain is not a logical one). I told them I wasn’t going to be a permanent fixture for them and I didn’t want to leave them in the lurch again in 6 weeks time. There of course, was a chance I could give them 6 months, but I figured they wouldn’t be wanting to take that risk and so thought I could save wasting everyone’s time.
Honesty really is the best policy.

Then I reread the original letter I’d written.
As much as it pains me, Zac was right.
It’s not that it was a whiney letter. It was well written, everything in there was a fair representation of what I felt, the reasons I was leaving, but it was laced with bitterness.
At the end of the day, the money was shite, I didn’t agree with what I was being asked to teach and it was stressing me out. That’s as simple as it needed to be.
I was taking my work home and it was consuming me, I couldn’t switch off from the lessons and the children and the frustrations, and it was starting to drive me mad.
I got out my elephant themed writing paper and penned a new letter, a revised one. I planned to show both to Lewis and ask him which one he thought I should go with, but the longer I looked at the letters, the longer I realised it needed to be the new one. And I needed to do it alone.

I checked the time.
“By the time I get up there, perhaps he’ll already be in.
Fuck it. I’m going. I’m doing it. Go on, Bexx, you got this.”
As I was putting my shoes on I had a revelation.
“It wasn’t necessarily a bad swim school, I was just a really bad fit for it. It was a factory for competitive freestylers and backstrokers, that was all. And that was where the problem was for me.”
I go in to more depth here, but children need an all round education in the water. There is so much more to swimming than just doing it fast and most importantly, for the younger ones, especially, they need to be taught how to survive in water. There was no room for that here.
A late revelation, but an important one none the less, and as soon as I realised, all my frustrations suddenly made sense.

“i’m glad i’ve caught you before everyone else arrives, there’s something i need to say…”

As I arrived, I could see the bosses car. 9:15am, early. Good.
No one else from the LTS team was here yet.
I peeked in to the downstairs office, but couldn’t see him. I headed upstairs, but still couldn’t find him, two staff members helped me search, he was in the downstairs office. Feeling foolish, I was about to lose my nerve when I saw a pile of the reports on the chair next to him.
More certain than ever, I marched in, thrust an elephant and bumblebee clad peach envelope towards the boss and said the sentence I’d rehearsed the whole walk to the pool: “I don’t want to see out my probation. I’m giving the 3 working days notice as per the terms in my contract and Sunday will be my last day.”

He blinked, and smiled, and nodded as I talked.
An impassive, entirely unreadable facade that rather than put me at ease, put me more on edge. But as I stumbled over my words, and finally found what I was trying to say, I could sense his initial hostility retreat and as I felt like I was taking control of the situation, for the first time in weeks I felt a weight lift from my chest.

“Well, you’ve obviously given it a lot of careful consideration.” He held out his hand for me to shake. “I’m glad we could have a conversation about it before you left, but if you wanted to save money you’d never do it part time. Never.”

As I trembled out of the office and began the walk down the long drive back home, I rang Lewis.

“Babes, can we make it more like 10? I’m on my way back from the pool now, I’ve only fucking gone and done it, haven’t I?”


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