In my mind, I quit my job today. It was somewhere between being asked to attend yet another meeting/conference call and finding a misprint (or misquote) in a major news publication about our “sexual exploration” program for youth.
Last month, the same thing happened. That time, I mentally resigned about 3 seconds after I typed the term “consensual slavery” in a newsletter. Granted, it was biographical information about a speaker and not a solicitation but still…some things just can’t be unread.
When I took this job as a grant writer for a LGBT organization in the summer of 2011, I was just a few years out of the closet, alone in a strange city, and looking for a community to help me better understand myself and my “new” place in the world. And yes, I was looking for a way to put my writing skills to good use and finally earn an income doing something worthwhile. But that was then…
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t feel the fight for equality – for ALL people – is any less worthwhile today that it was 5 years ago; but between the meetings, the newsletters, the website updates, and being the go-to IT person for the organization, my desire to carry on that fight is beginning to wane. Plus, it’s been a very long time since I’ve felt like I was making a meaningful contribution through my writing. And I suppose, as time has gone by, my personal interests have changed too. The things that fire me up now are more environmentally centered – food waste, wildlife conservation, and sustainability of our natural resources – among others.
I’ve quit more than 40 jobs in my lifetime. A few I walked out mid-shift. One I quit on principle after being asked to do something unethical. One I quit (probably just as I was about to get fired) because I refused to retract a statement on Facebook calling the owner of the company inept. Most I quit just because I wanted to do something more interesting.
I know I want to quit this job. I know because I’ve mentally quit nearly a dozen times already this year. Given my track record, quitting should be easy but this time it’s different. For some reason I am afraid.
Ok, there it is…the elephant in the room: FEAR. I’m not usually a very fearful person. I mean, gee whiz! I once moved cross-country to a place I’d never even heard of before!
I don’t think (but it might be) the fear of financial failure. I’ve been broke and I survived, and while I’m pretty sure I’ve learned enough about resourcefulness not to let it happen again, there’s always the lingering memories to remind me just how horrible it was to lose everything.
I don’t think (but it could be) the fear of regret. No matter how many jobs I’ve ever loved (or hated) in my life, there have been none that I’ve regretted leaving…so far…
I don’t think (but it’s possible) I’m afraid of never having the same level of autonomy in another job. I pretty much decide what I want to work on, when, and how. Rarely, if ever, does anyone check my work. I like to think they trust me but perhaps it’s just a case of out of sight, out of mind LOL.
I don’t think (but it very well may be) the fear of letting my mom down. She prides herself on having one successful child and as someone who measures worth by work, I don’t know how to explain to her that I don’t want to do it anymore…and just when she thought I’d finally grown up 🙂
Or maybe it’s all of the above plus fear of the unknown.
Have you ever loved your work but hated your job? Did you quit? If so, how did you overcome the fear of leaving?