April 20, 2004
I Quit


I quit my job this morning.

I don't know how it happened. I wasn't planning to quit today. I didn't roll out of bed at 5:15 a.m., look at myself in the mirror and say "This is the day I am liberated." In fact, for most of the morning everything was perfectly normal. One minute I was drinking my coffee, updating my *To Do* List, gearing up for another long day of answering phones and filing soil density reports ... and the next minute something in me collapsed, like a mud hut after a tropical rainstorm. The little voice of discontent inside my head, usually barely more than a whisper, was suddenly shrieking I don't want to do this anymore.

So I quit.

My job has been a source of bang-head-repeatedly-against-desktop frustration for a while now ... a growing daily sense of wasting my time, of spinning my wheels, of sacrificing the best part of my life and my energies doing stuff I hate for people I can barely tolerate 76.7% of the time. (Or at least, for people who I would never invite to my house for Bed Picnic Bruschetta.) Things have gotten steadily worse in the three months since we moved into the new office space in downtown Oakland, just before Christmas. My long-delayed promotion fell through as soon as the boxes were unpacked. "Not enough money in the budget," I was told ... just before they plunked me, once again, behind a receptionist's counter. Lately it's an effort just to show up every day. Everything about my job makes me feel old and cranky and tired. I'm tired of being alternately ignored and bullied. I'm tired of being handed all the lowly crap jobs nobody else will do. (Need your pencils sharpened? Your file folders labelled? Your paper clips alphabetized? Give 'em to SECRA!)  I'm tired of having to pretend to be perky and helpful and interested in the new File Share Usage Policy, when I'm actually feeling wretched and mean and just want everybody to leave me the fudk alone for fifteen minutes while I wait for the Excedrin to kick in. I'm tired of paper cuts and spam faxes and speakerphone junkies. I'm tired of people asking me about my weekend, when it's clear they couldn't care less how I spend my time when I'm not paging them to pick up their physical therapist on line four-five-one-one. I'm tired of constant interruptions. I'm tired of long-winded departmental memos that ramble on and on, forever and ever, ad infinitum, yadda yadda yadda, without ever actually saying anything. I'm tired of every teeny-tiny microscopic detail of my work day -- such as who will answer the phones during my lunch hour while JoAnne is on her vacation this week? -- suddenly turning into a Major Issue requiring 'discussion' and 'policy review' and 'input' from The Corporate Suits, three hundred miles away. I'm tired of having zero privacy (ever try to discreetly pick a chunk of apple from your front teeth while you're sitting at the front desk?) ... of having to ask permission to go to the bathroom, forcryingoutloud ... of being treated, by clients and by co-workers alike, as though I am leaking visible IQ points from my nostrils, every time I exhale.

And I'm tired, tired, TIRED of answering phones and filing soil density reports.

"No," I said. "I mean it. I quit."

"I know," David replied, with his usual mix of compassion and amusement. I quit my job every morning ... and every morning he is kind and calm and sympathizes with my plight. If anyone knows about job dissatisfaction, it's my husband. He encourages me to buck up. He reminds me that it won't be like this forever ... that eventually, if we work hard and we're smart with our money and we stick to our Twenty-Year Plan, we'll be spending our days riding a tandem up and down the hills of Port Townsend before we know it. And then he turns off all the lights and locks the apartment door, and he takes me by the hand and leads me outside to the parking lot, to where the Subaru is waiting for us, and together we head off for work, and for another long day of answering phones and filing soil density reports.



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