If you don’t blog about it, did it really happen?

Last Sunday at workshop I told my fellow writers how I quit my job in the nice University town with the farmer’s markets and the white-washed library and many lovely restaurants in order to return to my old place of employment (under a different boss, though, and in a different department).  One of our group looked at me and said “But, you haven’t blogged about that yet.”  I nodded.  “That means it hasn’t happened yet,” I answered. 

But it has now.  How to discuss how much I hated the job, to the point where I started smoking again and stopped exercising and spent most of my productive time crying in the bathroom? How could I react so viscerally to a job? I have no answer for you without being mean, and I will not be mean about it, at least today. Suffice it to say the values and work ethic promotoed at old-new job were such that I truly felt like I was floundering.  I’ll find a way to discuss this at some point in terms that veils those I most disliked, but until that day I’ll leave it with this: apparently, I’m the kind of girl who cries over bad vibes and bad work and (to me) bad people.  

Enter, fortune.  My old-new job called me after I quit free lancing and offered me a raise, more vacation, charge of my own schedule, ability to work from home whenever I deem it appropriate and a whole different reporting structure if I would return to the cancer hospital.  Quite frankly, those in charge said, nobody wants your job.  People keep walking out during the writing exam, hands in the air, saying they’d rather jump off the top of the building than do your job.  So…

every frog has its swamp and I’ve returned to mine.  Detroit! I am in the honey moon period right now, with loads of welcome back emails and people hugging me and “Oh, let’s do lunches” and I know this will end but I do not care because I have seen the corporate world with acres and acres of white cubicles and everything conducted by instant messenger and no noise but the noise of computer harddrives whirling and it made me throw up.  Now I’m back in Detroit, back in the hospital, back with doctors rushing around and anxious families awaiting news of their loved ones and patients being wheeled this way and that and all the many, many administrators that help the hospital run and I am here to write about how one day a perfectly normal cell in their perfectly healthy bodies took a detour and now there is just so much to discover about that cell – so much! And if I could kiss the floor in front of my office and bow down to it I would because I am among life again and no matter what boss they bring in if my current one leaves I will always now have the knowledge that I’m not a for-profit kind of girl. 

Saturday night S. and I came downtown to celebrate my decision because neither he nor my parents nor others I consulted thought I should flake out like this but I did and S. says he is proud of me for knowing what I needed to do even if he doesn’t understand it.  And Saturday night was a perfect storm of events that made Detroit look like a real city. First, Bob Seger was performing that night. Second – St. Patrick’s Day.  Third – The national college hockey championships. Fourth – the Michigan State /University of North Carolina basketball game.  On every street corner different bands were set up, and evening settled over the city in swaths of mellow golden sunlight, and people spilled into the streets. We had to wait for a table at our favorite Greek restaurant which has never happened.  We ate lemon and rice soup and split a plate of lamb ribs and roasted potatoes  and then met up with friends, at this bar and then that bar and it seemed like the whole entire town was on its feet, dancing in the streets, headed somewhere great, and I, drunk from vodka and sated from the lamb, in the company of good friends in a funky downtownbar, returning to a job I now recognized as really damn good, fleeing the corporate culture (okay, one mean thing: these are the kind of people who paper their cubicles in Dilbert cartoons because they so, so identify. Not just one cartoon, or five, which I could understand, I mean, Dilbert is funny, but dozens of said cartoons), I felt so thankful to be back in the  grit and glamour of Detroit, where possibility and promise beat beneath my feet.  I realized I would rather spend my days writing for something that matters to me,  than writing for all the fortune 500 companies put together.  No organic farmer’s market or trendy restaurant can change that.

I just thought you all would like to know.

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15 Responses to If you don’t blog about it, did it really happen?

  1. Stefanie says:

    Congrats! You’ve made a series of hard decisions and it sounds like it all turned out for the best. Hope the “new” job goes well!

  2. Emily says:

    Congratulations for knowing when you were in the wrong place and making the right decision! I do want to say, though, having worked in both not-for-profit and for-profit places, that not ALL for-profit places are so hideous. Mine is lovely, full of very caring and truly warm and generous people, the sort of place that sends flowers when your dog dies (you’d love to work here and would fit right in). At this point in my life, I wouldn’t work any place that isn’t like this, though, which is really the important thing. Good for you for discovering that before the age of 30! (Barely, I know, but still…)

  3. missv says:

    I don’t consider it to be flaking out at all. It takes a lot of courage to admit you’ve made a mistake. So many people choose to stay miserable rather than rectify the situation and move on. And trying something new is a good way to clarify where your work interests really lie even if it doesn’t work out.

