Friday, August 19, 2011

I am thinking about quitting my job.

I am thinking about quitting my day job. There I said it. That instantly makes it more real. It represents, in a small way, a commitment to follow through on something I have been thinking for months now. Over the last eight months, I've enjoyed phenomenal success at the business I started. I'm finally turning a livable profit after taxes, expenses, etc. and it looks sustainable. I have doubts, but I'm willing to ride it out and see where it goes.

Looking into the future has also prompted me to look at the past and how I got here. Sometimes I think it must seem a little weird to those who know I spent a good amount of my life energy in graduate school, toiling away to earn a PhD, to not be using it. Every once in a while someone makes a comment implying it's a waste. I understand where that notion comes from, but to me, it hasn't been a waste. I don't believe I have squandered my education because I'm not a professor, a practicing psychologist, or doing research somewhere.

The truth is, I've had opportunities to go down that path and I've decided not to take them. It's a matter of quality of life. I enjoyed teaching. I didn't enjoy preparing lectures or powerpoint slides. I really hated the rigamarole of publishing research. Conducting research had its excitement, but mostly it was complete drudgery. I enjoyed some grading, and some reading of papers, but I hated developing the tests and assessment measures. In the end, the overwhelming amount of work involved meant I had to make a lot of sacrifices. I sacrificed relaxation. I sacrificed spending time with my family. I sacrificed exercising. I sacrificed having friends. It was awful.

So by choosing to avoid academia, I made a decision to add all of those things back to my life and was successful, at least up until the start of the last 8 months. Along the way, I picked up a job working at a daily newspaper on deadline, designing and editing pages, writing headlines and cutlines. That work was *easy* money. Compared to what I had been doing, and the demands on my brain, ironically daily newspaper deadline work made me feel like a slacker. Right around the time I started doing that to bide my time while I searched for the *perfect academic position* <<<----doesn't exist, I started my papermaking business. When I found the wedding market, and the wedding market found me, things exploded. I started working 80 hour weeks again.

So now here I am 8 months later, right back where I was, working too many hours, losing sleep, not getting exercise, not spending quality time with my family.

I've come to realize that keeping the newspaper job I picked up has become incompatible with my life. So I am think I need to give my notice. Unfortunately this epiphany, if that's what it's called, will come at a really bad time for them. Another newsroom person who played a vital role gave his notice a week ago. Rather than hiring a replacement, they've decided to redistribute his work to other people in the department, and I am one of them. I think that has played a small role in the impetus to do something now rather than later. I just feel bad. Bad because they won't replace me, so my coworkers will e asked to do more work and they haven't been getting raises, benefits have been cut, etc. The newspaper industry is what it is. In a decline. You could say I am fleeing the sinking ship.

I've been working there 4 years now. I think it is one of the longest, if not the longest, times I have spent working for one place. So it's not easy to leave, and I don't really want to because there are some aspects of the job that are very rewarding. A) There is nothing like working on a deadline, day after day, every day. It keeps you sharp. There is no room for procrastination or slacking. It's good to stay practiced at that. B) I love having a mainline to current events. C) My husband and I get to work together.

At this point though, the costs exceed the benefits so my plan tomorrow after I have a long deserved spa day, is to go talk to my boss to let him know. I may do it before I got to the spa so I can decompress afterward.

The bottom line is, I have got to make a change. But also, I am not ready to just completely quit. My hope is that I can convince them to keep me on 1 day a week and then fill in 'on call' and when someone else in on vacation. I don't know if that's going to be feasible for them, but it would be a way for me to keep a foot in the door, keep the quality of life benefits of working there, and allow them to not have to immediately find a replacement or overwork who is left. Should be interesting.

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