Today I discovered that I have to quit my job. Why? The reason: Because I made a promise to myself some weeks back, and if you can’t keep even a simple promise to yourself, you’re basically no good at anything, right?
The real reason: Because I really, really, really, really want to.
A few months shy of my three year anniversary in New York I had trudged past several of the more populated rides at the Big Apple Circus: worked a slew of shitty service jobs, including waiting tables and learning (and semi-succeeding in) the elusive tease that is NYC bartending; moved in (and out of) four different apartments; and lost (and found) not one, but two live-in relationships.
What I hadn’t yet done was given a real go at the whole reason I moved here in the first place (dragging my ex-relationship cross-country with me): to pursue the literary dreams glittering in the eyes of myself and so many others.
I was aghast. Twenty-seven and crestfallen. Yet another victim of that ceaseless serial killer of dreams known simply as ‘the grind.’
I had only myself to blame. It was my own fault for harboring the naive assumption that I was different––that I could allow myself to be distracted for more than even one day and it would all still materialize––by the sheer virtue of being me, all bright eyed and bushy tailed and twenty-something and ballsy enough to move without reason but not enough to follow through on it.
Revaluation came next. I was working as the head bartender––a job I was dedicated to but had never truly wanted––at an upscale Michelin-starred restaurant in midtown Manhattan. I worked long hours for ridiculously low pay, and suffered the typical workplace martyrdom of taking on responsibilities that were clearly someone else’s without the recognition or the compensation, while tricking myself into believing this was a good thing.
Fellow weathered industry vets will tell you: the only point of working a service job in New York City is to make more money than you could elsewhere for considerably less effort. But truth be told, there is no easy money left in this town. Or if there is, it certainly isn’t here.
I decided enough was enough and, health insurance aside, called up a former boss and lined up another job at an exclusive members only club downtown where the pay was sure to be better, and gave my two weeks notice.
My eminent ship-jumping just two weeks on the horizon, I made a slew of appointments at various doctors––primary care, gynecologist, dermetologist, dentist––determined to use my hard-earned insurance before I forfeited it without regret (hopefully).
And then a few weeks later––just cozying into my higher paying, less stressing new gig and amid work on a new writing routine that was sure to make up for the prior three-year stalemate––I got a call from my gyno. Abnormal tests results. Potential of precancerous cells. Small chance, but still. More tests needed.
I immediately panicked.
The only thing that kept me from worrying day and night that I had just given up a job with great insurance that I may actually need in order to not become another victim of the post-Sicko American (criminal) healthcare system was reassuring myself of what really mattered in life: love and the pursuit of my own happiness, my fulfillment.
I scheduled an appointment for a biopsy, thanking my luck that my former employer had not yet processed my exit paperwork and so I was, currently, still insured, and made a pact with myself: If the test results were negative and I was found to be in possession of a perfectly normal cervix made up of perfectly normal cells, I would quit my job and begin again, freelancing full-time.
In the middle of reading a book called “Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York”, a collection of essays (all inspired by narrative matriarch Joan Didion) by different writers who have all loved and left (though some returned) to this literary/cultural/artistic/all things mecca, I came across a funny notion about life in this big bite of fast-lane living that is New York City. One author stumbled upon the idea from a friend, and it perfectly encapsulates how it feels to live here, especially when you’ve transplanted from somewhere that’s a little less raging all the time (as I did).
The completely true statement of which I speak: that the dog year ratio applies to humans in this town; that one human year in New York City equals seven human years everywhere else. Chloe Caldwell wrote:
“I suppose that explains why having lived there three years felt like twenty-one.
There’s a distinct change, an evolution, that happens between twenty and twenty-seven. In my early twenties, I felt that my life could be one big experiment, and in my mid-twenties I am coming to terms with the fact that no, my life is actually my life.“
So the moral of the story is: STOP WASTING TIME… With jobs you don’t like, or people you don’t like, or situations you don’t like. Life is too short, as they say, so basically just focus on the things you care about and that interest you. Just do you, because life will go by fast, particularly here, and #aintnobodygottimeforthat.
3 thoughts on “Goodbye to All That…Having a Job ‘n Stuff”
typo alert: With jobs your don’t like
Thanks! Got it!