In January, we underwent a major life change. We had been part of a triad, and the triad split up; Pace and I stayed together, but our third partner left. Heartbreaking, but best for all of us, it was dramatic and life-changing.
Our third partner had been primarily responsible for the schooling of our son and the maintenance of our home. With her gone, I took on most of those responsibilities. Our son is unschooled (a free-form method of homeschooling), and as such, he’s home all day and needs guidance and attention.
In addition to my new responsibilities, I was the co-owner of a small, local staffing agency. My duties included recruitment, phone calls, emails, clients, and employees. Good work, but a lot; I was always busy. Once I took over the education of my son and the maintenance of our home, my stress level gradually rose higher and higher.
My business partner and I had a conversation in which she wanted me to take on some sales work. I protested mightily – not only am I not a sales person, I wasn’t happy about taking on additional responsibilities! After many intense conversations, I realized the core issue – if she had come to me then, in that time of stress and worry about all the new responsibilities I had taken on at the end of my relationship, and asked me to be her business partner, I would have turned her down. I would have said no.
Once I discovered that, the path became clear. It was time for me to step down, to turn the business over to her in full. It was time for me to get out.
It wasn’t about her or my relationship with her. It wasn’t about my relationship with the company. It was about my life being too full for me to function well in any of my roles, and the path I needed to take to make things better for all of us.
We finalized the sale of the company, she assumed full control, and I stepped down. I stepped into the role of full-time mother and educator more fully and with a clear mind, knowing I could focus on my son and help him through these hard times without having to push him away to focus on work. Freeing myself from the responsibility that I no longer wanted or could handle gave me the time and presence I needed to focus not only on my son, but also on my wife, my house, my cats, and, eventually, the Usual Error Project (and this blog).
The point of this? If you realize that something you’ve been doing or something that’s been going on for a while isn’t working anymore, ask yourself, “If I was presented with this now, would I accept?” If the answer is no, find a way out and get out. Take care of yourself, take care of the situation, and depart in a healthy manner, but do it – get out now!