Go Ahead, Quit Your Job. Then What?
they’re not going to let you
sit at a front table
at some cafe in Europe
in the mid-afternoon sun.
- Charles Bukowski, Relentless as the Tarantula
When I told the last boss I ever had that I was quitting, he just nodded
He knew it was coming. In his own way, he was partly responsible for it. So was Brexit. So was my father. So were twenty-odd years of skimpy paycheques, strained muscles, and stress-induced eyelid twitches. The trouble with chasing the tributaries of the present back through the watery past is that you never really know when to stop.
I know. You’re here for story. So am I. We all are, the way the dark soil at the bottom of the pot is there for those bright white angel hair roots to dance through.
It would be a better story if he were a tyrant. Some preening asshole who demanded I show up on Saturdays without pay and slipped a finger into my wife’s asshole through her tight dress at the Christmas party.
But all I have is the truth. I have to make that grow roots instead.
He was a good guy. Still is, most likely. Running a nonprofit, channeling the money I helped him make into projects designed to improve the lives of the poorest people in his community.
Part of what made me take a big pay cut to work for him in the first place was what he called The Mission. A chance to make a difference.
In the nonprofit sector, suffering becomes a kind of credential.
I was an anomaly. No convictions. No addictions. No hard-luck stories to compare to those of my boss or the coworkers who carried chips in their pockets and tattooed sleeves on their arms, markings made from melted Biro pens to stave off the murderous boredom of prison.
My skin is clean and bare and smells vaguely of cheap soap. A couple of tattoos; a couple of scars. A radial clockwise tally would tell a tale of surgeries and cigarette burns and just a couple of wounds from knife and gun.
Compared to the Twelve Steppers, I’m a clean slate. A glory boy hired for his expertise and…