Tuesday, August 21, 2012

a final thought on quitting.


Today is my last day of work at my current job before starting at The Bookshelf full-time tomorrow, and you should know: No matter how exciting or fun the opportunity and the possibility, quitting is never easy.

Yesterday, I cleaned out my desk, and unlike my first job post-college, I actually filled an entire box with my belongings. I've worked in my current position for just shy of three years, so there were mounds of paper to recycle, old business contacts to go through, and pictures to remove from the wall.

My office is perhaps the most depressing thing in my life right now, which I suppose, in the grand scheme, is a good thing. I only have to endure it for a few more hours, after all.

With the tear-down, though, came the nostalgia. I've learned so much at this job, grown so much professionally. It's hard to turn in my digital recorder, hard to conduct that last interview, hard to admit I won't be working in journalism anymore, a field I really, truly love.

It's hard to shake the doubts, to comprehend the loss of income, the loss of benefits. It's hard to ignore the "what-on-earth-are-you-thinking?" looks, the "why-are-you-jeopardizing-your-career?" positions, but for every fleeting doubt there is a more permanent happiness.

Yes, quitting is hard, particularly for an over-achiever like me who has always thought quitting was a bit of a dirty word, to be avoided at all cost on principle's sake.

But if there is one thing adulthood has consistently taught me, it's this: Quitting is not synonymous with giving up.

I'm saying goodbye to this job, to my coworkers, to my very first real office. But I'm saying yes to books, to storytimes, to author signings, to practical lessons that will come with helping to run a local business.

I'm quitting one thing so I can start another, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

I'm proud of the work I've done here, of what I've accomplished professionally, of what I've contributed to my home financially.

But I am not hesitant to leave. I have thought and prayed over this decision, and I am confident in it.

Jordan and I talked a lot before we made this leap, and I remember sitting in Whataburger asking, "What if this fails? What if, in a year or in a few months, the store closes? Then what?"

He didn't skip a beat.

"Then you'll find a new job armed with more experience than you  had before. You'll get to see if running a bookstore is something you'd really like to do. Worst comes to worst, you'll have to find a new job. But think of all you'll have learned and experienced in just one year of doing this."

A couple of years ago, I quit graduate school, withdrew from my program after one semester of solid B work. I just couldn't hack working full-time and going to school. I couldn't do it.

It's hard for me to admit the things I cannot do. But when I finally did? There was such freedom.

I'd like to think that very tough decision two years ago prepared me for this one. It made it a little easier to turn in my resignation, easier to overcome the blow to my ego when my boss wouldn't let me work part-time, easier to take this leap into the world of retail.

Quitting, I think, isn't as bad as we make it out to be.

In fact, if we're quitting for the right reasons, I'd say it's downright good for us.

I quit my job, and I'm a little bit sad about it.

I think the key to quitting successfully, though, is to face straight ahead, to remain confident in the decision you've made, and to march forward into a newer, grander adventure.

That's what I intend to do.

10 comments:

Jordan Jones said...

I agree, and I'm looking forward to seeing what this new job brings.

Jordan Jones said...

I agree, and I'm looking forward to seeing how your passions are unleashed at this new job!

Kate said...

Love this post! And good for you, Annie! I hope the bookstore is the perfect place for you.

algvtma said...

This series of posts is so inspiring, mostly because they are so honest. I love the part about freedom coming from being honest about what you cannot do. I've thought about going to grad school, but I really don't know if I can handle it or even if I want to.

I wish you the very best in your new endeavor! Working in a bookshop? Definitely jealous.

Melissa said...

Annie, congratulations on the decision you and Jordan have made together! You know how much Carl and I love you and that we stand behind your new adventure! The world you are stepping into has also been a dream of Carl's...he has published one book, and has begun another, and having a book store and the possibility of having more time to write has whirled around in his mind for years. We will come visit soon, armed with some coffee and time to browse and contemplate the possibilities! Love & hugs! M

Faith said...

You are inspiring, Annie! I wish you all the best as you embark on this adventure.

Laura {RealHomeLiving} said...

Hope you have a great last day! Change is always hard, even if you're happy with the decision you made. I'm so glad you're feeling affirmed in your decision in so many different ways. Can't wait to see how you like the bookstore!

jenna said...

Annie Butterworth Jones,
You are a movie star.
Seriously.
I read your posts, and I can see you.
Reading your blog and your life is like a good movie.
Seems you are living a pretty good story! ;)
Nicely done.
(Because HE is good at writing good scripts for our lives when we let HIM, isn't HE?) :)

Erin said...

This is probably one of the hardest lessons I have had to learn in becoming an adult, that quitting is not the same thing as giving up. Sometimes quitting is what is best for us.

Syd said...

What a great post. Very honest.

I too have a hard time admitting that I can't do something or just moving on to something new. My undergraduate was in English teaching, something I had wanted to do since I was in junior high/high school. After my first year of teaching I realized that it wasn't something that made me truly happy. I struggled with feeling like I had failed somehow, especially when I thought it was what God wanted me to do. In the end, I realized that all the hard work and experience was indeed what He wanted, but that it was also ok to move on to other experiences for the time being and trust that I was on the right path regardless of its unplanned twists and turns.

Good luck with your new job. I admit, I am rather jealous :)

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