It was June 2017, the exact date is escaping my mind. I was standing behind some mabati shanties where they sell mitumba clothes off Achieng Oneko road in Kisumu. I had just devoured a whole tilapia fish and ugali for 200 bob and I was feeling like a true son of the soil.
I chucked my huge techno C 8 phone and skimmed through my contact list. I had told my parents about the dilemma I was in about my job and the radical decision I was about to make. As all parents would do, they gave me a look of disapproval. I had talked to my friends who had encouraged me to quit but I couldn’t just make the decision.
So I badly wanted to talk to a man who had been where I was and had done what I was about to do. I called Oyunga Pala who had been introduced to me by Biko Zulu just a few months before. We spoke at length and he just listened. I told him how I was feeling about my job and the decision I was about to make.
In his prime as a writer, Oyunga was the embodiment of masculinity. He had a proper motorbike way before the loud nduthis filled this city. He would go for long meditation trips in Asia. But one day, he took an audacious move(Read the rest here)
My soul was tired. My spirit crushed and my life was dryer than a desert bone. I did not want to come back to the city to continue with the job I was doing. I just wanted to stay home for three months, reconfigure my life and then come back to pursue what sets my soul on fire.
After I got off the phone, I went home with a resolution to type a resignation letter and hand it in when I came back to the city. I did type the letter only that when I arrived back to work, the audacity I had built to resign evaporated quick and fast. I came and gelled in the most dysfunctional job I had lost interest in for almost two years now.
I came back and took my seat within the conveying belt of the rat race. I faithfully started to peddle just to continue being in the struggle and I hated it. Every day was a battle; just waking up was like a miracle. I had to drag myself out of bed and the days I didn’t manage to go to work were the best. I was more creative, joyful and very focused. I was very productive even in my writing when I was not at work.
My job had no problem at all, I need to clarify that. My employer opened massive doors due to the liberal culture of the organization I was working for. The problem was that I did not feel like my role in the organization was in line with my purpose. More on that later.
But because of loans and family obligations, I held on for long even though everybody who matters in my life told me that the job was toxic to my health. I was always whining and almost drowning in the sea of negativity. For a man who had been strong emotionally having painstakingly built strong optimism structures, always looking at the brighter side of matters, I became a pessimist.
Anger boiled in my heart and small challenges would throw me off in an endless wave of depression. Coming back on my feet was as hard as stopping a calf that had just seen the mother after a long day.
I stared into the abyss of depression on several occasions but God’s mercies held me back. I became afraid to speak in company meetings. For a man who is opinionated like myself, that should have served as a clear indication that my time was over. When I saw the bosses, I felt hot molten lava of discomfort rising in my spine. All the signs that I was meant to let go were as clear as the brightness of the sun but I still held on, even if I was bleeding I held on.
I robbed my employer in the process because my heart was not there. The job became just another routine and I felt like I was carrying a heavy cross on my back. My attitude was stinking because my heart didn’t inspire my work. I gave a dismal performance and focused on doing other things.
There were days I couldn’t pen anything. The well of my words had been emptied by the battles I fought every day.
On the second week of February, I was overwhelmed with fear and doubt about my job. I rushed to Mamlaka chapel and poured my heart to God. The message was clear; “You keep focusing on the mountains that surround you yet you easily forget that before me they melt like wax?”
I felt like God was challenging me to trust him more. In my spirit, I heard him say that impossible situations I find myself are issues he can resolve in a minute.
“Be still and know that I am God,” he said. Three weeks later, through what others have told me were not normal circumstances, the job came to an end.
Immediately, a gush of joy sprang forth from my heart. I felt like a baby that had just been delivered fresh from the womb. A heavy load had been taken off and for the first time in a long while, I slept like a baby and woke up with a heart that was at peace.
But how many of us are holding on to jobs that no longer serve our interests simply because we have to put food on the table? How many of us are hurting but we have to endure even though the small still voice tells you that you ought to let go?
Because we have been conditioned that we must be employed as the only way to put food on the table. Many of us whine and complain, adding to the toxicity of the corporate world simply because we are too afraid to let go. Yet if we did, the doors that would be swung open would make the previous one to look like a child’s play.
I hurt myself by holding on than by letting go on time. My confidence was shaken; thoughts of inadequacy filled my mind. I began to ask myself whether I was meant for the corporate world or not because it was proving to be difficult to find satisfaction in the job.
I really don’t know what the future holds but I know who holds it. Since I let go, I have found a deeper peace that I ask myself why I held on for so long.