Tuesday, October 8, 2002

And now for the real story...

I hope you will forgive me for the utter vacuity of my last two posts. I mean, I do tend to natter on about Nothing most of the time, but those last two were pretty lame (though I do still have that song stuck in my head).

The thing is, I've had this big gristly chunk of life-decision to chew on for the last few days, and I wasn't prepared to discuss the issue publicly until I had discussed it privately with those who are closest to me and who would be most impacted by any decision I would make or course of action I would take. But now I have discussed it with every effected person in my personal life, and it's time to share it with you, my digital family!

As you may have noticed, I hate my job. Last week the Boss-Lady pushed me a little too far with her usual neurotic outbursts, and something in my head just snapped. I decided right then and there that the time had definitely come to leave the job. And since today is/was my four-year anniversary in this job, I decided that today would be the day that I would tender my resignation.

First, though, I had to overcome a great deal of fear. That part was pretty easy to do, though difficult to manage (if you know what I mean). With fear, there comes a time where you just have to suck it up and do it. You just have to pull up your pants and jump out of that plane, run into that burning building, take that bullet. And so I did exactly that. I had moments of blind panic and clutching anxiety, but it had to be done (like taking those novocaine shots) to stop the situation that was causing me pain. Second, I had to find some way of doing it sanely, smartly, and without burning any bridges. And that meant trying to find a reason to quit that had nothing to do with my growing hatred for my boss, our membership, and everybody else related to or involved in my office. I had to winnow out the reason that was strictly about me and my business.

Well, that was pretty easy, too, when I sat and thought about it calmly. I mean, this job is essentially a dead end. There is no promotion possible, no other job to which I could transfer, no future of any sort. It's a four-person operation, and the other positions can only be held by union members; and union members can only be faculty working in this district, and since I'd rather roll naked in red ants and broken glass than work as faculty in this district, I'm stuck. My job performance suffers due to my unhappiness in the office, and there is absolutely no motivation for me to do a good job except to maintain a status quo that is making me unhappy in the first place. And so it's in the office's best interest, as well as mine, if I leave... because my performance will only worsen, since I have no real reason to improve it.

So I talked it over with two of my best friends, talked it over with my sister, talked it over with my Grandmother, and talked it over with my sponsor. I developed a plan, with contingencies addressed, in which I would tender thirty days' notice, work up a manual describing all of my tasks (so there would be no need of me training someone to do just as crappy of a job as I'm doing), finish off my pending projects, and help find a replacement. After that I would take a couple of weeks off to just rest and depressurize and regroup; after that I would register with a temp agency, so that I could "audition" different jobs before I went hunting for any one particular kind of job. I would have to do without my little luxuries during this down-time, but over the summer I proved to myself just how easy (if less-than-pleasant) a life without little luxuries is to achieve. I even wrote a rather nice letter of resignation.

But before I made any final move, I waited to discuss it with my coworker and friend, JB... the person who would bear the most impact of my leaving. After all, she would be the one who would have to deal with the replacement, and the one who would have to take over many of my responsibilities if the replacement was slow in being found or didn't work out or whatever.

Not surprisingly, JB was the only person with whom I discussed this who was not delighted with and fully supportive of my decision to leave. Unlike me, she likes the status quo and is interested in keeping it, and that status quo includes my presence there. And since our other coworker, BB, is still out on maternity leave and would not be likely to have returned before my thirty days were over, we would still be understaffed even if we managed to get a replacement trained and in place, leaving JB in rather a lurch. JB further pointed out that a smooth transition of staff would be more likely achieved in the period between semesters, the first half of January, when the office is always very quiet. If I would put off my leaving for a mere six weeks, BB would have returned, the office would be quiet, more time would be available for finding and training a replacement, and it would have a less negative effect on the office.

And so I altered my decision in light of these new considerations. It is the wisest thing to do, as it allows me more time to finish my projects, it gives me three more paychecks to save from, and it gives the office more time to find and train a replacement. But it certainly took the bang out of my gesture of resigning on my anniversary. And it would keep me there some weeks after my 35th birthday, which is the end of my Seventh Year and will not qualify as my Big Life Change that I expect (which means that some other Big Life Change might just come along before then...oy!). And I have to put up with six extra weeks of my boss and her foster-baby and the whining membership and the irksome executive council and the benighted district administration.

And I have to think of how exactly to handle this... I mean, thirty days is a standard resignation period... eighty days is rather strange, and rather strained. But I have to inform the boss as soon as possible of my plan to leave, so that there will be a maximum time to obtain a replacement, or one of the main reasons for putting off my termination date will be rendered moot. I just wish I could better predict what Boss-Lady will do, how she will react. I mean, I don't have a contract, she could just fire me on the spot. I could just leave at any time without notice. And I would prefer for neither of these things to come to pass... after all, this is the only real job I've ever had, and I need the good reference — otherwise I am right where I started four years ago with a Bachelor's degree and no experience, but this time with more grey hair.

So anyway, that's my big thing that's been on my mind. Another big thing is that, in leaving that job, I am giving up access to a pretty good computer. Before I changed my mind about my timeline, I started shopping around for home systems that I could afford, which would be better than the sad little Pentium-I in my kitchen (at which I am typing now) with it's 48 megs of RAM and 36K modem and 15-inch monitor. I found a system I really like at Gateway, and since I am not leaving my job right away, I can totally afford it. And so I will be getting a better home computer, which will be great! I'll be able to play my Sims with greater efficacy, as well as all sorts of other things that have in the past kept me in the office. It's gonna be fabulous!

Well, that's all I have for now. I have to get to bed. Thanks for listening! I can't tell you how valuable it is to me to have this outlet for my thoughts and my writings. You're the best!

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