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when colleagues make you reflect on your year...
sparkles
amw
Urgh, i had so much too write about this week and... well, i didn't. This is pretty much exactly the reason i can't keep going like this much longer. When i get home, i am exhausted. I don't want to do anything. I am not sure if it is depression or chronic fatigue or mild alcoholism, but once i'm out of the office it's all i can do to cook dinner before collapsing into bed to watch some TV or tumble into a wiki hole.

So, the big news of the week is that i "came out" to the rest of the company about my resignation. I talked privately with my most senior team member about transitioning the team lead role over to him. He felt ready to do it, given the transition period, and when i talked to the other guys they felt okay with it too. Hopefully it won't shake up their professional development or our team's output too much. What it did do, and this surprised me, was basically trash everyone's morale for a few days. And not just on my own team. I know i do a good job and people in the office like me, but one colleague shared that she cried when she got home, and a lot of the guys were pretty misty-eyed on the day (as was i). It seems ridiculous given i've only been here about 18 months, but i guess it's a small company and everyone knows i give everything i have to it when i am in the office. So... yeah. Happy-sad.

What was interesting was trying to explain my reasoning. My on-the-record reason was that 2016 was very tough for me personally and i needed to take some time away to try find myself again. I mean, that's basically true, but why was it so tough? Losing David Bowie was probably the most impactful celebrity death of my life since Frankie Knuckles. Brexit completely shattered my (admittedly fragile) sense of cultural identity as a European. For most of the summer my neighborhood was patrolled by riot police due to a local politician flexing his muscles at the punks, anarchists and (ex-)squatters that make this community what it is. And, dear God, the results of the American election has left many of my close friends despondent and in in legitimate fear for their wellbeing. But it wasn't all bad.

Some cool things happened in 2016 too. I was promoted to team lead for the third time in as many jobs, and i know i did the job much better than i ever have before. I am learning how to be a great manager and how to really help my guys be the best they can be. That felt good. I decided to try eating vegan and - barring the challenge of eating out in small-town America - have been very successful. I love that i have been able to lower my carbon footprint just by changing my diet, and it's helped me realize how much great food i can cook that doesn't need refrigeration. (That's gone in my mental survival kit for the fantasy retirement where i full-time in an RV.) I started walking to work. At first because the subway was closed for a week, now it's mid-winter and i am still making the 45 minute trek each way. It's a glorious time free of internet and people and stuff, i just get to look up at the sky and wander. I quit smoking! I fucking quit smoking! I mean, i "sort of" quit a couple years ago when i switched to vaping, but now it's for realsies.

I was going to say i cut down on my drinking, but yeah, that didn't stick.

Anyway. Point is, i really did take a lot of positive steps last year. Sure, i didn't go out clubbing much, and i withdrew even further from my (local) friends, and i lost pretty much any interest in anything besides TV shows, cheap beer and politics... but it wasn't a bad year. I didn't end up in the hospital. I didn't break up with any loves of my life. I just got tired. I got tired and demotivated and realized it was time to change the scenery.

I don't know what's next. This year could be great, could be awful. Could be like last year. I just hope i come out of it a little less tired and a little more content.

So yeah, i guess my real reason for quitting ain't so much different from the on-the-record reason after all.

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Brexit has made a lot of people confused and angry.

Yeah, I can't imagine what it is like for people who are still living in the UK. I can say that it has shaken up ex-pats like me very, very badly.

My grandfather served in the British Council his whole life. My father served in the British Army. I was born in England. But I haven't lived in the UK since the 80s. Needless to say, I couldn't take part in the referendum. Living and working as a lifelong Brit and EU citizen in Germany, I feel like the rug has been torn out from underneath me. So do all of my ex-pat acquaintances. It's such an odd feeling.

I think it will all work out in the end, but it has been very disillusioning to realize that there is a part of the country that was so angry that they willfully decided to destroy millions of ex-pats' lives - both continental citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living on the continent. Perhaps I am just so privileged I can't understand their anger? I dunno. I think anything that brings diverse people together (i.e. open borders) can't be bad. Different values, I guess :(

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