The author, middle, broke up with her coworker.

I fell in love with a coworker — through coffee breaks and shared deadlines.When our relationship ended, I had to continue working in close proximity to my ex.The break-up was the push I needed to quit my job and become a successful freelancer.

Two weeks after a painful breakup, being assigned a new project offered a much-needed boost. I returned to the newsroom tired and weary but ready to dive into work.

I was invited to join a team of reporters who would spend the next few months investigating a select group of politicians we believed was likely wasting taxpayer money. After a few initial meetings, my editor mentioned another reporter whose beat overlapped with our mission would be joining the team. The door opened, and he walked into the meeting with his laptop and notebook — and his head down.

Two weeks prior, that same man had left my apartment in the middle of the night with all the belongings he’d been keeping in a drawer at my place. We tried to make our relationship work, but we couldn’t.

Now here I was, in our shared office, sitting opposite the man who’d spent Christmas under my parents’ roof a mere few weeks before but with whom I was no longer on speaking terms.

Sharing an office allowed us to develop a relationship

We met soon after he joined the company. He overheard a conversation I was having with one of his desk mates. He looked up, smiled, and the rest unfurled from there. We quickly became friends, but then it turned into something more.

We fell in love through coffee breaks, stolen glances, and Slack messages. Somehow, we managed to keep our ill-fated little love story to ourselves. With this being a small newsroom — where everyone knew each other — we felt it best not to make our relationship public.

Working together was exciting when we were dating but excruciating after we broke up.

Everything that paved the way for our dating — running into each other in the coffee room, sharing reporting interests — was now the bane of my existence. Every time I overheard his voice when I was trying to focus on my work, my heart broke piece by piece.

One day, my manager took me into a meeting room to ask what was going on. I haven’t been my usual eager self, she said. I was distracted, and she didn’t recognize this version of me. I confessed I was going through a break-up — stopping short of pointing my ex out to her as he walked by the meeting room.

Something needed to change.

The break-up became the push I needed

Ever since I’d graduated from college, I had been harboring a dream I was always too scared to face. After working in newsrooms for a while, I wanted to branch out on my own as an independent reporter, to fashion a life of my own design, and to see how far I could take it. But the thought of leaving full-time employment behind was terrifying.

Having to deal with the presence of my ex in my place of work created a sense of urgency, a need to leave as soon as possible that did not accommodate the lengthy process of looking for another job. Two months after our break-up, I resigned.

He came into my life for a reason — just not what I had thought

The night I handed in my notice, I celebrated over dinner with a close friend. I was not afraid but beaming with excitement. For years, I daydreamed about freelancing, feeling it was never the right time to take the leap. When I had no choice left, I realized there never would be the right time.

So, I jumped. And even though I felt leaving was necessary, the safety of a full-time job was no small thing to leave behind.

I have now been a freelancer for a year — a year that exceeded my wildest expectations of what life as a roaming journalist could have in store for me.

Without the break-up, it’s possible I never would’ve found the kick in the behind I needed. He did not come into my life for the reasons I had thought he had. But he did play a role, unwittingly pushing me towards the life I’d always wanted. For that, I could not be more grateful.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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