I call it FINALLY getting my act together.
So, I quit my job on Monday. You know, the thing that pays the mortgage, and lets me buy ridiculous pairs of shoes, and also eat.
But there’s got to be more than that to life, right? I mean, a paid mortgage and a fridge full of food isn’t the be-all-end-all recipe for a happy life, is it? If it were, there’d be a shit ton more happy people around, no?
I don’t think that it is, and that’s why I handed in my badge and turned over my business cards, and closed the door on the job I’ve had since I was 23, a decade of experiments and presentations, annual reviews and bonuses and one buy-out I managed to survive (Funny story: an ex of mine wrote me a crowing letter telling me that as a shareholder he’d voted to approve the takeover, while I was still in the dark about whether or not I’d have a job at the end of the day. Ok, so maybe it’s not that funny).
I should mention that I know, I mean, I REALLY KNOW, that I am lucky enough that I CAN quit my job. That J makes enough to support us both, that my nest egg is in place for just such an occasion, and that with a little more attention to detail we can make do without my salary. I also know there are plenty of people out there for whom quitting is the stuff of dreams, and for them, my heart cries. What if we could ALL do what we really and truly wanted?
For the past three years, I’ve lazed around in bed, hitting the snooze so often it turned ITSELF off, most likely irritated by the sound of its own plaintive buzzing. I’ve dilly-dallied in the shower, tweezed my eyebrows instead of getting dressed, driven to the coffee shop a little bit farther out of the way, all to delay the inevitable. When I’d finally pull into the parking lot at the office, I’d force myself out of the car and into my desk chair, or my lab coat, and plod through my day. Experiments that could get put off did, and paperwork got shuffled to the side until some deadline lit a fire under my ass. I’m lucky the work I did do was always good, and I skated by on that more often than not.
I tried to pull it together, I really did. I took an internal transfer, thinking a change of project and a change of pace might propel me into a more productive state. It worked, like all half measures, for a while. And then I’d be back to rolling in sheepishly at 10am, watching the clock desperately for it to be time to leave. Add into the mix a heavy handed micromanager of a boss, and even my good work couldn’t cover my deepening disgust with my work environment.
Which is why two supervisors were necessary at my annual review. As well as a document countersigned by Human Resources, and a giant box of tissues I tried desperately to wave off, even though I was drowning in my own snot.
So I turned in my letter of resignation on Monday, and quit my job. “Quitter,” the mean little voice in my head whispers, reminding me that I haven’t told my mother I’ve quit yet. It’s a good thing I’ve managed to squelch that little voice like a bug beneath my shoe, because here’s the thing. While I suppose, technically, that I could have stayed on and tried harder, and made it work, the expense would have been too great. That bad review made it clear what my body had been trying to tell me for months, if not years: YOU HATE THIS. DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT.
I’d like to think of it less as quitting, and more like stopping banging my head against a brick wall. More like giving myself permission to do something (anything!) different. Time to go find out what I really want to do. I’m not sure what that is, and between here and there is a trip to Paris and a move to Southern California, so it will be a while before any of us know what’s next. I’m looking forward to it anyways.