  4. Well done for listening to your instinct and doing what was right for you. It’s the best way to live. I like the idea of your more flexible working hours – that sounds great. It must be lovely to know they want YOU. Also, I’m glad to hear you had a really good night out to celebrate.

    Just an aside, imagine if you were a German. You would have to work out a six month notice period! They take job security rather seriously here.

  5. Smithereens says:

    Congratulations for taking this courageous decision! Staying miserable in a job is just not right. I’m quite happy for you. BTW, the idea that any event is not blogged about does not exist is weird!

  6. litlove says:

    Wow, well done, Courtney! it does take a lot of guts to go back on decisions that look shiny and impressive to other people. But the fact that your old-new job was waiting for you meant that fate had a little hand in there, helping to show you the way. Good on you for taking it.

  7. Dorothy W. says:

    I’m SO glad you had the chance to do this, to go back to the old job, or a new version of the old job; it sounds SO wonderful and such the right thing to do. I understand completely — it’s amazing to me just how much time and energy jobs take up, so if you hate yours, it really, really sucks.

  8. Katie says:

    So… if I emailed you on Monday at the new-but-now-old job, then you wouldn’t have gotten it? Send me one from the old-but-now-new-again job so we can pick up again!

  9. Andi says:

    I’m doing a happy dance for you! Congratulations and good wishes because sometimes it’s really freakin’ hard to do what’s right for you…especially when no one else gets it. Hurrah!

  10. Stefanie – thanks so much for the support – I appreciate it more than you know!
    Emily, I know you are absolutely right, and I don’t know why I made such a sweeping generalization. Working with you would be cool, too!
    MissV – Welcome! I look forward to checking out your site. And you are right…too many people stay in bad jobs and live miserably.
    Charlotte – a 6 month notice period? That’s inhumane? I never would have lasted six months.
    Smithereens – it is a weird idea – too many of my friends read this blog but never, you know, call me…
    LItlove – THANK you!!
    Dorothy – the energy suckage is the biggest reason I left…I felt myself slowly collapsing inward.
    Katie – I emailed you!
    Andi – thanks! It can be freakin’ hard but I’m so grateful I managed to do so! Otherwise I’d be crying in a bathroom somewhere right now.

  11. Kerryn says:

    Well done on having the courage to make the best decision for you in your particular circumstances. Having spent too many years doing a job I loved in an environment I hated (am I identifying with the crying in the bathroom? Very, very probably…), I know how hard it is to make that choice. Congratulations!

  12. Cam says:

    Oh Courtney! I can empathize with you. A few years ago there was a job I really wanted, came down to the wire and they said they were going to hire another person, so I took job option #2. 3 days after starting that job, the first place called me back, with an offer, asking if I was ready to leave (which was more than just a little weird!). I told them that I didn’t know how long was appropriate to make a clear decision that a job wasn’t the right one for me but I knew it was more than 3 days. After the call I thought about how untrue my statement was: I have always known almost immediately when a job wasn’t the right place. (Turning them down was the right thing too, btw). It’s hard to trust that gut feeling, but when you do, isn’t it remarkably freeing to do so?

    About a month or so ago, I was looking at my blogstats and noticed a certain corporate URL. I assummed from descriptions of your locale & industry that it was probably you. I thought “Courtney works there?”. I followed up on a legit job lead there a few years ago and got the weirdest sense about the place. I agree with Emily that not all for-profits are the same. Whether I guessed the right place or not is immaterial. What’s important is that you realized it wasn’t right for you and no point in torturing yourself by continuing with it.

  13. (I found your blog through CharlotteOtter’s). I love the fact that you have to blog about it to make it real. I feel like that sometimes. Blogging is my hobby…the one that is slowly taking over all my other hobbies. :o) And wonderful for you on the new job!

  14. Kerryn – Welcome home! So glad you are back! And thanks for the support, although I’m sorry you spent time crying in the bathroom too!
    Cam – how funny! Sometimes I forget you are in the midwest too and in fact quite close to me. If it IS the same company, your weird vibes were totally right on!
    Charlotta – Welcome! I’m looking forward to visiting your blog!

  15. Courtney-you crack me up and I enjoy reading your blog whenever I pop on over. It was great finally meeting you this past Sunday and I hope to see you again soon!

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