Isn't it amazing how some folk will try to make you feel SO guilty for opting to get a move on in life and resign? I'm facing it from a few folk as I end off the last 2 weeks of this job. The fact that I've up and gone after 11 YEARS here seems to imply I'm deserting the ship. That I'm letting the side down. And that (in spite of a salary I can no longer survive on) I should rather just suck it up and stick around until I retire - I'm simply creating way too much hassle for everyone else by leaving.

Thing is this - I'm not going to let it get to me. I've made a choice, a decision - and only now is it becoming apparent how much work I do here. I've actually drawn up a huge manual of everything I do, and exactly how to do it - to help whomever they replace (or not) me with. I've done everything I can to make the transition easier - even leaving at the "best time" possible, instead of the busiest time possible. That doesn't seem to have helped the guilt-complex folk though.

So be it.

The time has come. I will not be made to feel bad for choosing to sort out my life.

A funny thing happened at the end of the working day, after I'd been battling the guilt-trip travel guides. In our staff meeting it was announced that I (and one other) am leaving, and please keep the 27th open for the farewell. Guess what - that's exactly ONE WEEK AFTER my last working day here!

At first I was really upset - I had been looking forward to ending off this chapter of my life on a happy note, with a chance to spend a last hour with some folk whose company I enjoy, and see others for the very last time. I had hoped to say that I enjoyed my stay here etc etc... one of those nice goodbye things. I had hoped someone might say "you did a good job". Instead I'll be leaving quietly and unobtrusively, ending off my last working day with a fizzle instead of a bang.. :-)

And then I realized it's actually par for the course. The perfect finish to the past 11 years. You see, I can count on one hand the times that the hard slog I put in has been recognized, appreciated or rewarded. On the other hand I have a couple fingers free after counting the times my voice has been listened to without being demeaned or brushed off. This last thing? Well it's a fitting end. Same as it's always been.

I don't want to badmouth my employers - I really have had some good times here. I've enjoyed where I live, I've had some good friendships, I've liked tackling my job and making it the best I can do. But the reality is that within this collective group's mindset (across the worldwide organization) women are not seen as equal. Up to the year before I started working here, they were still not allowed to claim "head of household" benefits, even if they were head of household. It's still a struggle for women's voices to be heard and noted, for them to matter, for them to receive equal treatment. And I've felt it keenly - I've wanted to contribute on many occasions, but have not been allowed to.

So here's what I've decided (after a long, hard walk to clear the head). These last two weeks I'm still putting in my all, as per usual. I'm keeping my inner strength intact in the knowledge I've made the right choice. That I matter as a person, as a woman, as an intelligent part of the human race. I'm not going to ask for recognition or acknowledgement, any more than I have in the past, nor expect to be thanked or applauded. I'll do what I always do - head down, job completed with excellence and personal pride in work well done.

And I'm definitely not going to feel guilty about leaving. Sad yes, but not guilty.