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Unbearable privilege

I gave my notice to my department head today.

I don’t have a job lined up. I’m actually about to go on vacation for 2.5 weeks, but I basically told her that the job stress has become too much and it’s affecting my mental health, so it was time for the company to replace me. My thoughts are that they’ll have a few weeks to get the approval request up and down the organization chain, and when they have a candidate I’ll stay on as long as I can to help train her/him (within reason). If I don’t have a job lined up at that point, they can lay me off with no objection on my side.

I’m not lying: this job is affecting my mental health. I’m so tired of all the stuff they expect my team to accomplish without wanting to add staff or have other departments help. There have been nights where I’m not sleeping, and nights where I’m crying for no particular reason, other than the constant stress. My manager told me today that corporate is after her to let one of our temp workers go, which would only exacerbate everything even more. I already have days where I feel completely shattered and don’t know where to begin to put everything together; I can’t imagine going through another year like last year all over again. This company used to be such a great place to work. For three years I thought I’d never want to leave. However, the finalization of the corporate takeover has just made everything go downhill so fast.  


The guilt comes from the fact that I’m not the only one who feels this way. My manager started crying* when I told her this, because she’s been going through the same thing, and her doctor has been recommending antidepressants and time off work. One of the women who reports to me confessed to me this morning that she was crying in bed this morning for a few minutes while thinking about coming into work. The atmosphere everywhere is so toxic, but I’m the only one who is financially in the position where I can quit without another job lined up. I’m the only one without kids that I’m responsible for. I’m the only one who’s in a relationship with an amazing person who supports me in this AND makes enough that we’ll be able to cover a time where I’m not working (worst case scenario). I’m the only one who doesn’t have to just suck it up.

The worst part is that my leaving is going to make things that much harder for the people who report to me along with my manager. I hope that my leaving acts as a catalyst and makes the upper management team realize that change is needed, but their hands are tied by corporate as well. They already wanted to lose a head count; they may just decide that my position will be as easy a loss to the company as the temporary contract worker. If that’s the case, I don’t know how the women in my department will handle it. I’m trying to make it as easy as possible on them by giving extended notice, but there’s a good chance that at some point I’m just going to have to leave them to the mess that the company has become.

*This may sound unprofessional, but a) we’ve always been closer and more honest than most people in a manager/employee relationship, b) it’s a sign of how stressed and tired she is as well, and c) she’s been going through some serious family stuff as well, which is just one more reason I feel so guilty about leaving.

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