Apr 6, 2011

A toast to the Brave People who quit with no other job: A sort of true story.

There are some questions we seldom ask ourselves because we don't think we need to. I for one think that it's maybe because we never picture being at particular moments in life when, well... a tough moment comes along. We always think we'll be ok, so when bad things happen we usually feel lost. At first, anyways.

In my ad life, I've hated - and I mean TRULY hated some places I've worked at. There is one agency that I refuse to drive even near to because it just makes me anxious. At another agency, I developed a sort of anxiety attack so bad, it has never truly left and when I'm really stressed out, it manifests to this day. Another agency made me cry myself to sleep everytime I came home from work for five months straight. You see kiddies, there is no crying in baseball but there is a shitload of weeping and going all out bonkers crying in advertising.

But in all those miserable years, I never could muster the guts to quit my job without a backup plan. I claim to have balls... but not that kind. Those balls are more than golden. More than anything. People who actually quit their jobs without having anything to back them up are the soldiers of true valor. I have always have had much respect for those people, because they quit on moral grounds. They are willing to leave all behind on the premise that they are unhappy and that they do not deserve to feel that way.

I have a theory that I could have never done that because I come from poverty. I already know how it feels to have nothing and work your way up to at least a decent living. I saw my Mom and myself have nothing to eat. I remember candles, I remember welfare. I remember getting hand-me-downs. I remember my mother crying, not knowing what would happen next. Those types of memories impress you so hard, you grow up different. You grow up knowing that no matter what, you have to work for a living, you have to give it your all just so that you don't suffer like that, ever again. It becomes a thing that you don't want to go back to. So then, not working, the uncertainty of life... well, it's not your cup of tea. So in all my life, I just grinned and held on, bleeding and crying all the way to a better job (if that is even possible). I never played with fire and I always thought that making that "no-backup-I-quit" is a gamble that is a complete mistake.

I thought so... until today.

Now, I am torn between applauding true grit... and worrying myself to death. You see, my best friend is thinking about quitting her job and starting all over - just because she truly, and I mean TRULY hates every single second of her work. She doesn't even hate it mildly, like we all do our jobs. She hates it with sheer passion, she cannot handle even one day more.

I don't know what to think. You see, it's kind of different when you think of people who you don't know doing this valiant thing... and then there are people that you truly care about, that you truly love and would give an arm or a leg for them in a split second. She is the sister that my Mom never had, the friend that people wish for and never get.

What is the right choice? Should you leave and find a decent and happier life without knowing what will happen next? Or should you hang in there, gird your loins and hunt your way out of hell? Jesus. What a difficult choice. Because there is getting fired - it was not your choice. But this is one decision that is like a leap of faith like no other in the whole world... you are choosing to risk it all, to maybe experience what could be the worst of life's moments... just so that you respect yourself and feel truly happy.

I honestly don't know what to tell my dearest friend of all time. I for one think that she deserves to be happy and that this current job is truly hell. I've heard her reasons, and they are rock solid. This is not caused by frustration alone, or boredom. This comes from an abusive work environment. The worst of its kind. So it makes perfect sense. If your husband (or wife) beats you to death, you pack up and leave. You don't wait around to see if you meet a better person, right?

But on the other hand, I worry that she is not thinking clearly, and that she might end up in a rot that is too deep for me to get her out of. She does have responsibilities, she does need to pay her bills. But in the other hand, seeing her so miserable, so stressed out, so truly sad breaks my heart on a daily basis.

What to do... what to say.

All I said to her today while we were talking about her choices - which, by the way, are very complex because of other reasons besides her alone - is that she needs to be where she feels better. If she feels there is no other possible way and that she truly cannot even just do it mechanically, then she should quit. If this job puts her health and mind in jeopardy, then there is no other choice but to leave.

I still am at loss of words, and for sure I will not sleep for quite a while, worried for one of the greatest friends that life gave me. But this problem, I cannot solve. I cannot tell what to do, I cannot even give an opinion. 'Cause I never had those balls. Maybe I'm too methodical, too organized... or too chicken shit to do that.

A toast to ballsy people, all over the world. My hat off to you. And to my friend... you don't need to worry. Get in there and jump.

No matter what, I'll catch you. Somehow.


Jake P. said...

Me, I'm incredibly sorry to hear about your friend's trials and tribulations. Bad deal.

I quit my last corporate job to go freelance -- and needed to support a stay-at-home wife and two kids under 5. My co-workers and boss were stunned that I was ditching a "great job," and my wife was fully supportive though a bit scared. Anyway, I don't know if it took balls or not, but it was the best business (and personal) decision I ever made. I'll have been in business for myself 12 years in August.

Please wish her good luck for me.

Me said...

Sometimes I think this is happening for a reason. Maybe she needs to grow up... and maybe I have to learn not to worry so much about her and let her learn on her own (she's my kid sister/kid).

Thank you so much for your kind words, I'll give her your good wishes.

Lucila said...

She's going to be fine. Anyone with those balls will and having you as a friend...what better backbone?! Not because you are going to do it for her but because you are there to listen and hold her hand. :)

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