I quit my job. Actually, I resigned, formally, with a letter. Apparently ‘quitting’ is for when you work at Dairy Queen or the Gap, but resigning is for grown-ups. This was a very, very difficult decision for me for several reasons. Most obviously, I feel a lot of responsibility for the well-being and progress of my clients. By leaving, I am essentially abandoning them until someone else takes up their cause. And language barriers being what they are, I find it somewhat impossible to explain the complicated myriad of reasons as to why I’m leaving them. Secondly, it was a major accomplishment for me to even get this job in the first place. My two-year Euro-hiatus was amazingly decadent in a very simple way, and the life lessons and wordly tutilage were aplenty. But the idea of having an actual job that might relate to potentially having an actual career was enticing, not to mention one of the major reasons why we came back to the States for this season. So quitting makes me feel like, well, a quitter who has let down her clients, herself, and her husband. I’m just dramatic enough to have thoughts like that.
When I look on the situation objectively, I realize I am most certainly making the right decision. I could not have known the organizational situation I would be walking into when I first enthusiastically accepted the position. I can’t keep a job that makes me feel miserable and useless just because I don’t want to appear like a failure. I have to accept the truth that I may not have found my path yet, as far as work goes, and that many people haven’t by the age of 27. I have to remember my own words from six months ago and realize that my passion for life, not my passion for professional advancement or achievement, is what makes each day worth living.
Financially, quitting my job halfway through the season when there are virtually no jobs to be found and bills to be paid and a visa to be bought might not be the best idea. But money does not buy happiness. It does buy food, shelter, utilities and chapstick, the essentials of life. But we are lucky enough to be in a position from which we are unlikely to starve or become homeless. I have a backup plan, I’ll still be pulling my weight and chipping in for the chapstick and other staples. And perhaps most importantly, I have a husband who supports me, trusts me, and takes care of me even if I’ll never admit that I sometimes need to be taken care of. He watches our dollars and cents carefully, but he also has the sense to know that his sanity comes at the expense of my sanity, and he’ll pay a lot to keep me sane. He’s wise beyond his years.
The truth is that I have discovered that I’m not even on the right path to getting to the right path for me. It may be that choices made and opportunities pursued at age 20 might not have been informed enough and I’m now left with what seems like time lost and money wasted while the best bet for my professional future sits within reach. Within reach but somewhat untouchable because of the time and money that are required to accomplish that goal, not to mention the pride that has to be swallowed in order to admit that I may have been wrong with my first guess at what would make me happy. Both of my parents, the best role models a girl could ever want, have had lifelong careers, started in their mid-twenties, and both of them have had great success in their professions. I know, like most parents, they just want me to be happy and if making a change makes me happy, they’ll support me. My husband, while not yet started on his ‘real-life’ career, has a job that pays him for doing the thing he loves most in the world, and he’s good at it. We both know that hockey will, ineveitably, come to an end, and he will have to answer the question that strikes fear into the hearts of many minor league professional atheletes: What’s next? But until then he has what most people only dream of and what I still hope to find. Everyone in the family I married into has a job that they seem to have always known they wanted, and they do it well and with gusto. Can you feel the pressure I’m under?
The fear of letting my parents, my in-laws and Dave down weighs on my heavily, because it occurs to me that people with such love for and success within their professions can’t understand the regret and confusion of someone who still hasn’t found their groove. In reality, they all love and support me in a way that is almost sickeningly encouraging. How can I throw a proper pity party if everyone stands behind me so solidly? Instead I have to decide to be the spicy weirdo of our family, the wandering gypsy woman who collects experiences until one day she opens up her bag and finds that they were all parts to one whole. I take signs from the universe and interpret them the way I see fit. If I get a sign telling me to build a teepee on the front yard sell homemade soap, I’ll do it with the support of an entire family of passionate professionals. What better comfort is there for a quitter?