Somewhere in Moravia, Sometimes in 2016

After returning from the mission (yet regularly paid) with Doctors without Borders where I worked a couple of months as a procurement official in a refugee camp in Africa and after some weeks of needed rest, I thought, time to settle in my hometown.

How many times did you try to settle in your hometown?

I found a job as team leader procurement in one production affiliate of a US Company. I did quit in a trial period. Well, I guess it is better to call things off sooner rather than later when it does not match. I think it is fair for both sides.

There was an important moment that might otherwise got flushed down the drainage of my memory until I asked myself that question lately once more.

Should I quit my 9 – 5 job and just do what I like?

(Remember that song from Dolly Parton called 9 to 5?)

Coming back to my short-lived career in that US corporation: All my team members were so hungry for attention, for support, for their time to shine (that acknowledgment we all seek!). I was trying to give them all, though I already learned in Siemens and Doctors without Borders where I worked as team leader, that your own energy and sustainability come first. It is like with the oxygen masks in airplanes: first you, than anybody else.

By the time we had a Christmas party at one of my hometown’s music clubs, the one with the big stage for real bands, I already made up my mind that I will leave the company. Though, I did not yet tell my colleagues. I was waiting for the right time, for them, for me. I still did not have anything new, so I did not want to rush things.

Anyway, are there right times to call things quit?

Marek was another team leader in our procurement department. Similar age, married, 2 kids. We had that healthy challenging relationship at work. He and his team teasing me and my team. Our points of view challenging each other in a friendly manner. I used my fresh eye. He used his knowledge of the company as he worked there already for many years. Marek had that very direct, open and engaging style of communication, which can make one rise up the corporate ladder yet not too high as in higher levels, well, there are the pure players.

Do you like to play?

The atmosphere at the party was cheerful. Nothing too wild, nothing too staged. Bosses ordering bottles of champagne and drinking them with us; live music, relaxed clothes, and funny speeches.

Later on, I was talking to Marek. The champagne and the festive circumstances made us open a bit. Somehow, we revealed to each other we have those creative trials parallel to our job. We both took them quite seriously at that time. We both had them in very different spheres.

What is your artistic wannabe?

I said: I am thinking to quit and just be creative.

He reacted in the best possible way that put my feet on the ground though did not degrade my that-other-ambition: Oh no. Do not do that. It is good to be part of this all. To contribute and actually, get inspired by everyday life.

He was right!

When telling someone lately I am thinking to quit and do something I like, once more, my feet were put onto the ground as I heard: Do not fall into the trap of making your hobby your job.

A couple of months ago, I chatted with my mother’s neighbor, who by chance works in that company where I used to work. Every time he sees me he asks: Oh, you still did not marry Angela Merkle’s son over there in Germany? And I never have the heart to tell him that she has no children.

We chatted about our ex-colleagues. He said: You did not hear? When you left, the new female team leader came. She and Marek fell in love, left the company, left their spouses and just started a new life.

The chill run down my spine realizing what kind of pain and sorrow (Marek’s ex-wife and kids) and also excitement (those fresh starts) did I indirectly cause by leaving the company.

Let us never forget the butterfly effect of what we do or say on others.

Can you recall which lives you indirectly yet profoundly impacted?