I work in IT, and have been doing so now for two decades. For the last few years, my role has become more and more managerial and consequently, less and less technical. This change didn’t play to my strengths. I found myself stressed and unhappy, in charge of a lot and in control of very little. Some people are suited to this sort of a job and do well in it, but over time I felt like I was drowning in my responsibilities.
It’s hard to request a change of stream when one is seemingly doing well in their current stream. Especially if the request is for going to back to how things were five or six years ago, where ‘ago’ is seen to be the same as backwards. So, I put off that conversation again and again, and just tried to make things work as best as I could.
Things came to a head earlier this year, and I faced the unhappy truth that success and happiness don’t seem tied together in what I was doing. My manager, who is also a good friend, heard me out fully and gave me a way out. A few conversations later, I’d set into motion plans that took me out of managing most of a group to being an individual contributor again.
I took two months off before the transition. At the time, I felt my health, temper, concentration, attitude and drive were all lacking. I had planned to use that time to relax, travel and study. Then came Covid. Travel was out of the window, but it only meant I had more time for the other two.
In the beginning, neither relaxation nor study came easily. Too wired up for one, too distractible for the other. Over time, I settled into a rhythm that allowed a few hours of focused study a day. Every few days, I had a couple of days of doing nothing. This served me well. Progress was tangible, and at the same time, I could also feel my mood and health lift. I added meditation towards the end of the break, and for the first time, I found it was within my ken.
I’m writing this after I’ve rejoined in my new role. I find I’m less jittery, less angry, more patient, more focused, more positive. Apparently, it shows on my face when I’m video-chatting with friends who’re seeing me after these two months. I can’t remember how long ago it was that I felt this way.
I’m writing this post for two reasons:
- If there’s anybody in a similar situation, to tell you that you owe it to yourself to recover, recuperate and reboot yourself. It takes very little time to do so in the grand scheme of things, but can make you feel years younger and like a different, better person.
- To have a record to remind myself of this truth if I ever find myself in a similar situation again
Image Courtesy Cris Saur on Unsplash