I quit, and it was petulant. I disagreed with the way my manager dealt with me, so I responded out of proportion to reality and in proportion to how entitled I am. I wanted to be important immediately, skip the corporate ladder bullshit and be lauded for how smart I am. I wanted responsibility and autonomy, and when I didn’t get it, I responded like a child who isn’t allowed to stay up late with the adults. This was a tantrum that got out of hand, causing me to forget that my desires are not the most important thing in the world.
I quit, and it was far-seeing. I realized that even adjusting for the ups and downs of the beginning of a job, I knew and understood that The Company wasn’t a good fit. My coworkers were not the kind of people who bring me joy or teach me how to be a better person. My work was unfulfilling and my paycheck an empty promise. Many people carry on the charade of being invested in useless endeavors, but I chose not to wed myself to a hopeless situation.
I quit, and it was God’s plan for me. Just like it was God’s plan for me to be out of work for a few months, he (in his great wisdom) gave me the opportunity to be frustrated by an underwhelming disappointment of a job. He called me to quit The Company, so I could explore the other options he has for me. Safe in his will, guided by his spirit, I will soon find the work to which God calls me.
I quit, and it was meaningless. The Company can find another drudge to upload documents and click “send” or “submit” all day. They will find someone more tractable, someone more reliable and less grasping. It’s my loss, financially and professionally, if I don’t understand that, if I don’t realize how little I matter. I am replaceable. Worthless. An appendix that burst and was removed. Just an emptier cubicle, a few extra documents for the new hire (who is less of a pain in the ass than I ever was) to work on.
I quit, and it was brave. Staying with The Company was a safe bet: I could have continued with the easy work, the long vacations, and the reliable pay. I went for what I wanted and what felt right rather than what was safe. I will apply to seminary, I will spend time writing, and I will seek out volunteer opportunities that feed my soul and do nothing for my bank account, my resume, or my rationally-foreseeable future.
I quit, and it is lonely. No one would look at me while I cleaned out my desk. My coworkers did not say goodbye. “Do you have a minute?” my manager asked, the day after I gave my two weeks notice. I followed him to the office of the woman who hired me. She asked me what went wrong, and when I lied and said nice things instead of the truth she told me to turn in my keys and, effectively, get out. I went home to my cat and my couch and looked out the window at the leaves filling in the skeletal trees.
Elaine Schnabel (’11) spent her twenties traveling, blogging, and earning various master’s degrees. Now earning her PhD at the University of North Carolina in organizational communication, Elaine researches and writes at the intersection of religion and communication. You can find her blogging at Religious (Not Crazy).