Figuring Out What You Want To Do Sucks


I had originally conceived of this story as a diatribe on how to quit a job, but then I was sacked and that problem seemed to have solved itself. I was at a loss for how to hand in my two weeks and not burn any bridges. The job sucked and now I know they’re not fucking around when a job description includes, “Comfortable making 80-100 cold calls per day.” There is no way to make this fun, and to add insult to injury, you’re probably getting paid less than the guy who makes your coffee every morning. Anyway, I chatted with friends, family, even the checkout lady at Whole Foods, and tried to get an idea of how to gracefully exit this job and be on my merry way. I loved it when people told me to follow my heart because my heart was crying out for wide open spaces. But then I got some tough love. I had to get real. I didn’t want to be that girl who had to explain in an interview that she quit her job because it “wasn’t fun.” Good point.

I hung in there for a while and did my damnedest to find the beauty in things, which unfortunately led to me finding the beauty in one of my coworkers. Not even his good looks could inspire me to save my department, and a few weeks ago I had a come-to-Jesus with the co-founders. Something had to change. Something did, and the next Monday my department was cut. My now ex-boss reassured me that I am always welcome to come into the office to help out if I wanted to. How very generous of them. Thanks, but no thanks.

These past few weeks I’ve have been trying to figure out my “next steps.” Can’t believe I just said that, but I’ve been in business, okay?

When I left school, I was convinced that I would be doing something abroad. Hong Kong, Dubai, Singapore. I had done some work in Southeast Asia in high school and college, and was interviewing for some PR gigs in China. There was boy, too, but that’s a story for another time. Long story short, there was a disappointing reunion in Shanghai, and it was clear that I would not be moving to China. Or Dubai. Or Singapore. And so I moved back in with my parents back in Austin, Texas and landed a spot on the production crew for a decent-sized motion picture. Not too shabby, I guess. The shoot was a blast and tender moments with Ryan Gosling paved the way to a far less sexy position at this tech startup company I just left. “Hey girl, it’s a grown-up job, but let’s just say I wasn’t heartbroken when it ended.”

So, now unemployed and at an interesting juncture, I feel overwhelmed as hell.

The first week or so of unemployment, I camped out on LinkedIn, and in my desperation, applied for all the “Jobs I May Be Interested In.” I figured I was playing a numbers game, and that someone would want me, goddammit. One day I was into advertising. The next day, I thought I’d do PR. I played tennis with my mom’s friends and scored a temporary tutoring job. But the high school girl I was working with was more interested in picking leg pimples than studying chemistry, and I figured my calling was elsewhere. I considered coaching, sales, the restaurant business, and thought about not getting a job at all but seeing how many meals I could score as a professional dater. But maybe that would’ve just made me a hooker? Nothing felt right.

I did some soul searching. I got lunch with everyone I could think of who might help me sort things out. I meditated. I rode my bike. I’ve been up and down and very confused. I’ve experienced cocktails of excitement, fear, uncertainty, and empowerment. This journey had to start with a little faith. Big thinking began. And for the first time in a long time, I felt the thrill of pursuing my passion.

I learned a lot at that first job. I learned how to write a professional email, and why hooking up with a coworker is no bueno. Fancies are fleeting and it’s even less fun to wake up in the morning and head to a job you hate when you have to share the single-use bathroom with guy who never called you back. I learned that if you hate it, you probably suck at whatever you’re doing. And after all my hair-tearing and strategizing of ways to jump ship, I understand that however you may feel, it’s important to hang in there and to do your best. Desperation is never a good impetus for action. The best thing for you may be right around the corner. You just have to be learned that you’ve got to stick to your guns, and how important it is to always, always, triple check your work.

I’m not sure what my next move will be. I can tell you what, I will watch girls pick leg pimples before I do sales again. I’ve begun looking into Peace Corps, IMF, World Bank, and think now that maybe I wasn’t too far off base when I imagined myself abroad. The problem was, I’d left out the most important part of the adventure: getting there. I don’t have a job at the moment, but imagine I will soon. And between now and then I’m taking the steps that I need to make sure that when I get to that place. So I guess the most important thing I’ve learned is how important it is to think about the future by making today really count.

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