True Things

Consider this my confession, for a) I haven't confessed on a Wednesday in longer than I can remember, and b) I have an update about something I told you all a few weeks ago.
(And even though I know it will hurt literally no one if the truth isn't revealed, I like to think we here around blogland like to be in the know about each other's lives—hence why we read lifestyle/personal blogs to begin with.)
(Also, it's long, so buckle up. Or skip it, I won't hold it against you.)

About a month ago, something finally happened that I'd been waiting for for too long: I received a job offer that could signal my departure from the publishing company I'd worked at for the last three years. I will be more honest now than I was able to be then: The last year at my job had been absolute, utter hell. My bosses treated me terribly if they deigned to acknowledge my existence at all; I was spoken down to if ever spoken to; I was demeaned and degraded on a daily basis; I had my ideas and the very nature of my profession, skills, and passion reduced to absolutely nothing. I couldn't stay a minute longer. I accepted the job offer—managing editor and part-time reporter at a local newspaper—simply because it was an excuse and opportunity to leave the publishing company, one I had been begging the universe for since I started (intermittently) applying for new jobs in April 2014.

I gave my two weeks notice and felt a weight vanish from my shoulders. Soon, I would not have to walk into this office to be disrespected daily. Soon, I would be free from my obligation to make a rich man richer while remaining highly underpaid (and underinsured) myself. Soon, I would be able to stop entertaining the horrendously inappropriate and morally bankrupt ideas of a company owner I could no longer feel good about myself for bolstering in the industry.

And somewhere in the back of my mind, overshadowed by the excitement I felt about finally being free from the worst workplace I've ever been a part of, was this thought pattern: A 40% pay cut is downright insulting for my professional level—I'm not an intern, I'm not entry level. I'm talented and have experience. That salary is literally just barely above the poverty line. On that salary I will not be able to support myself. I will have to work the equivalent of two full-time jobs to make ends meet if I take that salary. How can they expect to obtain quality candidates at that salary? This is just ridiculous.

I'm not entirely proud of thinking all that, but it's the truth. Because a 40% pay cut is not the difference between ordering top shelf and well vodka. It's not even the difference between a Mercedes Benz and a Toyota. It is, completely honestly, the difference between being able to finance my basic, reasonable, modest lifestyle and burying myself in debt.

Another thought pattern was emerging: I never wanted to work at a newspaper. I like writing features, but I never wanted to be a reporter. Didn't I decide way back after that first news reporting class in college that I seriously detested the idea of working as a reporter? Yes. The answer is yes, I did. I have never, ever wanted to work for a newspaper—until it felt like my only option for escape.

So I did something a lot of people probably consider a little bit crazy—especially considering that I am 100% financially independent and wholly plan on remaining that way as long as I live.

I took a leap of faith. I quit my job and declined the newspaper job offer.

I took a calculated risk after I was contacted for a couple of interviews for jobs in fields (namely, special topic publishing) I actually am a) well-suited to work in, and b) want to work in. (Also after doing a lot of math and financial planning.) Because here are some true things:
For most people in America, the need to work is a real thing in order to sustain a happy, healthy life.
Working for the majority of adulthood is the norm in America.
Given that, having a job does NOT have to equal being miserable, being treated unfairly, or being disrespected.
I'm not entirely sure what the purpose of life is, but I do know for sure that it is not to work myself ragged and miserable for morally reprehensible people.
My life is meant to belong to me, not to my employer(s).
Life's too short to not take risks every once in a while.

And here are some other true things I've learned over the last few weeks: Vacations and time off are good and essential for the soul. The pursuit of passion is a basic human necessity. Time and room to breathe are crucial for creating decent, happy people.

So here's what I've been doing over the last few weeks since I left my job on July 17:

Going on job interviews and working with recruiters. I'm determined that the next position I take will be one that's good for my career, good for my health, and good for my sanity. I don't want to jinx anything, so that's all I'm going to say on this front. In the words of Michael Scott, I'm not superstitious, but I am a little stitious.

Working. I've been doing some freelance writing work. I've been working on the last round of edits for a manuscript set to be digitally published next month. (!!!) Feather Magazine is better than ever; we're working on September stories right now. And the literary magazine I'm collaborating on creating is coming soon to a device near you. (You still have time to contribute a piece of writing or art! Let me know if you want the deets.)

Writing. My novel is still in progress. I took about a week off, but am forging through the second half this week.

