It’s happening: We are going through with it!

A long and eventful week is coming to an end. And tonight it’s time to celebrate a bit. The bottle of champagne my best friend Michael gave us for our engagement is chilled and already waiting to be opened and emptied. But let me start at the beginning…

The “Coming-Out” with my parents

Last Saturday we visited my parents, spent a nice evening with pizza and wine, and talked about their and our last vacation. At some point our “Coming-Out” can’t wait any longer.

We don’t catch them completely by surprise, because we already talked about the idea of a “professional time out after Christiane’s doctoral thesis” in last June. Now it’s time to put our money where our mouth is. A lot depends on my parents’ reaction, because we would like to move into their currently unleashed apartment on the first floor of their house. So we ask for “asylum” for the time before and after our world trip. After all, we have to clear out our current apartment and also need a location from which we can go looking for a job when we come back.

How did they react? We are both lucky to have the best parents / in-laws in the world, the question whether we can move in does not arise for them at all. And even we hadn’t mention the topic since June, they seem to have kept it in the back of their minds and already gave it some thought. And so on Saturday evening we took the first step towards a world trip.

The first notice(s)

The next – and for me more difficult – step waited for me on Tuesday and caused some sleepless nights for me. The termination of my employment is on the agenda. I went through this conversation many times in my head, but I was sure that in reality it would likely be different than I thought. Unfortunately my contact person for the job termination had changed at short notice. My direct superior was on vacation and so unfortunately I could not talk to him personally, which I would have preferred. But because I wanted to get the whole thing over with as quickly as possible and I also have to comply with notice periods, I decide to talk to the proxy and give him my letter of resignation.

Before I leave our apartment, Christiane looks at me:

She: “Are we really doing this?
I: “Any second thoughts?”
She: “No!

And with that our decision is final.

Nevertheless, I am nervous on my way to the company. In my previous professional life, I have always known exactly what I have to do in the next month since 01.08.1995 – that’s now more than 23 years. This kind of “security” will be gone on 31.12.2018. What I gain is freedom, but I have to get used to it first. But when fulfilling a life’s dream, getting used to this freedom will probably happen quickly – at least I hope so!

While I am on my way, I call our landlord. We had already sent the notice of termination by mail yesterday. We have a good landlord who has always taken care of things, which is why I want to tell him about our plans in person. Our conversation is quite short, because he was in a meeting. We agreed to stay in contact, he promised to send a confirmation by e-mail. First notice of the day: check!

When I arrive at the company, my colleague (and contact person for my resignation) is unfortunately neither in his office, nor otherwise locatable. I stray nervously through the building and then go back to my car to grab a quick bite to calm my nerves. After this short break my colleague is back in his office and a bit surprised as I close the door behind me. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the exact conversation; my head just feels empty. So here is just a rough summary:

I: “I need you in your role as substitute. I will leave the company by 31.12.”
He: “I thought something like this when you closed the door.”

Silence…

He: “And to which company are you going?”
I: “We are taking the end of Christiane’s doctoral studies and the associated job change as occasion to take some time out. We are going on a trip around the world from January 2019”.
He: “I admire the courage of people who do such things. If that’s someone’s dream and you’re able to do it, you should. For the company, of course, this is a great loss; personally and professionally.”
I: “We are both healthy, have saved money, and Christiane is in a phase of reorientation anyway after her PhD… if we don’t do it now, we will probably never do it.”

We agree that he will take care of everything else, that is, to consult with human resources department and management, and then get back to me. In addition, we want to keep the whole thing in a very small circle until my supervisor is back from his vacation.

I leave the office quietly, walk past my future ex-colleagues and am only able to utter a short “See you next time”. After a while, the tension disappears. I really did it. Second notice of the day – check!

On the way back home, my colleague calls me again. Everything works out so far. Statement of one of the managing directors: “Very unfortunate, but enviable”.

What will happen to ongoing projects in my job?

My appointment the next day in Cologne is unfortunately cancelled by the customer at short notice. This barely happens and was a unfortunate, because I was already in Cologne.

Back in my home office I start with some organizational work. First I try to get a rough overview of the things that still have to be done in the next three months:

  • What is important?
  • What can go directly away?
  • What information do I have to pass on to my colleagues?

Over the last five years I have put a lot of effort into representing our company strongly in the market and many of the construction projects I have supervised and/or technically supported are currently in the middle of planning with the architect. It is therefore important for me and the company that the handover takes place as smoothly as possible. After all, I don’t want my  work and effort to be for nothing.

First steps for relocation planning

The next day we are back at my parents’ house. We have taken the exact measurements of our furniture that we would like to put in our new (and much smaller) apartment at my parents’ and see how it fits best. In general, we will have to reduce our stuff considerably, but we wanted to do that anyway. When we moved in together five years ago, we basically merged two households and kept far too many things just because we had the possibility to store them. That has to change in the next three months!

Travel planning and first concrete booking

In the morning Christiane and I talk again about the first destination on our world trip. This is not really a tricky question, because Australia has been on our “bucket list” for a long time. And so we book a one-way flight to Sydney:

We will start on 31.12.18:
our officially last working day 🙂

Taking time off: Crazy, awesome, or both?

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