Career Dance Moves

It's National Tap Dancing Day tomorrow, folks, so get your tap shoes out and tap around the kitchen!  Scuff up that floor !  You know, sometimes, real life calls for tap dancing of a metaphorical kind , and our friend Amanda knows just what I mean . . . 

I sat across from the CEO. Because it’s such a small company, I got to know him on a personal level, not just smiling in passing like many corporations. I had only just given my resignation a few days ago, but it still hadn’t hit me that I was leaving my very first “big girl” job to change fields completely.

I squirmed when I told my immediate boss because he had become a friend.  He is someone I strive to be like when I someday have people working for me. Even through mistakes and frustrations, along with being fresh out of college, he was patient, kind, and respectful. Why did I want to leave this?

But as I sat staring into the face of the CEO, I remembered. Twenty questions turned into thirty,  even more, yet I held my own. Shuffling around the tough questions as to who pushed me to make this choice, not necessarily why.

I felt like I was putting on a performance, with a strained smile, I tap danced around his questions, his power, his intelligence, and his genuine interest.

It wasn’t just one person though that caused me to seek a new workplace; a pile of reasons had grown, most of which I chose not to share.  When the nightmares began about work and I cried more often than not, I knew I needed to move on.

I didn’t share this though. I sidestepped him as he questioned my motives for leaving, as he offered more money, a new role, anything to keep me. But as hard as it was, I held firm. This place had become a second home, a family of sorts. Yet I couldn’t wait to escape his office.

“You’re not going to change your mind, are you?” he asked.

“Nope,” I replied smugly. I don’t remember how the conversation ended exactly, but tears pricked my eyes. I strode down the long familiar, open hall to a co-worker’s office, a safe place. I closed the door to her office, sat down, and sobbed. Not just little tears, but giant real tears, gasping for air.

She smiled. She reassured me I was doing the right thing and was proud of me for holding my own. She, like me, is wise beyond her years, being a breast cancer survivor in her mid-thirties with a loving family, husband, and two beautiful girls. The conversation with the CEO felt even more difficult than giving my resignation.

With the last few tears, I found a smile on my face. Her comfort and expressed pride in me reminded me that those that had a strong influence on me and supported me would still be my friends after making this career move. It’s not easy handling the aftermath of a big decision or facing someone with perceived power, but it’s those that truly care about us we can come back to, even if that day felt more like an act in a Broadway show than a typical work day.

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