Sunday, July 15, 2007


So I quit my job.

Hm-m-m... maybe a little farther back than that.

When I started this job at a large state university five years ago, I loved it. I had been trying for a year and a half to find work here, and I was so proud and happy to finally be part of the university community. And, you know, that good feeling lasted for a while - maybe three, three and a half years. I loved what I was doing, I loved the people I worked with, and I actually felt like I was helping kids learn to successfully navigate the university system.

I was good at my job. Everyone said so. I was eager to learn more. I wanted to know how the processes in our office hooked up to the processes in other offices. I took on more and more tasks that would have never even been offered to my scatter-brained predecessor. And, looking back, I don't quite know when the tipping point was, but I began to realize that not only was my plate full, it was more than full, and really, I just couldn't do any more. I had somehow ended up with all the tasks that my higher-ups hated to do, and had less and less time to do the things that made me feel fulfilled. Having never been the shy, retiring type, I relayed this to my supervisor: "hey, I would like to take that on for you, but, really, I just don't have the time for it". To my absolute surprise, not only did she disregard my repeated efforts to get this message across to her, but she began to view me as a malcontent, someone whose concerns need not be taken seriously.

My concerns were not just for my own position, but for the office as a whole, which had once been a happy, productive place to work, but increasingly was not. People left, and when they were replaced, the replacements left too. We began to have too many chiefs and not enough Indians, as the saying goes, and the work load fell unfairly on too few shoulders. After many attempts to point this out, I screwed up my courage and went across the hall to take my concerns to upper management. How kindly I was treated there! The Big Man seemed genuinely interested in what I was saying, took notes as we spoke, thanked me for letting him know how things really were. Do you think anything changed after that? It did not. And how silly and and naive I was to think that it might.

Lest you think otherwise, let me tell you that everyone likes me here. My desk used to be where everyone hung out when they had a spare minute. I downloaded a photo of a water cooler and taped it there: our "virtual water cooler". One of my student workers has become like a daughter to me, and she and I vacationed together earlier this year. Another co-worker has consistently referred to me as "the crazy glue that holds this office together". These people are my office family in the truest sense. We have gone through baby showers and funerals, weddings and divorces together. And it is hard to leave them now.

But I find that, without exaggeration, for the sake of my own mental and physical well-being, it is time for me to go.

So I quit my job.

1 comment:

Ben said...

Congratulations Anne! The part leading up to quitting is the hardest, and you're through that now. I support your decision without reservation. Enjoy the ride!

BTW, this blog is a great idea too. I look forward to watching it grow and develop. Good luck honey!