Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Unquitting


I’ve been given the unique opportunity to “unquit” my job twice in last few weeks. This is a touching offer, and has done more to improve my opinion of this company than anything else. However, it has created a bit of a mental dilemma for me.

As with every major decision, I had already jumped head first into full-on panic mode. It’s not that I have a history of decisions not working out. Quite the opposite, really; which adds to my fears that I’m throwing away a good thing. This could be the moment that I look back on in 20 years and count as “the point where everything went to shit.” Whether it’s a fear of the unknown, Stockholm syndrome, or just the fact that I’m institutionalized, the thought of stepping out into the world is paralyzing. If this is the Shawshank Redemption, I am Brooks.

Although these thoughts keep me up at night, there’s something that I fear even more: still being in this career at 50. Staring dramatically into the future isn’t as crazy as it sounds; all of my coworkers started out in this career and will more than likely carry on through retirement. I can count on one hand the number of people I know who have left “the community.”

Although the offers to stay with my company have been very tempting during this tumultuous phase of questioning my decision, I’ve politely declined each time. After effectively quitting my job three times now, I feel like Peter denying Christ, but my reasons for not turning back are perfectly rational.

I want this job, but there's too many cocks.
  
1. I haven’t forgotten why I quit.

This is a big one. With both offers to stay, many of my reasons for quitting would no longer apply and I could conceivably make a decent career out of staying. However, my overall impression of this place has been irreversibly soured. Every time something goes wrong in the future, I know I will reflect back on this period. I don’t want to turn into one of those bitter, soulless people I've worked with who turn every situation into a chance to bitch about the past.

2. I’ll always be that one who ended up staying.

Quitting is one thing. Quitting and then deciding to stick around is entirely another. Even if I did decide to stay, I will be remembered as the one who wanted to leave. It’s a given that I’m not committed to the company, so why would they want to promote me or give me more responsibility? It’s not like I can fake how much I love working here. The cat’s out of the bag.

3. Good luck getting a favor.

I may as well walk into every negotiation in the future waving a massive red flag. If my company has already attempted to accommodate my requests from that time I “threatened to leave,” how likely is it that they will help me now?

4. I’m too happy.

You know that smile you get when you’re stupid happy about something? The one 15-year-old’s have when they’ve found “love” and serial killers have when they give interviews to MSNBC? That’s the one. It’s a little creepy, but completely authentic.

Exactly.

I’ve been walking around with this big, dippy grin since I gave my notice, in a haze of euphoria and relief. I’m swimming in unadulterated joy.  I want to hug strangers and skip through the streets. I’m annoying as all hell on a Monday morning, which is just more reason to smile. So as much as I love stability, I’m going to keep chasing this high a little longer.

3 comments:

  1. I miss that smile........

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  2. I put in my resignation at a crappy job and my supervisor talked me out of it because he needed (not brain dead) staff. I ended up violating the rule you wrote in the other post about flouncing angrily out of a job. So I left anyway but now it says no notice given. Luckily, he was still willing to be a good reference. I unquit my present job because I like it but I imagine it's a different story when you can make a career out of the position. Makes you think of the future and such.

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    Replies
    1. I think the key here is whether you like your present job. If you can unquit and be happy, all the power to you! In my situation, I could unquit and make a career out of it, but deep down I know I would be miserable. As much as I want the stability (and the paycheck!), I can't justify spreading my misery around the office. I think far too many people are happy to share their negativity in order to collect a retirement.

      On the other hand, I would have unquit my previous job in a heartbeat. I loved it! It was one of those situations where life took me away from a great job; I didn't quit because I was jaded or disgruntled. As much as I sometimes fantasize about returning to that company, I'm inclined to leave my memories as they are. I have nothing but positive things to say about that company, my position, or my coworkers. It was a pleasant time in my life and I wonder if maybe things would be different this time. Perhaps I would remember it in a different light. Rather than try to recapture the happiness I experienced during that time, I would prefer to find that level of contentment in another endeavor.

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