Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Die is Cast

I quit my job this afternoon. No turnin' back now. I left work (Downtown) at 2:30 and got home (Uptown) about 4. I was carrying a box of binders that Joan the office manager said I could have a few months ago. I had my backpack and parka on, but I got sweaty, so I took off my parka and wrapped it around my waist in classic recess sports style. It kept slipping over my ass, though, and the Loring Greenway had a chilly wind tunnel effect goin' on, so I put the parka back on, still unzipped. It musta gotten up into the 50's today. I was comfy for a while in my short-sleeved shirt.

I walked home to process this major life transition. I remained cautiously optimistic with wolves of despair creeping in the shadows. As the shadows lengthen and drown the sun (or "when night falls"), the wolves will get bolder. That seems to be my routine lately. I do pretty well until the evening. Then it can get scary.

What made up my mind was experiencing a bad dose of insomnia last night. I'd had a really good talk with my dad and felt good enough to give my job another shot, but waking up at 3:30 am and finding it impossible to balance my body temperature between uncomfortably warm and uncomfortably cold proved to me that I couldn't ride the corporate merry-go-round anymore. The insomnia was clearly a sign of repressed anxiety, and if I had to repress that much just to go to work for one day, it was surely time to move on.

Mary (my boss) asked me how I was doing soon after I got in. I told her about the insomnia and my pessimism about continuing. She understood and just asked me to let her know when I decided what I wanted to do. I felt fine early on, but I knew that wouldn't last. The anxiety spiked over lunch. (Eating tends to do that.) My daily post-lunch filing session was irritatingly exhausting. After that was (mostly) done, and the clocks had inaudibly clicked two, I decided to bite the bullet.

I went into Mary's office and said I needed to quit. She asked (supportively) what made me so uncomfortable. I vaguely pointed to my current emotional "rough patch" and she accepted it. We hugged a few times. She said I was an "awesome employee." I said she was an "awesome boss." (She is. Too bad I unconsciously wanted her to be my mom.) Her eyes got kinda moist. I took down my Pissarro calendar, packed my office shoes (which I would leave in a plastic bag in a drawer at the end of each day), a crappy spare pair of ear buds, a discman instruction manual, my Toshiba Gigabeat mp3 player, the nice iPod ear buds that I use and that was it. (I forgot my Seventh Generation kleenex box.)

That was the mark I made on Corporate America after 5 years nestled in its bubonic bosom. I threw on my parka and backpack, grabbed the box of binders and split. I wasn't in too big of a hurry to leave, although I was a little wary of getting dragged into a tearful vortex by some co-workers. (I doubt they would've initiated the waterworks, but if I had started it, they certainly would've escalated.)

I'm still kinda dazed, trying to hold back the tidal wave of despair that seems poised to overwhelm me. I know most pain comes from resisting feelings, rather than from the feelings themselves. But right now there seems to be a monstrous depression piling fear on top of fear up to alpine heights, lying in wait just over the horizon. I was hoping that leaving the job would make it easier to give in to the despair and deal with it, but my anxiety about being unemployed is making it hard to let down my defenses. Now I seem to be relaxing slightly, as I wrap up my blog at Caffetto's. Hopefully this is a sign of growing comfort with my new situation.

Please keep me in your thoughts.


Note to Uptown Coffeehouses: Soft music is MUCH better than loud music. Right now I'm listening to jazz at Caffetto, which is perfect because it's quiet but it doesn't put you to sleep. Bob's Java Hut had an annoying playlist yesterday. New Wave hits of the '80s is not appropriate coffeehouse music. I love Gary Numan as much as the next guy, but there's a time and a place for his eccentric, alienated synth-pop.

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Walk | On | Red said...
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