I Was Ready To Quit My Job And End My Career But My Dad Said Just One Thing That Changed My Life

Syed Hasnain Haider Syed Hasnain Haider in Let's Face It on 20 April, 2017

A few months ago I was in a situation where I barely managed to sleep. Work was the only thing on my mind and I was chasing deadlines everyday. I was skipping breakfast and rushing to office and once I did reach office, there was literally no time for anything else. I was ignoring phone calls, skipping lunch and at times didn't even get up to drink water (needless to say I didn't get up to pee).

There was no difference between weekends and workdays and everyday I was being drained out bit by bit. I had fallen sick and was still working from home and there came a time when I broke down. I woke up on a Monday morning, feeling exhausted, feeling I couldn't take it anymore. There was a storm in my head that refused to calm down and I started having second thoughts about going to office while I was getting ready to start the day.

I called in sick, informed my manager that I will be taking off for the rest of the week and reserved a seat to travel to my hometown the very evening. I went home - everyone asked how I was and how long I would be staying. I didn't have answers to either of the questions. I didn't have a plan. The only thing on my mind was to put down papers and never go back.

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I felt like I could not go back to work, any work. I spoke with friends about quitting my job and sitting at home for a few days and then maybe take up a less stressful job. I was confused but fearless even after putting my job at stake. What's more confusing? People. They give you all sorts of advices - from starting a business to taking a long career break - that didn't help. Something didn't feel right.

I went to see a psychiatrist - took medications, which only made the situation worse. It took the worry away just like a painkiller takes away the pain instead of acting upon the root cause. I was becoming more and more careless and was least bothered about getting fired, ending my career, screwing up my life etc.

2 and a half weeks passed and I kept on extending my 'vacation' by citing health issues - mental instability to be precise. I was sitting alone, lost in an eternal melancholy when my dad came and sat next to me. As I was about to put an end to the melancholy by popping up an antidepressant, my dad asked me to wait for a while. I asked him how he managed to smoothly pull off a perfect work-life balance and be a perfect husband and dad.

He smiled and said, "the balance was never there to begin with." He did struggle a lot of times to cater to our needs along with maintaining a good track record at work. Also managing the times of financial crisis (which I seldom faced after starting to work being responsible only for myself). I asked, "After all this what made you keep going".

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He replied, "When I came back from work, seeing my kids smile was the biggest motivation in my life. And I know that my family's happiness is dependent on my work. So not even once did I think about quitting." It was so obvious - the answer was so simple and God knows why I entangled myself in all the complexity.

That whole night I could not sleep (perhaps, quitting antidepressants was a good move). I thought about the struggle I went through to get my first job after college. I was on cloud number nine, my parents were so proud. My dad distributed sweets at work (which I got to know about recently). I thought about the good times at work, the fun activities we used to do.

I made up my mind to go back to work.

Now was the most difficult part, going back to face people at work who think you're a lunatic who just ran away one fine morning. Some would think you are too naive to handle little pressure. Manager would be annoyed and there would be a hell lot of backlog to clear.

Finally, I went back to work and the atmosphere was surprising. No, they didn't think I was a lunatic or a cry baby. There were no whispers, no murmurs. People in my team were glad to see me (an extra hand to clear the backlog). Others thought I went on a long vacation - to Hawaii maybe and asked if I enjoyed the trip. The remaining didn't know/didn't care.

Maybe they just thought they had seen me before. That was comforting. 
Author's Note:

So, wrapping it up quickly - yes, I still work like a dog, skip peeing at times, stay late night working on last-minute-urgent-deliverables every other day, b**** about it - but do I feel like quitting? NEVER. Signing off, hoping this little piece of writing would help you make a move if you're in the same boat.