Leave It To The Universe

Photo by Etienne Girardet on Unsplash

June 24th 2018, I have been wanting to quit my job for 3 years, 8 months, 3 weeks, 2 days, 3 hours and thousands of almond-capuccinos, ie 2 days after I started. And guess what? I feel like I have tried everything, — which of course I haven’t — and yet I am still there, I am still here, I am still.

Have you ever heard about golden-cage jobs? Well, I like to think at mine more like a golden hamster-wheel, so instead of swinging, I am running around A LOT, keeping super-busy, feeling like I am earning my lunch, but, alas, motion is not (necessarily) progress.

I get away with a prestigious position based in one of the world most beautiful capitals, a generous salary, excellent working conditions, benefits, health insurance, pension, long vacations, you name it.
On the other side of the coin, I have a stale, don’t-you-dare to-raise-the-bar job, a place held together by hierarchy and a tight straitjacket called bureaucracy.

All cosy in my padded cage, I am not in a “bad job”, I am in a meaningless job, a job in which I can not find meaning, and this scares the hell out of me. True, it allows me all mods cons, yet it is sucking up the sap of an otherwise extremely creative, passionate, and always ready-to-learn human being. A person who wakes up early to meditate, write, and exercise before her first coffee, to find meaning and purpose beyond nine-to-five, that person is ME.

Welcome to my world, please do not close the door behind you.

During these 3 years, 8 months, 3 weeks, 2 days, 3 hours, I have ruminated through all the stages of grief:

Denial: It is 2014 and nobody in the communications department has ever heard of, let alone use, Twitter. Not even the person who thinks highly about her social media skills. It is not sooo bad, they will quickly catch up with reality, I am okeish, and anyhow I can quit any time I want, even now, or maybe later.

Anger: How can somebody like me, possibly work in a place like this? I deserve better, I am so much better, and I hate, like H A T E this place: the pinkish-orange of the toilet tiles, the selection of 23 different free Nespresso pods in the cafeteria, the voice of the lift, seriously? Please Lord, get me outta here I’m going crazy.

Bargaining: Wow, after 37 rounds of track-changes “my” article has finally been published. I got another promotion, I just need to pick my next destination in South East Asia, welcome to our 500th Twitter follower. I gave up telling the CEO that he needs a LinkedIn profile.

Depression: I am a looser, only total losers sticks to such a job for so long, nobody will ever hire me again. I can’t believe somebody congratulated on me for that lousy article. I am tired of complaining and contemplating inaction, why am I so scared? Dear guts, please come back?

Acceptance: I probably deserve to be where I am, otherwise I simply would not be here. I am planning to take a two months holiday this winter to go to India, maybe I become a yoga teacher? Despite my platonic resistance, I am probably enjoying where I am right now, Anicca.

During the past few years, I have kept in the drawer several versions of my resignation notice. Pathetic, I know. At times, coming back from yet another of those meetings trapped in space and time, I would check the drawer and gaze at the letters to remind myself that the exit was much closer than I thought, I was wrong, it was not.

Warning, it gets even more pathetic

In my head I had run several rehearsals of THE day I would quit, from tragedy to comedy, and farce. I knew what I would have said, wore, looked, the corner, the light, the entire scenography. Nothing left to improvise, no hesitations would have given away how paper-thin my unrepentant decision was.

Other times, I would talk myself into believing that right-now (right-nows) it was the right time to quit, and started almost unconsciously spreading the word that I had had enough and I was about to leave, once this rumour reached the fine ears of the deputy director. I got invited for a “chat” (1st time in 3 years), I managed to confess, more honestly than I wanted, that I was trying to understand where I wanted to be and how I wanted to invest my time and energy. I got a pat on the back, an overdose of sympathy, and a reassurance that my new contract was on the top of the list in admin.

I had a bulletproof evacuation plan, yet in case of fire I would have most likely stopped to contemplate the flames rather than abandon the boat.

Please don’t get your tissues out, yet.

It is 28 July 2018, my boss is coming to town. Beautiful in her high heels, she opens the door and heads straight to my desk. Trying to strike a friendly look with her fake eyelashes, she tells me that she has just received a request for references for a job application I had sent.

What? I straighten myself back up on the chair.

I try to pretend everything is under control, good luck with that, and mentally I try to match this news with the last interview I did at least 3 month ago. OMG, that was such a poor interview, bless them.

Nice fight? I tell her about how surprised I am to hear that, totally unaware of the outcomes of the interview.

My boss and I, we do not know each other well enough, but I know we both suffer from the same frustrations and sense of powerlessness, and she knows this. She puts on her older sister hat, saying that she will support me no-matter-what, and wishes but the best for me. Unexpectedly, she also suggests that before I quit I take 2 months of unpaid leave to test my new job, and come back in case I don’t like it. What? Taking time off? I kiss goodbye my evacuation plans, and jump right in.

8th August 2018, I have a 2 month trip to India awaiting for me, no new job to land on, and no job search in my to do list. I have an old job waiting for an old me to come back. It will be a long wait. Adieu.

The new me has not resigned yet, but has already quit, and it is real.

The drama, the ego-fight, the clinging are long gone. The epic preparation to quench my fear of failure, my fear of turning into nothingness, now looks ridiculous.

Some call it serendipity, I call it the law of the Universe. The story I tell myself is that the Universe could not take one more second of my self-inflicted misery and sent somebody to quit for me, thank you Universe.

Before the straightjacket feels comfortable again, I hit "publish".

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Cristina Comunian

Cristina Comunian

Before the straightjacket feels comfortable again, I hit "publish".

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