On Friday I left my job. Well, to be precise I was “let go”.
Last summer I promised going into this role I would keep my distance mentally and just do what the job - creative and development director - needed, not put ‘myself’ into it. But the last few weeks I have and did. I started to impart more of myself into the place, in an attempt to “make it even better”.
I had recently taken on more responsibilities. I felt bitter I had taken them on, assuming them by default because I was the last person in the room after the others had passed at taking them on, the last person in the queue, despite making it clear “I can’t, I’ve put so much into getting the digital studio to a point we can really kick on now”. But eventually the lack of action, the silence was broken by me saying “I’ll do it”.
(I need to stop doing that. One day I will learn.)
Because of those other responsibilities - to make them happen, to make it worth it - the past few weeks I have got up at five most mornings, put in a couple of hours before work, got ready/had brekkie/walked the dog/drove to work, then did the day shift, and then clocked on again at night for another couple hours after the kids were in bed.
I thought a few weeks’ push, a big push on top of the great work starting to coming out of the digital studio would mean the guys and gals I worked with would have some guidelines laid down, so there was a recognised way of getting work through, to stop loads of dicking around and so my colleagues could concentrate on getting on with the work, doing the best work possible. Pain for a few weeks for, you know, the greater good.
So, on Friday, after eight months of being the creative and development director, after two weeks of doing these other things as well, I was let go. And it hurt like hell.
Let go after putting in another tiring shift to progress things and to create a shared understood process for working across the whole agency.
Let go after being told I had done amazing work.
Let go after having a meeting an hour before where I openly expressed the agreed opinion the agency’s digital output had “turned a corner” and people were working together in an integrated and collaborative manner.
The end was surprising, sure. I felt a little used. I felt very tired. But I felt relieved.
A couple of days on I know I am not going into work to do something others should have taken responsiblity to sort. I am upset I won’t get the chance to enjoy the fruits of the past eight months, getting stuck into some proper work which I was brought in to do, which I had only had the chance to do - ironically - the past fortnight.
Last thing on Friday, before the “let go” meeting I was actually looking forward to the next week of work for the first time in a few months.
But I won’t be going in tomorrow, to enjoy the fruits of my labour. I’ll be… doing something else.
I leave behind a digital studio that is in really good shape, that has some clear structure throughout, has some fun folk knowing what they should and can do, and is working well with the other ‘departments’ of the agency. There’s some really good work bubbling under. It genuinely excites me knowing what those guys will get to work on that as well, having worked (coerced, whatever) with the account managers to get projects and accounts to a place that excites me, that makes me think this is stuff that people want to work on.
But it won’t be me doing it.
Next? I don’t know what I am doing next. I am probably going to do my own thing, whatever that is. Try working in a few places as a freelancer, see the working world, maybe try to escape the Leeds agency scene but definitely get into an environment I have craved for the past five, past six years. Find that ‘start up’ environment, of a smaller group of nimble, excited, talented people who can organically work together. Maybe it is in Leeds. Maybe it is elsewhere. Maybe it doesn’t exist. Maybe set it up. Maybe if it doesn’t exist maybe stop chasing the dream. Maybe, maybe.
But it’s all a bit too soon and sudden.
I’ll worry about that tomorrow, think about it on the morning dog walk. The unknown. The uncertainty. With a family and all the trimmings that brings that’s scary. But, y’know, that’s also kinda exciting.
Update: I’ve followed this post up with another about next.