I talked to my boss. I put in my two weeks. Even though she was very adamant about taking me back if I changed my mind, ever, there really is no going back. It can take me a while to make a decision, but once made, I stick to it.
But now comes the worry and the anxiety and the fear. All of which boils down to this feeling that I should never ever throw away a perfectly good full-time job. Which is ridiculous, because it wasn’t perfectly good. It was driving me crazy, and with the move to the new building, it became micro-managing hell. I had HR literally telling me I couldn’t sit a certain way, couldn’t use my keyboard like that, couldn’t move my monitors to better places, and that this was all for my own good and would alleviate the back pain I never had – well, until then.
Yet I still keep thinking it wasn’t that bad. And I keep thinking about all the horrible things that could happen now. So I made a list of all the good things that can happen now, plus all the reasons it was time to quit to remind myself that while there are negative consequences to this decision, the positive far outweigh them.
Pros of Quitting
- No timeclock and no more stress related to rushing through security, rushing up the stairs, rushing down the hall, rushing through my computer’s password, typing the wrong password three times, waiting impatiently for Windows to load, waiting impatiently for IE to load, waiting impatiently for the timeclock server to load, rushing through that password, waiting for the server to load, waiting for the application to load and – oh shit now I’m a minute late.
- No more stress about taking sick time when I’m sick, let alone for doctors’ appointments or mental health days. No more worrying I’ll be written up for having a cold once too often.
- No longer spending 9+ hours in front of a screen, inside, sitting.
- No more rushing to the break room to scarf down breakfast/snack/lunch. No more hiding snacks at my desk and trying to eat in secret.
- No more checking twitter/tumblr/Wordpress every few seconds because the server is slow and I have to wait-wait-wait for the next process to load.
- No more feeling like I’m wasting my time/life for 60 hours a week (work + commute).
- No more being told that a standing desk is not ergonomic and the other ways that are most comfortable for me to work are also not ergonomic.
- No more asking for new duties or to learn new skills every month and being told soon, but soon never arriving.
- No more not having anywhere to safely run to when I’m having a panic attack.
- More time to write.
- More time to edit.
- More time to play.
- More time to hike.
- More time to run.
- Longer, slower mornings.
- More time to volunteer.
- More time to look for the perfect part-time job.
And to be fair, I should also include the
Cons of Quitting
- No guarantee I will find a job.
- Halved income.
Which are all equally valid and real cons. But I can work with these and I have purposefully sat down to address each one, both on my own and with my wife. While it is true that there is no guarantee that I will find a job, it’s truer to say that that applies to my idea of a perfect part-time job, but not necessarily to any job, ever. In three months, retail will start hiring for the holidays, a time during which they are less picky about everything and would hire a sack of potatoes. It’s not ideal, but a little bit of income is way better than nothing if I can’t find anything by then.
That said: I’m giving myself three months to find that perfect part-time job. This ties in with the second con – halved income – quite nicely. We’ve known I would go part-time at some point for years, and we’ve known for certain it would happen in the relatively immediate future since last autumn. We’ve been saving for this very eventuality for a while now, on top of our regular savings. Granted, at the time we had hoped Dr Lady would make more as a post-doc than she has ended up making, but it’s still going to work out. We’re both frugal and there are several areas in our budget we can trim back to make things easier. We’ll be okay, even if some part of me will stress out every time we have to touch our savings.
I can’t do much about the self-doubt aside from acknowledging that it is there and it will get worse. The isolation will also be a problem – I don’t exactly like most of my coworkers, but they provide important human interaction that keeps me from going crazy. I will be volunteering heavily until I find a part-time job to offset that, but I’m also trying to find groups or meet-ups to join. If you guys have any ideas on how to escape the isolation of unemployment / working from home, I’d love to hear them.
Now I’m going to go back and look at that pros list and remind myself that it’s going to be fine.