Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Poised on the Precipice

Yesterday was pretty rough for me. The only thing that kept me from telling my boss I was going to quit was her early departure. So last night I was in an emotional pit, unable to continue at my job and terrified of the abyss lying before me. I called my dad because I figured he'd be upset about my decision to quit. Sure enough, I was right. He basically said I was crazy to leave my job without having anything else lined up. He means well, but sometimes he sure knows how to destroy my confidence. After that harangue, I couldn't reach Noah, so I took an emotionally wrenching shower. My alarm was moved back an hour so I could get up just in time to call my boss and give my notice.

Despite some anguished chest pains, I got to sleep and woke up incrementally, per usual, and well-rested. The phone call to my boss came after some gut-checking, but she wasn't there so I left a message, saying I thought I needed to give my notice because just going into work was getting difficult. I ate my normal breakfast of oatmeal with applesauce. (Lame, but nutritious.) I checked the news and weather on my laptop and tried to maintain some semblance of normalcy. It took almost 2 hours for my boss to call me back. She asked me why I felt uncomfortable at work. I told her that I felt guilty about being "disengaged" and listening to my headphones all the time. She had "expressed concern" about my disengagement 2 weeks ago. She does that at least once a year. It hurts for a while, but I eventually get over it. This talk had come at a very bad time, because the night before I'd been in therapy with my parents and some old wounds had been re-opened. She's always been very nice and supportive, but it sucks when you've substituted your boss for your emotionally absent mother. Any criticism from her can be deeply wounding.

I let Mary (my boss) know that she's become a surrogate mom for me. (I'd mentioned this before.) She was very understanding and suggested I come back to avoid layering financial uncertainty on top of my already-full stress plate. I agreed to give it another shot. I hadn't wanted to quit; I just felt forced into an impossible situation because of the emotional duress caused by working through deep-rooted issues with my parents and guilt about my job performance for my surrogate mom-boss. Tomorrow I'll try and drag myself out of bed and get back to work. Doing the job is pretty easy from an emotional standpoint. Getting up before the dawn and getting ready for a pointless, mind-numbing, soul-deadening job in a dark, lonely apartment is tough. (You may not be surprised to learn that I'm beginning to have second thoughts about my decision.)

It bothers me that we (in the insurance industry) seem to profit on human misery. But that was never enough to convince me to quit. A much bigger problem seems to be the feeling that I'm letting Mary down. I'm disappointed that a relatively minor personal obstacle like that would force me to put on the brakes, while a huge public moral issue would prove no more than a speed bump. It doesn't seem like an encouraging sign for my moral rectitude.

Writing about that personal emotional stuff can be really difficult for me. Right now is a perfect example. I didn't enjoy it, but hopefully it'll help me deal with this shit. What I really wanted to write about is what I did this afternoon, but I already know it won't be as long and it probably won't be as popular as this emotional post. Oh well. That's just how it goes for us writers sometimes.

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