It’s been a year since I quit my corporate job. Here are some things I learned in the past year.
- letting the universe catch me
- wow was I burned out and hooked on the drama at work
- alleviating soul-sucking means I’m writing again
- holy smokes I’ve internalized capitalism
- wow I stress-spent a lot of money, and it’s okay to spend money
- reading tarot cards is deeply reflective
- being in my body is a pleasure
- I am so grateful for my life
P.S. thank yous/credits/privileges
The long version below.
1. letting the universe catch me
When I finally issued my notice, my supervisor looked at me panicked.
“Can’t you stay longer? Six months?” he said.
“Do you have another job lined up?” he insisted, trying to figure me in his equation.
“No,” I replied.
I wasn’t lying.
Before I quit, I had my tarot cards read by both High Moon Femme and Tanisha Tantrika. Their messages were similar: girl, make the leap and let the universe catch you. the femmiverse is conspiring in your favor.
And true story, it did.
2. wow was I burned out and hooked on the drama at work
I was unemployed for 6 months, from April 2018 to October 2018. Alas, the first 3 months didn’t feel like vacation. I’m pretty certain I did nothing but sleep (I was even more tired than when I rowed in college for 4 years!), catch up on TV, and learn to letter. That’s burn out for you.
Eventually though, I started…
- cooking for myself instead of eating out. I even resumed baking!
- driving places again. The job I left required a 2 hour commute each way; I left home at 4:40am, came home at 5pm. I was done with driving anywhere. With my new found will to drive places, I went to First Friday at Chabot Science Center. And I made a list of other places I wanted to go, Muir Woods, Angel Island. I’m still adding to the list.
- cleaning up and posting old fanfiction (like… 5 year old stuff) that had never made it to ao3.
- planning and then taking my first solo international trip (to Puerto Vallarta).
One of the uncomfortable truths was realizing how my life improved without the job drama and stress. I knew the stress was a killer; it was a huge part of why I quit. I was unsurprised when my eczema started to clear, since stress had always been a key trigger. I was pleasantly surprised when my acne started to clear, but that could’ve been my body finally adjusting to my IUD after two years
However, I was surprised at how hooked I was on the work drama. When anyone would ask me about my old job, oh there was so much gossip to be had. Can you believe? I shit you not! There were times at work I thought Littlefinger was gonna pop out of some dark corner and tell me, “Chaos is a ladder.” It was my own personal drama, infuriating and entertaining.
Even now, there’s a part of me that thrills at spilling all the gossip. But no, that kind of drama is better enjoyed on TV than IRL.
3. alleviating soul-sucking means I’m writing again
In my reading with High Moon Femme, Dacia said my creativity would return and to not to be afraid of its ferocity.
It did (with a strong side of thirst too, lol). Listening to Lauren Shippen’s The Bright Sessions, especially Charlie Ian’s voice work there, jumpstarted my muse again. So I started writing again.
I wrote fluff, I wrote explicit kink (which despite the many kinds of off-the-wall shit I’ve written for fandom, I’d actually never written), I wrote smut, I just… kept writing.
I’d barely written anything in three years! But first I wrote 500 words, then 5000. In fifteen minute increments and two-hour slogs, bit by bit, I kept going. Since last summer, I’ve written around 80000 words. 51000 of which is a paranormal romance that’s not even complete yet. I’ve never written anything this long! I’ve never written this much ever!
(Writing also brought Regan into my life. Best friend, dear one, who helped me learn more about how I want to be loved, and that I deserved more than what I was currently accepting. But that’s another story.)
When I began to look forward to writing every day, after work, that’s when I realized I received a gift greater than productivity and word counts.
Y’all, I fell in love with writing again.
4. holy smokes I’ve internalized capitalism
@r0sewater on Twitter said:
“how to know you’ve internalized capitalism:
- you determine your worth based on your productivity
- you feel guilty for resting
- your primary concern is to make yourself profitable
- you neglect your health
- you think ‘hard work’ is what brings happiness”
Once I got enough sleep to start thinking of something other than how much I love my bed, I started to feel nervous that I wasn’t doing anything.
I wasn’t working. I wasn’t creating anything that could sell/make me money. It was hella uncomfortable. Even though I went into unemployment knowing I was going to take advantage of the rare stretch of time off, I still felt bad.
I had to check myself on this throughout my unemployment. The flashes of guilt did become less frequent. But this was a lesson in how much I’d absorbed capitalism without meaning to.
Money and acquiring power/prestige is not enough for me to be happy, and is not worth my health.
Still, even working full-time again, I’m trying to unlearn this.
5. wow I stress-spent a lot of money, and it’s okay to spend money
When my credit card bill dropped by $1000+ a month during my unemployment, I realized I’d been stress-spending money. I knew I was eating more from stress, but I hadn’t realized I was spending from stress too. Admittedly, I made enough money, and it wasn’t a hardship to pay. I was working damn hard, so if I wanted Fancy Sushi, I deserved it!