Going to the beach. Michael perfectly recapped our Blogger Beach Day. The day after that I headed to Cape Cod to spend a few days with my grandparents, and my mom and stepdad who were also visiting them at the same time. It's different air up there, I swear. So good.

Celebrating my cousin's engagement. Visiting her fiance at work for a TV show taping, which happens to be less than a mile away from my apartment, and also happens to be the set of the Food Network show The Kitchen. Running and working out. Trying to catch up on my reading. Watching a lot of The Office. Having dinner with old family friends who I haven't seen in years. Window shopping for a real wardrobe to be worn in an actual professional office. You know, the usual.

So there it is. There's the reason I haven't posted yet about my new job—it doesn't exist. There's the reason I took an impromptu trip to Cape Cod last week. There's the reason I'm funemployed and on no semblance of a schedule right now. There's the reason I finally feel like I can breathe M-F 9-5. There's the reason I now something bigger, better, and right for me is coming down the pike.

Comments

  1. I am so proud to know such a courageous person! You definitely don't need to be in a position which makes you feel less than what you are and I'm so glad you are taking the time to find a job that will respect every bit of you! You're spectacular & you deserve a job that recognizes that. You got this, friend! xo

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  2. YOU GO. you went with your gut and out of your comfort zone which is a hell of a lot more than what others would have done. something will come along very soon; things always have a way of working themselves out. i honestly feel that life is too short to be stuck in anything or taking a job just because it's a job. when it doesn't feel right, it's for a reason. something so much better will come along soon!

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  3. I think that's utterly fantastic and you made the right choice. We spend a huge chunk of our lives at our jobs, so why shouldn't they be fulfilling AND give us enough money to survive on?! Being unemployed is terrifying, but jumping into a job, any job, just to have one is not the smart choice, even if it seems like it at the time. You don't need my approval, but you've got it anyway. Way to go! :)

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  4. I am so proud of you!!!!!! Although I know you did tell me, my heart sank reading that second paragraph. Completely sank. No one should be devalued or treated poorly - I absolutely hate when employers think you are so dependent on their pay check that you have to take their BS. Honestly, I would have left too - as much as my job is stressful, I love it. If I wasn't respected I would bail. You did the right thing. No one should be a slave to work, especially work they don't love. And never settle. So proud of you friend. Also - this gave me a kick in my bum to write just that bit more (I have been writing) so that I can send you a full book to edit - or at least the multiple crazy chapters I've been writing hehe.

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  5. Taking that leap of faith is the best thing you ever did - that job and the way they treated you is disgusting! They didn't even deserve the two weeks notice you gave them! I can't wait to see the wonderful new opportunities that come your way! xo, biana -BlovedBoston

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  6. I wholeheartedly support finding what you love (or at least like) to do. I was in a position at my old job where I was very unhappy and depressed, and I knew I needed a change. I took a leap of faith to a lower paying job that has worked out really well. It's not perfect, and it's certainly not my dream job, but it allows me a flexible schedule and to be able to do the things I want to do in life. So good luck and enjoy this time period!

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  7. You are amazing and I applaud your courage. My husband and I are standing at a fork in the road and a precipice and are trying to figure out WHAT to do about life. We both are the end of our ropes with our jobs and want to move, but finding a job in a different state is tough because no one really wants to take a chance. And I'm scared beyond belief to not have a job, but more and more I'm seeing that might be the path we need to take and honestly, your blog post is kind of a sign in my opinion. That yes, it can work out, yes there are other people that realize what it is to be happy and life is meant to be lived. Thank you for being brave and for sharing with us, this really gave me something to think about.

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  8. That's pretty exciting and terrifying all at that same time. And courageous. Here's to finding a well paying job that doesn't deaden your soul!

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  9. This is so awesome! I was just having this conversation with my daughter last night. She is ten and asked me why so many adults are so unhappy and I had to explain that a lot of people stay in relationships, marriages, jobs, etc out of fear. They become complacent. Bravo to you for being brave enough to realize that you deserved better and seeking it out.

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  10. This post makes me SO, so happy. I know we discussed this on the drive but it's so nice to see it on the blog. A different version of your voice, if that makes sense? It's horrible that your former (yay!) employer was such a terrible person. That type of environment is not EVER okay. I love that you've coined the tern funemployed. I've never had that but maybe someday soon. And I totally understand about the air being different. That's exactly how I feel when I go home. Can't wait to see what the Universe has in store for you!

