Those were the words said to me by the current Director of Sister Namibia as she was just starting out, and I was leaving.
She found me having planned to resign months in advance, having stayed on only because the board had asked me to help the transition from the leaving Director, to her. She’d gotten the story (read ‘lie’) I’d given the board for my leaving: I wanted to go back to school. A lie I’d told because it was almost the only way the board would have let me go.
She then tried to talk to me about how we could tailor my work schedule so that I’d still have enough time for my studies and I eventually admitted to her that I wasn’t really going back to school. A lot had happened that year(2013), a lot that had left me just feeling tired, and wanting to run away, from everything and everyone (perhaps by now you’ve noticed this is my modus operandi- when I’m tired, I run, where that energy to run comes from, is an entire story altogether, but running is easy).
She asked if perhaps I wanted to just take some time off, go on holiday, I said no, I was resigning. After days of trying to find a way to make me stay, because at the time, it really would have made life so much easier for her, one afternoon she came to my desk and said to me, “Mimi, I’ve been thinking about it and I really want you to stay, but you know what Sometimes a new season calls.”
That statement, that day, from that woman who hadn’t even supported it, had been the most insight and support I’d gotten on my decision to leave Sister Namibia.
Last week on a brief visit to Livingstone, Zambia, I found myself saying those words (and telling that story) to a young woman I’d barely known twenty-four hours. She and I are about to be related by marriage (not my own, someone I’m related to’s) and that’s how we were sent each other’s’ ways.
We met on a Wednesday evening, we got some food and drinks as we were getting to know each other, she told me she would soon be getting some time off work and she would be travelling. I saw her the next day, and she told me she had just handed in her resignation letter, that was where her time off work was coming from.
I asked her how long she’d been thinking about resigning, she said months, and the resignation letter shouldn’t have come as a shock to her manager as she’d given her months’ notice. I asked her why she was resigning; she said she was just tired. I said okay and left it. But that day had also been the day she told her mother and siblings that she had left her job and they’d all been calling her in concern, especially because she wasn’t leaving because she had another job offer or opportunity somewhere (something else I also know about only too well, but I also know this isn’t the “normal” thing to do). We were on a dusty street looking for a place to get cheap manis when I stopped her and asked, “Hey, does your family have reason to worry? How are you feeling?”
She then admitted to me that all day she had felt like crying, that she had been at the job two years and leaving it wasn’t easy, but she just felt it was the thing to do. She added, “But I don’t understand why these people are panicking. Have they never heard of someone leaving their job just because they were tired? My mother is already lining up potential employers for me!”
Mentally, I laughed to myself and thought, ‘they’ve never heard of me.’ Out loud, I told her about the Lagos job I quit in seven days, the Luanda one I quit in five, but just to show I had it in me to be at a job longer than a week, I told her, “Hey, sometimes a new season calls.” I went on to tell her about my Sister Namibia Director, we got our nails done then went to her home where we cooked, talked about love and life, she brought out two bottles of wine (woman after my heart) and we drank to new seasons.
Worth writing about is what to do (instead of quitting) when you’re feeling tired, how much our work environments need to change and maybe how sometimes (like in Luanda and Lagos) I’ve too quickly and impulsively turned my back on a new season. But for now, here’s to new seasons, may we heed their calls.