So a funny thing happened to me on Friday.
I sort of accidentally told my boss that I would be leaving the lab in July.
Of course, it came out super awkwardly. That's when my contract ends anyway and it had been my understanding that it would be not be renewed due to lack of funding. So this was not exactly new information for my boss, but I don't think he knew I was making other plans to expand my scientific editing business.
He and I had a research update meeting on Friday and during that meeting he suggested I submit an abstract to a conference that's taking place at the end of July, which brought up question about my contract, which made him ask about my plans.
Instead of pulling my shoulders back, looking him in the eye, and telling him about my editing business, I did the classic female thing: I looked at the floor, made myself small in the chair, and stuttered as I tried to explain myself. I don't want to beat myself up about it now. I had no idea we were going to talk about my contract during that meeting, but regardless, I wish I had handled it differently. I wish I had been more confident.
It just felt weird, like I was breaking up with him and trying not to let him down too hard. I also felt a little defensive and embarrassed to tell him about my business. People in my profession don't quit academia to start a businesses. They look for employment, they don't make employment. They go into industry or a national lab. These are the two accepted routes out of academia. So I felt vulnerable telling him that I was doing neither of those things.
To be fair, his reaction was great. He seemed to like the idea. He asked me what I charged to edit a manuscript and then encouraged me to charge more. I think his point was simply, value yourself, which is always good advice.
So there it is. It's one thing to anonymously declare to the internet your intentions to leave your job, but when your boss knows you're not coming back, then shit just got real. I texted my husband afterwards and he wrote back, "Good for you! Big step :) I'm excited!"
Which I am too! It is exciting. This is something I've been thinking about doing for a while, and now it's really happening. For real reals. There's no backing down. Even if I had wanted to (which I don't), I could never go back to my boss and ask for another year now. Not after I told him I wanted to leave the group.
So it's really happening and I couldn't be happier!