I’ve come to believe that what’s really bound me to work is the cumulative strength of multiple projects holding me close to my employer. It’s not pseudo-blood ties as my soon-to-be-former-manager supposes. Project work is the real glue the job applies to my body and mind. I’m the kind of person who is naturally compelled to complete stuff, to see things through to the end.
So I think of each project as an individual claw. Taken alone, none of them are strong enough to keep me stuck. But the force of three or four of them together are sufficient; at that point I’m engaged, and cannot escape.
The problem is that the grip of the claw kind of hurts — the individual fingers pinch into your flesh as they clutch at you. So you want to finish whatever it is that project is in order to make it disengage. Once it disengages, you are granted momentary relief. You can rub your arm until the marks are gone. You can restore circulation to your limbs.
But when you’re working full time, before you know it, another claw will drop down into you, binding you tightly once more to your employer.
Something beautiful happened this week: Three of my four project claws are gone. Two I finished, and one had to be transferred to another person because it’s a deathmarch-style initiative and won’t be completed until, optimistically, mid-2016.
I’m very nearly free, and the final claw will come undone next week. I barely even feel sore anymore.
And here’s the part that’s particularly awesome:
New claws have been trying to drop down on me, to again tie me up and get me fully in the grasp of my employer. But they fail to take hold now that I’m quitting. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve received multiple emails from various project managers saying I need to get involved in such-and-such horrific thingamajig. Instead of responding, I simply forward these to my manager and ask him to reassign the work. That claw is going to have to grab another employee instead.
I’ve become a Vaseline-coated prize in one of those crane games that you see in arcades — elusive and completely untouchable.