On Quitting

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As someone who has had a lot of jobs, I have also quit a lot of jobs. Among other things. I’m actually pretty good at quitting.

I believe that sometimes walking away – from a person, place, or job – really is the right thing to do. Sometimes it just feels good to tell someone off and know you’ll never have to deal with them again, even if it hurts you a little in the long term.

Recently I quit a part-time job at the front desk of a yoga studio, somewhat unexpectedly and dramatically. I don’t know that they way it all unfolded was exactly ideal, but the owner was widely known as a “crazy asshole”. I was not alone in my frustration dealing with him. When I gave my two weeks’ notice verbally, he told me I could leave right then, which on reflection, turned out to be a great gift. I didn’t have to suffer through two more weeks, or wake up super early ever again!  As a result, however, I did not have a chance to say good-bye to several co-workers and clients. I emailed a handful of people to do so, including one yoga teacher I respect a lot.

I didn’t gossip or actually call the crazy asshole a crazy asshole in my email.  I did explain why I had not said goodbye to anyone, and why it would appear that I’d either been fired or left without any notice.

The yoga teacher replied back to say goodbye, and that they’d all miss me. It was hardly full of emotion or substance, but it meant a lot to be acknowledged. While I don’t know that a yoga teacher would ever call someone a crazy asshole, I took the email to also mean, we understand, we work with him too. The others did not reply.

Some time after that, this yoga teacher started a fairly public blog. I was a little alarmed at the level of personal information she shared, but it was a thoughtful and interesting blog. Several weeks after starting the blog, she quit her high-profile position teaching and managing at the studio. I don’t know if it was due to the same crazy asshole or not  – despite all the personal info on the blog, she didn’t mention any crazy asshole.  But I do think she may have started her blog in order to have a platform to share her reasons for leaving.

My views on the value of quitting are genuine, but I do still acknowledge that there are long-term consequences of quitting, particularly as much as I have managed to quit. Some of those are practical, like having a choppy resume and looking like a job-hopper (or, well, not just looking like a job-hopper, but being a job-hopper). But some of the consequences are simply from feeling ashamed of what I’ve done in quitting. I think sharing it, making it not a secret, helps ease that shame in some small way.

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