I Quit

Aug 26, 2014 by

“I would rather die of passion than of boredom.”

– Vincent van Gogh


          “I asked one of my co-workers, who’s from Europe, about the weather in Paris during the winter,” I told Olivia yesterday. “She said their winters aren’t like ours. Apparently, Europe has had worse winters than usual over the last few years, like we have, but winter in Europe is nothing compared to winter in Canada. She said it snows sometimes in Paris, but it’s usually just wet.”

          Olivia smiled at me in that way she does when she knows I’m contemplating some plan I’m not yet ready to admit I’m calculating. I have this thing about not saying things before I’m sure I’m going to do them. I follow through. I wouldn’t want to be the girl who cried Paris.

          “She asked me why I was asking,” I continued. “When I didn’t really answer, she encouraged me to go have fun while I’m young.”

          She was talking more to herself than to me. She’s career-oriented. She regrets not travelling more when she was in her twenties. She’s only 32, but she evidently considers herself too old to take time away from her desk. She thinks life has rules. She hasn’t yet learned that if we have rules, we’ve made them ourselves. I have friends older than 32 that still dance downtown until the lights come on, regardless of their jobs, their wedding rings, or their kids. Thirty-two is not too old to enjoy your life. There is no age limit on that. There is only self-inflicted pressure to “stick it out,” because conventional wisdom says so and too few people question its validity – because people seem to think it’s a demonstration of strength. Darling readers, withstanding a shitty job does not make you strong; it makes you compliant. Let’s review some more fucked-up conventional wisdom, shall we?

          “Don’t be a quitter,” society tells us, as if staying in a situation you hate is brave. Corporate slaves aren’t courageous; they’re scared of life without a regular paycheque. People don’t climb the ladder because they grew up dreaming of meeting rooms and conference calls. They climb for the illusion of security, and that is a choice. I am not a corporate puppet. I work in the corporate world, but the office I walk into five days weekly has no control over my life, because I don’t frame my job as the be-all and end-all of my livelihood, the way most people do. My job is just a job. It is a means to an end. It is my save-for-Europe plan. When I quit my last job, my goal was to find a standard 9-to-5, because I wanted work-life balance. I didn’t care what the job was, as long as it paid my living costs, allowed me to save, and ended at five o’clock. (Unexpected bonus: The job I got came with fabulous friends.) When I started my current job, I didn’t care that it bored me or that I’m way too smart for the role and the company. I just wanted an easy paycheque.

          When I started, I had no passion. I hated everything about my life. There was nothing I could think to do with myself for general enjoyment, let alone something I could think to do for 40 hours per week to painlessly generate an income. That is no longer so. Now, I write. I write with such love that I unintentionally lose sleep for it because I lose track of the time. I have a passion; and, with that, I can no longer justify wasting eight hours per day, five days per week entering data for a company that I don’t give a shit about. I could be writing instead. I could be doing anything instead. Society may say to stick it out and society may look down upon quitters, but society doesn’t make the rules.

Happiness Tip: There are no rules.

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