Quitting Isn’t Easy…Even for a Quitter

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?

Separation of Work and State (of Mind)

We came back from our quick trip to Golden Isles, GA on Sunday night. We had a blast, by the way. See…

Yesterday when I returned to work, I found very few emails to answer and even fewer answers to my emails. If it weren’t for our weekly team meetings and the paycheck that arrives in the mail twice a month, I might begin to wonder if my workplace actually exists. Is it just a figment of my imagination? Am I really that certifiably insane??

To lighten my mood, I decided to post a humorous poll on Facebook asking my friends for their advice on my work situation. After a brief explanation of the poor communication that I’ve been experiencing, I asked them to vote for one of the following solutions:

a) Suck it up and enjoy getting paid by someone who obviously doesn’t care what I do with my time.

b) Look for another job where I can miscommunicate with different people.

c) Retire early and see how long I can live off frugality.

d) Hide in the corner and cry.

e) Take suggestions from my FB friends.

100% of the votes were for “C”. Angie’s mom even voted for early retirement and one of our friends made the comment, “You are the only person I know who could retire at your age and make it for another 90 years.” I love the votes of confidence!

Our dear friend Suzanne suggested semi-retirement. She’s headed in that direction herself and hopes to arrive by the end of this year. I can’t say that this is the first time that this thought has crossed my mind. In fact, it was one of the most discussed topics on our vacation, especially during the 18 hours we were riding in the car.

The question now becomes, can we pull it off? What does semi-retirement look like? This is something that I plan to give prayerful consideration to in the coming weeks (so expect to see a few posts on our semi-retirement schemes ideas).

In the meantime, the best way for me to survive work is to relegate it back it to its proper place in my life. It is the thing that I do for 7 hours each day to earn an income. It is not the thing that defines who I am. So rather than obsess over workplace politics or wonder what’s going on in an office 1,176 miles away, I’m choosing to focus instead on how I can make a better life for us with or without this job.

If you’d like to vote in my mock poll, I’d love to hear your thoughts too.