I Quit My Job Today

I've been wanting to talk about what I do for a living for awhile now. But every time I tried to talk about my job, it always went south into how much I hated it. And since it was my only source of income, I couldn't exactly start complaining about it on the internet where they could find it and make the excuse to fire me.

But I quit today, so there's not much holding me back anymore!

Now, I know what some of you are going to think.

"Oh, look at the whiny millennial complaining that life is unfair, awwww. All jobs suck, get over it. There will always be gossips and teacher's pets and lazy bosses and grumpy seniors. Just do your fucking job."

And I mostly agree; if you told me you love your job, I'd probably not believe you. No job is really going to be perfect. There's toxic people and ideals everywhere. You just can't get away from it. Que Bowling for Soup, High School Never Ends.

But you know what saying something like that really means?

"You don't deserve to find happiness."

And I'm not okay with that. No one should be okay with that.

I recently watched the Netflix special of Bo Burnham's Make Happy. And it was the best thing I've watched in a long time. A young comedian talking about the reality of the world for young people. Toward the end of the show, which I will link here on YouTube, he said something that really struck me, because it's how I felt at my job.

"I was sort of raised in America when it was a cult of self-expression. And I was just taught, you know, express myself, have things to say, and everyone will care about them. I think everyone was taught that, and most of us found out no one gives a shit what we think... I have a privileged life and I got lucky and I'm unhappy." - Bo Burnham, Make Happy

My job made me very unhappy. I worked as an office assistant at a city police department. There was so much I loved about the job. The patrol officers were all great, helpful, and true. The pay and benefits were pretty nice. The job felt like it had meaning and purpose because I was helping to help people.

But then things started going south. The constant influx of irritating, uncooperative callers yelling at me despite me trying to help them. Getting accused of reading homicide reports to get inspiration for my stories despite zero proof and the fact I don't write crime thrillers. Being treated like I was incompetent by a supervisor because she'd forget to tell me half the instructions on something new she wanted me to do. Being forced into taking fingerprints even though I'm not a cop and was uncomfortable with signing documents that said "officer" and the general nastiness of touching other people's hands for long periods of time. Gossips that run to the supervisor if you didn't smile when you said something neutral so they took it as an insult.  Being treated like I was insubordinate for trying to express ideas on how things could be done better and faster. Decisions to change my animal control dispatching hours for no actual reason because when I'm off I'm not replaced.

I've been looking for another job for over a year because I believe that even if there's no such thing as a perfect job, I could at least try and find something better.  Because nothing was going to change there.  I've seen more than just me leave that place for good reason and nothing has changed. It's still run like a tyranny, and I doubt what I had to say would make an influence, either.

Sigh. I quit my job today. I did the right thing and gave proper notice of two weeks even though I wanted so badly to just walk off the job as soon as I got the new job offer. Even if they didn't respect me, I'd respect them.

But they sure as hell made it clear they didn't respect me.

I quit as soon as I got to work.  Four hours into my shift, I was called into the office to be told to leave and that my last two weeks would be vacation. I was supervised and escorted as I packed up my things and took them to the car like they expected me to bite someone or walk out with the cash drawer. I didn't get to stop and say goodbye to anyone or explain to my coworkers why I was leaving. I felt like that trope of two people breaking up; I had to make sure that everyone knew it was ME that did the breaking up and not the other way around. Because I knew as soon as my back was turned that the gossiping would start, and I didn't want my memory to be marred.

It was so embarrassing. And upsetting.  I gave these people four years of my life, and I got tossed out like it meant nothing to them. Goodbye, see you never. I didn't get to say even half the stuff that I wanted to say. I've been planning this giant speech in my head for a year that would probably take a couple hours to get it all out. And I barely got five minutes. Not that any of my complaints would matter.

But I have a new job lined up now which I can start even sooner since I don't have to work my two weeks. These people have been nothing but polite and supportive of my decision to leave where I was at, and while it's a much longer drive and not quite as good of benefits...what really matters is whether or not I'm happy. Because that's all I really want in life. To be happy. I hope this new job is where I can find contentment in the workplace.  And if it's not... well, I'm just not going to stop looking until I find it.

I live my own life, and I have the liberty to pursue happiness.

-Dana Lockhart


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