Wednesday, January 6, 2010

When Enough is Enough. (But not quite the way you thought it would be.)

Yesterday I quit my job.

It’s something I’ve been thinking about, planning out, daydreaming for months and months. But as with so many things, quitting my job didn’t go quite the way I’d been thinking and planning and daydreaming.

Since I first started waiting tables last August, I’ve missed my job at Indiana University. I have applied for job after job at various universities in Chicago; at Borders; at random companies I wasn’t even sure I liked, but that would give me the title of “writer” or “editor” should I be hired. I’ve gone to interviews and waited for callbacks that never came. I’ve juggled my waitressing job with poorly paid or unpaid internships, waiting for that fantastic moment when that internship would turn into a full-time, paid position, and I could make a victorious phone call to my dad, to my grandma, to my brother, to anyone who would listen.

I thought, and I hoped, that the day I quit this job, it would be because of a new opportunity.

Instead, I’ve quit my job, yet again, without a real idea of what’s to come in the future. Only this time I’m not moving to a new city. Here I am. Now what?

This is the point where I explain why I quit. At least, that’s what I was going to do initially. But yesterday, as I sat on my couch in my pajamas the entire day in a haze of regret, relief, and fear, I contemplated the scathing blog post I could write about the event. I felt betrayed by my employer, and myself. Why did I let it come to this? There was so much I could write. I could post, in its entirety, the mean text message I’d received from my boss. I could go on and on about why I finally realized, deep in my gut, that I could no longer work there. I could include dialogue from that awful phone conversation that ended with those two tiny words with enormous weight: “I quit.” (And it really did end with that. My boss hung up on me.)

I could write that scathing blog post. But any sense of relief I’d get from writing it won’t change anything. Like everything, I wondered, what would my mom think about all this? Most likely, if she were in this position, she would have gone off on my boss many, many months ago, and stormed out in a much more badass, glorious way than my weak, tear choked, “I quit” over the phone.

Or, if she were still alive, and she’d heard all the countless job stories I’ve told my family in the last year, I would have had to beg her not to drive up to Chicago and chew out my boss. (Seriously. When I was playing JV basketball in high school, my mom stormed into our locker room to yell at my coach after a game.) But I also think she would discourage me from writing that scathing blog post about what happened, because she was also the same woman who taught me to look straight ahead and pretend I couldn’t hear when other girls taunted me as I walked down the hall in high school. “Don’t sink to that level,” she always said. “You’re better than that.”

So I’ll just say this: Enough was enough.

Of course, I’m not completely unemployed—I’m still working (erm, interning) for The Media Consortium, and that’s still a breath of fresh air. It’s great experience. I get treated with respect. It is, however, a part-time job, and one that will not pay my rent.

That’s okay. I still have faith. I’ve made it this far, haven’t I? I’ll find something.

And right now, I’m going to do that with my head held high, staring straight ahead at my computer screen as I job search, and will breath a sigh of relief that I never, ever again, have to ask the dreaded question, “Do you want chips, fries, or veggies?”

At least not at that bar, anyway.


  1. Occasionally you have to plant your feet
    and show who you are and what you are
    all about.
    fiilling your head with your own work is
    your only option.
    Like the sly stone song says: "stand!"

  2. WAIT! We really need to catch up! You quit?!