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  11. You go girl - I'm proud of you. If you know something's not right but you feel like you need it, it's hard to take a leap and say no to it. But it can be so, so worth it.

    I'm happy for you. I know you are putting good energy out and that you will get it back tenfold.

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  12. So so SO proud of you, lady. Can't wait to see what happens. :)

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  13. yayyyyyy! go girl. that is awesome, and courageous and i'm sure scary as heck. but you are right, life is too damn short to be anything but happy! you deserve it, end of story.
    i lol'd at I am a little stitious :)

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  14. Good for you! I'm in much the same place career-wise, but I haven't found the courage to make a move yet. But hearing this is definitely a push in the right direction. :)

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  15. Good for you, we should live to work and not work to live. I am so sorry your old company treated you the way you did and I can see why you left. Something better will come along shortly and until then you should enjoy this break whilst you can. You deserve it after what your company put you through. I know it is scary not having a job but if you didn't see yourself in a career working in the newspaper then you just wouldn't be truly happy either.
    I am itching to get away and find something new too but I am so not brave.

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  16. I am so happy for you and so proud of you!!! I have been in a situation where I worked for someone who had zero morals and treated me like shit. I stayed far longer than I should, but I did get another job and get myself out of there. I wish I had the courage to do what you did instead! You are made for excellent things my friend and I am sure that something amazing is coming to you soon!

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  17. How exciting and terrifying! I started my new job three weeks ago and am giving my notice tomorrow to start at a new company on Monday. While the timing sucks and I can't give the proper two week notice ( I hardly think this will be their main concern since I've been there less than a month) I just know the other place is a better fit for me. You have to listen to your gut and do what's best for you.

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  18. This post was so well-written, it's like I can jump in your body and understand your thought process. What a fantastic leap of faith! I wish you all the best and more.

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  19. I think you made the right decision. Happiness must come first. I'm sure everything will fall into line soon you are too talented and smart for it not to. If you need anything from someone to talk to to a home cooked meal you know where to find me! Good luck with it all. Now I can really go to bed

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  20. You didn't take it! I wasn't expecting that but yay! I totally feel ya on that decision. Good for you. If it's not the best fit, you'll be right back in this situation a year from now. And hopefully you're managing to stay sane about your financial situation for the time being. Best of luck with the new interviews :) :)

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  21. I am seriously so happy for you -- taking that leap of faith could not have been easy but I am so glad that it panned out! Being happy is so important and it sounds like your previous job was downright awful. I can only imagine the relief you feel being away from that place :D

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  22. When I read this yesterday I couldn't formulate my thoughts into sentences to convey how awesome you sound and then when I came back today to comment I was overwhelmed by how much positive support everyone has for you!! The blogging community is so wonderful! You are so brave for taking a leap of faith like this, so many people get stuck at jobs they hate and do nothing about it. I'm wishing you so much luck in finding a new job, but in the meantime it sounds like you have plenty of things to keep you busy and afloat.

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  23. Good for you! It can be so terrifying, but you've got so much grit. Inspiring!

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  24. You are so brave, and I really admire you! I can't believe how horrible your bosses were. Wow. I don't think I would've lasted there as long as you did. Good luck finding a new job that finally fulfills you!

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  25. I'm so happy you're starting to feel a bit more settled, and yes, no job is worth that kind of aggravation!! Next time you're in Cape Cod let me know! I only live maybe an hour from there? And JB's parents just bought a house in Falmouth!

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  26. Funemployment looks good on you, lady! I know you're going to be the happiest with the path you've chosen and can't wait to see what you make of your beautiful life!

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  27. The thing is, though, there is a difference between taking a pay cut for a better job and/or life situation and being paid far below your worth. That IS insulting and there's nothing wrong with recognizing that. Honestly that's a part of why I quit teaching. It wasn't the paycheck (or lack thereof) that bothered me, per se, but it was knowing that the numbers on it just didn't reflect what I thought I was worth intellectually. Even if you had taken that job, it would have eaten at you after a while knowing that you deserve to be financially compensated for your professional prowess. I'm just glad that door opened for you. Even if you ultimately decided not to go through it, it seems to have opened other doors and, if nothing else, allowed you to close the door on a job you hated. Proud of you, always! <3

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  28. Good for you! Hopefully this time will help you focus more on what you want in life and where you really want to be. Fuck everyone else - especially those who think they're superior to you! Can't wait to read more updates!

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