Story of a Sabattical – The Beginning

57It all started with letting go. I had to learn to let go. It was not easy, at the same time it was my first step towards a happier self.

In 2013 I moved (back) to Munich from Cologne, Germany. I had studied in Munich, I had a history there and my friends, who have been a family to me. In Cologne, I was alone even worse, I was lonely. I was working a lot and then travelling away on most of the weekends. I think, to numb away my feelings of loneliness. At some point, I decided life should offer me more than this, so I made a move to go back to Munich. And it worked.

I got a wonderful PM (Program Manager) position with Microsoft (FAST Enterprise Search under Office 365) and loved my job and my team. The headquarters were in Oslo and Tromso in Norway, so I traveled there often and worked with other wonderful people. Until one day they decided to consolidate the Munich office to Norway and asked me to move to Norway for good. Now, that was a difficult decision. I had just got back to Munich and feeling home again, was finding all the emotional support from my friends and feeling really good being there. On the other hand, I really loved my job and wanted to be able to keep doing it. Then somehow magically and just in time, a PM position opened at the Bing office in Munich, whose offices were essentially one floor down. They offered me the position and I took it because it seemed like the best solution to all of my practical problems. My mind told me this thing, while my heart was not convinced. And my heart was right. I did not become happy at Bing. This experience deserves its own text and space. For now, all I want to say is that since then I have learned to follow my heart and not my mind.

I spent two years at Bing and in Munich growing unhappier every day and feeling too trapped to breakthrough. My job paid well. Hundreds of others would have jumped jumps to have my position. I was surrounded by smart people. I was literally going to work on foot or by bike, which was a luxury. I lived in Munich, which is what I had thought, where I wanted to live. I had my friends and Munich is a nice, safe, secure city. I had a nice flat with nice furniture at a very nice district of the city. I was having a life, which many others would be dreaming of, yet I was unhappy to the point of depression.

My shiny life from outside was quite dark from inside. I worked long long and irregular hours so that my private life was impacted. I did not share the core values of the working environment I was in. The tasks were not interesting enough and the human relationships were difficult for me. Many days I did not see the point in executing my job. I did not have a partner nor a relationship, and I picked up traveling away again almost every weekend. I did not see a clear purpose in my life. My body was exhausted, which contributed to my unhappiness. I felt helpless not knowing what to do.

Until one day when my mom told me “Pinar come home. Before you get sick, please come home”. It was so heartfelt, so genuine and so light. At that moment, I felt I had a home I could go back. Back to where I come from. I was not so lost as I thought and I had a choice. I could choose to stay and live this life I lived unhappily. Or I could let go. I could choose to go home.

I chose to go home. And my second life began. Thank you, mom.


We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.

Joseph Campbell

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