Calling It Quits

On the heels of our Vegas getaway, I’ve decided to go ahead and call it quits at work. I’ll be pulling the plug today. It just makes more sense to go ahead and end this now, before I get asked to move a baby grand.

While it’s been nice to get a paycheck, I need to shift my time, attention, and energy away from the past and towards the future. My immediate job prospects, my future career path and my future role as a mother, for starters. It’s hard for me to think about my future self as a mother when I am so preoccupied with not being unemployed, so let’s look at the other two.

The future career path is so undetermined, so hard for me to wrap my mind around. A few years ago, I did career counseling. The pathway that my counselor recommended as a best fit for me was to get to a place where I could balance working part-time in something that is more, um, mindless, I guess, for lack of a better word – retail, baking – anything other than sitting at a computer – with writing part-time in order to harness my creativity and direct it towards something that is more personally fulfilling. (With the larger end goal of tipping the scales more towards writing as a long-term career.) That all really resonated with me. And still does – I’d still like to get there eventually as it sounds lovely. But right now, that seems really far off. I just need a paycheck. So on to my immediate job prospects…

While we were in Las Vegas, I spent a ton of time looking online for jobs, by which I mean napping and listening to podcasts. And also looking for work. (They’re really one and the same. Surfing the job listings would get me so discouraged at my prospects that I would shut the laptop and resume lying in the fetal position while listening to This American Life).

There are the jobs I would want but for which I am absolutely not qualified – proven blogger with readership numbers large enough to make it possible for me to work for myself, for example; the jobs I qualify for but don’t want – social media campaign coordinator, anyone? I’d rather shoot myself; and the work that I once enjoyed but which would entail a huge reduction in pay – retail, that would be you.

I decide I shouldn’t even bother applying for the jobs for which I’m absolutely not qualified. A total waste of my time and energy. The ones that I qualify for but don’t want? Well…they would bring in a paycheck, so I probably should at least keep them on the list. And the work I once enjoyed? First I’d have to convince someone that I really do have experience in retail…even if that was 11 years ago…and then I’d have to be able to absorb the decrease in income in order to possibly achieve an increase in satisfaction. I mean, who’s to say I’d still enjoy retail? Or that what I enjoyed about it was something other than the work itself – a more casual work environment, a variable schedule, not having to report to work before 10 a.m…That’s all stuff I’d have to consider…if I could just get an employer to consider me.

It’s so discouraging to apply via some nameless, faceless, generic online portal. Okay, I get it. This is just how jobs get filled these days, and without the web, how the hell else would you find work? And employers need an efficient way to screen out unqualified applicants. But it makes it really difficult for those of us who are trying to switch careers. No matter how many job openings I’ve looked at, I have yet to see a question prompt for: “I did something completely different for more than 10 years but the following applicable skills and experience are directly relevant to this opening (list and explain in detail here).” It’s hard to make my work experience fit in the boxes provided when I’m trying to think outside the box.

With all of that weighing on my mind, I was looking at job ad after job ad, and I just kept seeing language that indicated that positions were to be filled quickly (e.g., “Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled” as opposed to the more traditional “Initial close date is XYZ though applications will continue to be accepted and reviewed until position is filled”), so time is of the essence in closing in on my best near-term job prospects. I’m done standing around at my current dead-end (literally) job. I go home at the end of each day exhausted, only to have to scroll through websites looking for new job postings and pull together an application somewhere between dinner and bed – a very narrow window these days. I’ve decided to quit today so that I can devote 24/7 to finding a job pronto. When I leave today, I will neatly pack my museum work past into an archival, acid-free box, and label with a teeny tiny catalog label (reading “best intentions” or something along those lines), and get my ass home to find my new job. Bonus: my new commute from the bedroom to the living room is going to be epic.