Yesterday, I quit my job. I didn’t have a fit and start to scream and throw things (as I dreamed I did over the weekend). I gave my boss a dignified letter explaining that I would be leaving in the end of January to do my student teaching. And, to my amazement, my feelings after making this disclosure were completely unexpected. Of course, I expected to feel better, having finally gotten it over and done with. And to some extent, I did. But what surprised me, overwhelmingly, was the feeling of complete and utter depression and the desire to just go home and lie in bed and cry.
This made absolutely no sense to me. As some of my more long-term readers may remember, I frequently hate this job. I don’t always hate it. Some days I feel so good about what little I am able to do. And some days I am inspired by the selflessness and generosity that working here allows me to see in other people. But more often than that, sadly, I am riddled with hatred for the mundanely stupid things I must do (like change light bulbs and empty the recycling), for my micro-managing paperwork-Nazi of a boss and her/our raging Hun of a supervisor, for the way it makes me see the world and how people sometimes treat each other, for the ridiculous circus that fund-raising and donations are. I have told myself for months that I just had to hang on a little while longer and that I would soon be done with this frustrating place.
And now that the end is in sight, I just want to cry. Why?? It just doesn’t make sense. I’ve hated this job and despaired that I’d never survive until student teaching with my sanity intact. The more I think about it, the more I wonder if it’s because in losing my job (or, more accurately, quitting) I am losing a little bit of how I see myself. For 2 ½ years, the person I see myself as and who I think others see me as, has been tied into this notion that I am working in a position of support for the frontlines of social change. Sure, I hated a lot of it, but change is hard, right? I am learning things and seeing things firsthand that most people will never see or learn. I guess in some ways it made me feel special to be there to lend comfort and support to survivors (if only over the phone) or to help haul donations in and out. It has given me a sense of contributing to making the world better, if only for one or two people on occasion.
And I suppose, to some extent I was fooling myself. I spent the majority of most days arguing with contractors, getting the vacuum fixed again, fighting with our house account holders at local grocery stores over the 19 cents sales tax we were inadvertently charged, getting yelled at by the secretary, trying to outsmart computers and think ahead of our computer users and/or politely explaining to angry donors why it isn’t financially responsible for a nonprofit to drive an hour away to pick up a donated mattress set (and lose money in the process) that is, in all likelihood, hollowed out and covered with pee stains and, for which, I should instead be expressing unparalleled gratitude and promising to personally come clean the donor’s entire bathroom with a toothbrush. I do know one thing, though. In our state’s current economy, I am terrified of the prospect of quitting a decent-paying job without having another one lined up. It’s going to be hard enough for us to be living on one income for 14 weeks but it will be even worse if it takes me another month or two to find another job, especially one that pays this well.