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  • Writer's pictureCynical Candor

I’m About to Quit My Job Before I Find Another

Well, hopefully by the time you’re reading this, I’ve actually, finally gone through with it. I’m not afraid to post this, because maybe I’ll just get fired first and that will force this whole looming black cloud over some other poor soul caught out without an umbrella. Just yesterday, my friend told me in greater or fewer words how it “sucked to see me stop smiling.” I hadn’t really noticed I had until he brought it up.

I’d known I’d lost some light in my eye, some spark in my soul. I knew in May when I’d gone to camp as a volunteer counselor and was accused of “drinking on the job;” I honestly hadn’t been (though maybe I wished I’d been), but I was that distracted, that drained and confused and torn back then. I decided I’d go home and put in my two weeks.

Around Mother’s Day, to the operators of the flower shop I’d independently contracted for, I spilled my heart out; “I have to quit soon.” I confessed to these confidants, separate from the entire situation, that though I’d been grateful for the experience and time and income post-layoff and unemployment run-out, I couldn’t handle the stress—to sum it up, the hours (shit, in general, all of the job) inconsistent, my car’s wear-and-tear and gas for which I was never compensated, the money too little for the kind ear I’d lend to under-appreciative and expectant voices, all of it ever-so draining. I wanted to help, make a positive impact, change a life. But over time, demands never seemed achievable, and despite infrequent praise, I’m left feeling like I'll never live up, that nothing’s enough or could ever be. Should I feel such a need to justify myself?

And nothing now might BE enough, honestly. Prior to starting the gig, I’d been stressed that infrequent dog sitting and freelance writing wouldn’t cover my car payment and insurance, not to mention still living with a parent at age 27, recently dumped and in a tangled web of identity intertwined with freedom; limitless options limited me.

So about a year ago, when a friend’s girlfriend, (now ex), left the position (for, what I’ve now come to realize, similar reasons) and they’d called to offer this role, I’d taken the bait to serve as a personal assistant to a single, working mom of a 4-year-old, albeit reluctantly at first. For one, I’m not a nanny, having gone through those days from about age 13 until college years. Couple that dread with nerves that I’d become complacent as I had at my previous full-time position, where I’d been so relieved to take termination with severance, I saw my future played-out, and in desperation took the path anyway. Why must we do things that result in predictable outcomes, when we know we’ll be hurt in the long run? Inevitability, perhaps.

I cannot waste anymore time being mad at myself. I believe everything happens for a reason, in the same way I believe we’re not confined to fate. Limitless possibilities; each moment brings choices and conclusions, consequences for actions, none of which have to be right to be good, or good to be right. Inevitability, perhaps, limits free-will more than we can conceptualize.

I haven’t been sure who I am anymore since I lost my job almost a year and 9 months ago. I wrote, not like this, but for pay, (and also just like this) but it was barely enough. I traveled, had flings, learned to cook, spent time on cleaning up my life. But I presently feel like I’m 10 steps backward from that point; a tornado of chaos leaving my world in ruin, but not totally destroyed. Work ensues, cleanup entails; life goes on, never the same but not better just yet. And yet... I don’t think I’ve ever denied anything clearer for so long.

July brought a trip to Jamaica, and I told a few friends and acquaintances how after that week I’d take my leave—“I need this.” And I didn’t, I denied, and denied and accepted. Acceptance just now has opened the windows back up, made the paths visible again, and I can think without falter that this option is the only one to take. Crystal clear. So why was I hesitating? Why couldn’t I accept it until I nearly snapped?

Prose, analogies, etc. aside, society made me, makes us, do it. So bluntly, I’m about to quit my job before I find another, because I’m worth it. My sanity, my growth and my worth, that’s worth it. If anything will ever be okay, it’ll have to start with this.

I’m writing this down not only for future me to smile back on again (or perhaps frown, as fate can be a bitch, inevitably), but for present you who may feel similar sentiments. They always tell you to do what makes you happiest, what helps your soul shine and aura glow, but they also say not to quit your job before you find another. I’m here to ask you, let you ponder in the least, if you died right now, in your final moment, would it matter if you were employed or not? Does it?

I’m not employed, not traditionally, but I’m working. I’m not sure what counts for anything anymore, in this convoluted, contrary, conventional, capitalist bullshit. But I am working, on me, and my future, and the words I use and the energy I give. So I’m quitting my job before I find another. And I guess that makes me privileged. But let me remind you finally, “judge ye not lest ye be judged.” You’d never want that standard to haunt you. I’d never wish that, any of this, upon you—struggling and doubt and fear, none of it. Go in grace, and quit when your gut says so, before it’s too late. Regret less to live more; your life depends on it.

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