Sad, Happy

Design by Genis Carreras
I've never left a job.

I've never left a job that wasn't mutually predetermined (graduation/internship).

Correction on correction:
I've never left a job that wasn't mutually predetermined (graduation/internship), until now.


I knew it wouldn't be easy.

And I spent nearly every day the first week trying my damnedest not to cry as I was breaking the news to people. Needless to say, I was 2/8 on that front (sorry, I am human and female).

But it is one thing to leave a job with people you can't stand. And it is entirely another to leave a job with people you genuinely care about. And I genuinely care about the people I worked with.

4½ years is a long time to spend most of your waking hours in a place and *not* grow attached to the characters. Think about it...that's longer than high school. Some of these people have been much more than co-workers to me, and I tend to be picky about the company I keep.

Ergo, the title of this post. Sad, Happy.

For the past few weeks I feel like I've had a taste of what life would be like as a bipolar manic-depressive. Insane unexpected highs, interspersed with constricting sadness and the fear that maybe I had made the wrong decision. Every time I got an email from my new employer I felt my heart soar with the joy of new possibilities. But in the same day I would need to break the news to a different set of existing co-workers and that effort would send me crashing back down.


Maybe I have high amounts of empathy from my Iolani "One Team" days, but I hate the feeling that comes with exiting a situation where you are part of a team. It directly violates of one of my core principles - putting thyself before the good of the team. A team where people depend, rely, and (foolishly) look to you for leadership and stability in hard times. Mind you, this coming from the girl who wanted nothing to do with becoming a team lead a couple years ago. Yet, in retrospect, may have been one of the best things I reluctantly agreed to try.

Still, it's a little selfish to think this move is only about me growing up. Everyone on the team will need to step up. But I have no doubt the guys will handle it. It's like the start of a new sports season. Seniors move on and the existing undergrad must rally to find their role and fill the gaps. I experienced this first hand when Ryan S. transitioned off the project and left things in my hands those 2 years ago!


But I never stopped trying to be qualified for the position. Never stopped questioning whether the process could be better. Never stopped trying to serve the people on our team. Even though the project was crappy and certain aspects were out of my control, I always did my best to serve the interest of our techs, clients, and process. That was my why. My purpose. And how I managed to negotiate the drama, curveballs, and negativity. As Nietzsche says, "He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how."

In some respects my commitment to the cause was so strong that my decision to leave the company came as a huge surprise to practically everyone. I'm still unsure how to process the unequivocal shock at the announcement, but for the time being, I will take the many encouraging words and personal exchanges of gratitude and file them away for the days when I need a pick-me-up. It's just sad that most people wait until goodbye to say the words that mean the most.

Upon my final week at work I got so consumed with transitioning projects and crossing t's and dotting i's that I started to feel numb. Wake up, work, music, sleep. Rinse...repeat. And then it was Thursday night and I needed to write 16 thank you cards before sunrise. So I stayed up till 2am handwriting what I hoped would be clever, funny & sincere notes full of my favorite memories with my coworkers. In the end, I cried half a trash can full of kleenex, instagramed my finished product, and told myself it was just one more day.

Today was that last day. And to tell you the truth, most of it is a blur. Hugs, goodbyes, laughs, tight-lipped smiles, promises to keep in touch, and more than a couple unexpected and extremely sweet gestures. It was a great day, but a bittersweet one.

Yet it ended on a high note, gathered around a circle booth at Ryan's Grill with some of my favorite #benchies, celebrating each others successes (congrats to the Molina's and Anthony!) and laughing about inane things (as always). Which is probably the best reminder of all: That no matter how much you have suspended time for yourself, life goes on for everyone else. 

So right now I have to pretend to be Future Julie. And Future Julie is an older, wiser, calmer, and better version of myself. Future Julie is always the one who says, "I know you didn't want to do X, Y years ago, but it was probably one of the best things you ever reluctantly tried to do." She lives everyday by the following principles:

Try to grow your mindset.
Try to push yourself into the unknown.
Try as if there were no limits.

But as convincing as Future Julie is, it never hurts to have reinforcements. That's why I spent the last 2 weeks listening to this track everyday. They say different songs speak to you at difference times. If that's true, it been almost impossible not to feel as if these lyrics were written for me.

Dream on, little dreamer!
This is how it all begins

Move your feet
Feel how sweet it is
Dream on, little dreamer! 
Follow all your signs

You got to gather up what you need
You got to choose a direction
And when the moment is right for you 
You got to go
You got to keep your ideals high
You got to know that the sky belongs to no one
You know you got to go!

Keep on, little dreamer
keep hold of all that you are

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Meet the Author

Hi, I am Julie.
Sometimes Jules Juke.
This is where I ramble, reflect, and refocus.