I "Lost" My Job
And I'm not looking for it.
This month, I lost my job.
Or more accurately, I took voluntary severance before gambling whether or not I’d be “let go”.
Officially bowing out marks the end of an eight year employment stint—my longest commitment to almost anything.
And truthfully, this longest commitment was never something that felt like “me”. It was a job that I never saw lasting as long as it did.
But time is tricky.
It’s difficult to predict how long (or short) a chapter will be. Moreover, it’s hard to measure the opportunity cost and what exactly we give up by staying in a place that isn’t “us”.
Despite writing about reclaiming our individual shameless, I was spending the majority of my day feeling stuck. While I was pushing within comfortable confines, I was avoiding the leap that could reveal my net.
I wanted to jump, but logic always prevailed. I had too much control to rage quit, too much pride to “silent quit”, and too few prospects to make it justifiable.
I didn’t want to fall. Or fail.
Over many months and with increasing fervor, I put it out there—aloud and during high-intensity cardio—that I just needed a buffer to quit. And jump.
I felt ready to take a safe, running hobble but wasn’t willing to “flying squirrel it” over the Grand Canyon.
So, when the chance to self-terminate (with a mediocre severance package) fell into my lap, I took it. I knew that this was my shot at a bubble-wrapped quit. Or a “graceful firing” (if you fancy).
This was the jump avec parachute that I’d asked for—served on a silver runway.
And here we are.
For years, I’ve placed so much emphasis on the moment where I no longer have to endure two-hour Zoom calls nor feign financially obligated interest.
It’s exciting to no longer be tethered and to not know what tomorrow will bring. At the same time, it’s scary.
It’s scary because I’m someone with three mortgages (yes, you’ve read that correctly). I am the person that seniors and the risk-averse smirk about with a schadenfreude, ill-willed thin lip. I am among the over-leveraged. I could be the “if the real estate bubble bursts…” told-you-so story.
And worst of all, I’m not naive. I am not ignorant to the type of freedom that coincides with being in a stable, well-paying 9-5. But, this is not the type of freedom that I crave. Not right now, anyways.
I am ready to be forced to change. I want to see what happens post-hobble when I combine my aversion to corporate bullshit with a healthy dose of fear.
Will desperation spin up a creative response to my overwhelming “what now”?
Will I manage to gate-keep my next opportunity until landing on something that is “me”?
Will I earn a reason to get hair extensions?
While this whole thing feels like a long-awaited answer, I have a lot of questions. And herein lines the excitement scaries—which admittedly, have entered the physical realm in the form of binge eating Christmas cookies to 90-Day Fiancé (*chef’s kiss*).
Having carte blanche to design a day around liberation, my own projects, and self-run productivity has been well, paralyzing. It’s intimidating to no longer have my trusty, ol’ faithful excuses.
And so far, I find myself mostly acting like I have a job.
I wake up early, spend time on my computer, and fill in tedious applications to jobs that I don’t really want. I obsess about not hearing back from said jobs, enter contests (I wish this was untrue), Peloton, waste time, and then occasionally, play hooky in the afternoon. I write in cafes, order roasted vegetable paninis, and peruse local thrift stores for vintage stemware (I even pretended to start an Instagram resale account—don’t worry, I won’t). In the evenings, I resume my usual evening things. Then, repeat.
I am still figuring it out.
I know that deprogramming takes time, so I’m trying to be patient. Plus, the holidays are a distraction with a bounty of excuses (that I *will* be taking advantage of). And I hope you do too.
My Christmas wish—for us both—is that we have the creativity and spunk to rethink the prohibitive boundaries that we draw around ourselves.
But above all else, I wish for the real estate market to hold.
Happy Holidays and thank you for sharing in the best of my 2023. Go eat beige M&M apps and be merry. Then, it's back to business (and shameless).