when i first moved to nyc i worked a lot of hours. long hours. and while it was similar to the internship that led me to the city in the first place, the company had been through a lot of changes while i took that last year to finish my degree. a lot of people i had worked with over the summer left the company. we changed buildings. changed names. changed size. changed cultures. a few weeks after i started, i knew i was going to be miserable. i knew it wasn't what i had signed up for. but i was going to make the best of it.
almost a year into it, easter happened.
i went into work on the morning of holy thursday and left at noon on good friday.
i went into work at nine a.m. on saturday and left at 6 a.m. on easter sunday.
i went back at 9 a.m. on easter sunday and left at midnight.
it's the only easter i never went to mass. or saw a family member. or a friend. or a loved one.
i distinctly remember the moment when i knew i was done. it was 4 a.m. easter morning. i was in a conference room high above bryant park. across from me was a woman, missing her daughter's first easter. next to me was my analyst, who had been working longer hours than everyone. on the phone was another woman, who's family came into town on thursday from the czech republic. she still hadn't seen them. our bosses sat down to dinner with their families and went to church and couldn't care less. sure, they answered e-mails and looked at drafts and dialed into conference calls, but their clueless nature spoke volumes.
it's not even like i made up my mind. the choice was beyond clear. it was just a fact.
this is not life.
this is not my future.
this is not a company that deserves my time.
my career will not be here.
i. am. done.
i was scared and, clearly, exhausted. the task of finding a new job - going on interviews, faking smiles, staying energetic, giving firm handshakes - seemed more than i could handle. but sometimes, the way our life goes is our choice. sometimes it's clear. sometimes it's not. sometimes it's an easy choice to make, sometimes it's hard. but we must remind ourselves sometimes - we have a choice.
every easter that's come since then, i think of that weekend. my easters' are never too cold and the travel is never too far and company is never boring. because i remember what i could be doing. and i want to cherish the life i have now. as simple or as mundane or as regular as my easter may seem, i know it's not. i know, as my train makes it way back into the city, passing skyscraper after skyscraper, someone is up there, working away, wishing for the simple and the mundane and the regular. thinking about their choices.
when i quit a month later, i remember one of my bosses' telling me,
"can you believe it? after all the work you did to get here. all the time you invested. and just like that, in one day, you're done."
i faintly smiled and said
"i know. and thank god for that."
and then i walked out of her office, free and happy and moving on to a life i could be proud of.
i think it was the right choice.