Quitting my job was one of the unnamed goals on my 30 Before 30 List and while I didn’t want it listed before it happened (for obvious reasons) I also didn’t expect to ever actually cross it off the list. I never imagined I’d get up the nerve to quit.
And I certainly never imagined I’d quit the way I did–without knowing what would happen next.
Two weeks ago I traveled from my little remote office to my company’s main campus, mostly to complete brainstorming for next year’s editorial calendar, but also to have conversations about my job that were giving me panic attacks before I was even in the state.
Not that this was the first time I’d become physically ill because of my job. From shooting phantom back pain to stress eating to nausea to insomnia to full panic attacks and anxiety (not to mention all the crying) the job was infiltrating areas of my life job’s aren’t supposed to be able to go. At least not for what I was getting paid at a nonprofit…and not when the stress actually has nothing to do with your work.
Logging in to work, even remotely, was like going into battle. You could no longer step into a meeting unarmed. But I stayed because I was scared. Scared of losing a place where I could do what I loved, even under duress. Scared of the unknown. Scared that it wouldn’t be better anywhere else or that even if it was, I wasn’t good enough to to get there.
I tried to fix things. I thought if I could express the situation in the context of how it was impacting work, I’d have a chance to change things. So I set up a meeting, wrote notes, and prepared to confront the leadership trifecta to demand respect for my work.
And they said, in so many words, “no.”
Which was (naively) not the answer I expected.
I knew the day was coming when I’d have to leave this job. I’d been working on building my freelance clients up on the side (adding extra hours to extra hours). But, as any freelance knows, full-time freelancing is a scary and uncertain endeavor. Still, after hours talking it over with The Programmer (after six months of “Let me just give it a chance, it’ll get better, I swear”) uncertain seemed a lot better than the future I was facing down.
So, auspiciously on the national day without women, I walked away.