I quit the lacrosse team when I was a junior in high school. It was mid-season, and it was all very dramatic: I wrote the coach a 750-word letter and told him that I couldn’t continue playing.
I remember talking to my dad about this before I made the final decision. I was voicing my frustrations, and thinking that he would be disappointed, and say something like, “Barty, you don’t quit just because you don’t like your boss.” Or, “Keep pushing, keep trying, and finish out the year.” Instead, he asked, “When you realize you’re going in the wrong direction, when’s the right time to turn around?”
I was back in Massachusetts a couple weeks ago, and I told my parents that I wish I was the kind of person who started things. I wish that I was a doer. I wish all the ideas I’ve had, all the times I’ve said, wouldn’t it be cool if—that I actually followed through. Am I quitter? Do I give up on everything easily? I’ve never possessed the do whatever it takes attitude that we revere in this country—except for that time in ninth grade when I finished a bottle of whiskey at my friend’s beach house and then threw up for the next three days.
Quit. Quitter. Quitting. We have so many negative connotations associated with this word—loser, failure, unmotivated, “someone who lacks the courage to finish a task.” This is probably why we try to make leaving your job sound better: “transitioning,” “moving forward,” “next steps,” “leaving.” Because you don’t quit things. You simply shift. If you quit one thing, who’s to say that you won’t quit everything else in your life? Your marriage, your kids, that 1000-piece puzzle that includes like ninety freaking percent sky, and is almost certainly missing an edge piece. Quitting, when other people are involved, is extremely difficult for me because I like to make people happy. Quitting invariably means that I’m not making someone happy.
Middle English QUIT: exempt, freed, acquitted of.
Freed. Acquitted of. I’m in the honeymoon phase of being exempt, freed, and acquitted of work. Sort of. I got my last paycheck a week ago, which makes this whole thing feel very real, I am, however, not done working until the fifteenth. When that ends, I’ll travel to Europe for a month. When that ends, I don’t have anything lined up. Career experts would tell you this is “not good.”
I’m happy, though, because I’m realizing that quitting is doing. I’m not complaining about anything, I’m not blaming anyone for anything, I’m not making excuses. It’s a firm decision that flies in the face of apathy and indecisiveness. It’s improving. Do you know how many people I’ve made happy by quitting? None. Which is a really rebellious and refreshing feeling for me.
The truth is, quitting your job isn’t that glamorous. I know that, and I wrote a lot more in this vein, but I had to save it for later because I’m so excited to be done! I’m excited about the future. I can’t keep up this somber, “I know I shouldn’t be excited, and I should be doing this with the knowledge that hardships lie ahead, and life is hard and bad, and a bird in hand is worth any number free to wander.” I can’t keep acting like I’m sad to be done. I loved my time at my job, but I’m tired of working from my apartment, listening to the conversations of the workers through the walls. (I know, I know. There are no workers, I’ve lost the plot.)
I’m so excited to not call high school students. Come on! Yes! There aren’t enough fist-pumps in the world to express my joy.
I know that when I tell people, “I’m quitting my job and backpacking around Europe”, it sounds romantic, and adventurous, and generally freaking sweet, but in reality…yeah it’s actually freaking sweet! I’m psyched out of my mind. I don’t need to tell you everywhere we’re going, but here’s everywhere we’re going: Ireland, England, France, Spain, Italy, maybe Switzerland (I don’t know if we’ll have enough time!), Germany, and Austria. If you’re reading this and you’re thinking, “Oh you should totally stay with me! Or my friend in ________ !” Then get at me, please.
If you want to keep track of how two single guys, who have done almost no planning, attack (metaphorically, I should say that for legal purposes) the continent of Europe, you can follow my blog. https://barttocci.wordpress.com
Bart Tocci (’11) lives in Boston where he writes essays, performs at open mics, and threatens to start taco restaurants. He’s been told that he looks like the kind of guy who stands up for what’s right. And who goes to the store before the party. Read more here: barttocci.wordpress.com