Unemployed, I wanted to spend less money so I could make my savings last longer. However, I knew I wanted to spend money on experiences. Even planning for that, I still had to convince myself it was okay to spend money on those trips. After journaling, a pep talk from my Aunt, and encouragement from Ashleigh, I laid down the cash.
I planned and took my first solo international trip to Puerto Vallarta. I took a bougie 3-day weekend retreat at 1440 Multiversity to learn from Alex Elle. (Y’all, this place served miso-braised cod as part of their lunch buffet!! It was divine, and I went back for seconds.)
I learned it was okay to spend money on learning opportunities that weren’t academic in the traditional sense, like Witchdoctorpoet’s Decolonizing Our Voices and BehatiLife’s Sacred Circle Tarot School.
6. reading tarot cards is deeply reflective
I’ve wanted a tarot deck since I saw The Vision of Escaflowne as a kid. At the discount book store, I saw a tarot book and deck combo. I didn’t buy it though; my mom’s disapproval was clear.
Throughout the years, I thought about tarot whenever I’d pass the billboards and signs for psychics and mediums. Finally, I convinced myself to buy a deck since the artwork can be so gorgeous.
Once I received it (along with a print of the Fool card, which now hangs above my door), it was like being in a new relationship. I spent a lot of time with the deck, pulling cards daily, shuffling, spreading them across my bed. Checked out library books on tarot and read them in my sunny backyard. Started writing down the cards I was pulling for Tarot for the Wild Mystic Soul’s July 2018 Challenge. Started subscribing to witchy podcasts like The Witches’ Muse.
I kept pulling, kept journaling about the cards, kept learning more about myself. Even having my cards read before and knowing tarot was some real ish, I was still surprised at the way the cards so easily read me instead. Cut through all my overthinking, and said, here is the heart of the issue, here is the truth you already know.
It was magic.
But magic wasn’t just the wonder and eyebrow-raising at the tarot. It was also the late-summer sky-splitting moments of coming home to myself and if that’s not magic,
I don’t know what is.
7. being in my body is a pleasure
I’m not sure how to put words to this. Perhaps I won’t be able to for years.
How many times did I lie in savasana, after yoga, at home, and find such joy in being in my body?
How many times did I think god, I’m glad I’m alive?
As a kid, I tried to be as emotionally absent as possible. Lopping off my feelings was a survival method, that I knew, even then, I would later reckon with. The past years, I’ve done a lot of work, felt all the grief and tears I’d dammed off and put on layaway to let it go. And in welcoming those wayward parts of me back home, the girl I was, the survivor, oh, it was,
revelatory, breathing underwater, meeting the god in myself, time-traveling, homecoming, a summoning, wonderful, swimming in galaxies, it was…
My imagination is wild when I put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, but this was something I never dreamed of for myself.
8. I am so grateful for my life
I applied to my current job on a lark. I didn’t have to submit a cover letter, only a resume. And more importantly to me, the application process took forever, meaning I’d have months of rest before deciding if I was ready to go back to work again.
I did interview for one other job. I got that job in fact. But I turned it down even though it was full-time and paid better. It was very comparable to my old position, and I felt like the universe was presenting me with a choice: do you want to do what you did before, which drove you to burn out, or something different?
So I chose different, not knowing entirely what I was getting myself into. I took a local part-time position, entirely unrelated to my previous career. It’s now a full-time position. I’m immensely grateful and happy, despite it being a pay cut.
All jobs should be like this: natural lighting, no drama, benevolent supervisors, clientele who give you the benefit of the doubt, supportive coworkers, good pay, short commute, schedule that works with your night-owl tendencies, leaves you with enough energy to go home to pursue your passions. I have time to write and do yoga when I get home every night.
Beyond my job though, I am grateful for my life.
Celia once told me for every 1 year of soul sucking, it takes 7 to unsuck your soul. I might’ve misremembered the ratio, but I’m lucky it didn’t take me that long.
I didn’t know what would happen once I quit, but I’m glad it all turned out alright, for all the reasons I just told you and more.
I guess Sakura’s secret spell is true after all, and that brings me great comfort, like an old blanket or stuffed animal:
“it’ll be alright, no matter what.”
P.S. thank yous/credits/privileges
This past year was possible for me due to a number of safety nets.
Mainly, I also had enough money to quit, live off of comfortably, and pay for any emergencies. Or, as Lucy Liu said “fuck you” money. (While Liu’s advice was about work, my mom said the same thing but about men.) This was due to 3 things:
- inherited family wealth
- savings from my 4 years at my corporate gig
- I have no outstanding debts due to family money
Special shoutout to my cousin, Art, who showed me it was possible to save enough money to outlast unemployment. Depending on which family member you ask, his savings lasted either 3 months or 3 years of unemployment.
I also had friends and family who supported quitting my job and relaxing between jobs. My parents, my favorite Aunt and Uncle, and friends all told me I could stay with them if things didn’t pan out. I would not have had the ability to recharge without this.