Quitting Time and the Terrifying Beast


Sweaty palms. Short breaths. Heart inching closer to my throat. This wasn’t what I had envisioned when I originally pictured myself quitting my loveless job. I thought I’d be overwhelmed with joy and ready to Jersey Shore fist pump my way to the next phase of my life. Yet here I was experiencing the full range of human emotions, from gut wrenching anxiety and fear to boundless excitement. What dark hole did this Terrifying Beast that threatened to make me throw up my peanut butter sandwich emerge from?

It was almost 1:45 PM and I had dithered and delayed since 9 AM. My resignation letter was ready. My weak-ass transition plan was ready. I had texted a buddy at 11 AM that I was going for it, but an article on Men’s Health about U.S. Army Ranger fitness training had somehow managed to captivate my attention. Then I started throwing the idea around of rehearsing what I was going to say. Then I decided I was going to wing it. Then I started to think about things I would rather do than tell my team lead I was leaving, like maybe step into the octagon with Brock Lesnar. Finally I reached the point where I just wanted to get it over with and not ruin my weekend stressing about doing this thing on Monday. Then it was back to distraction mode and wondering if I should listen to Teen Spirit to pump myself up. 2 PM now. I really shouldn’t have distracted myself with that Army Rangers article. No music, no distractions. One 3 count breath in and one 3 count breath out. Go.

A handshake and complete understanding is what I got. Actually, I got a huge nod of respect for taking the plunge and doing something I really loved. And not just from my team lead either, but from the entire team that I had just saddled my shitty workload. That Terrifying Beast turned out to be a cuddly kitten. Somehow I had built up the Beast on some weird logic that everyone would resent the extra work and instantly convert their respect and friendship for me into vehement dislike. But that’s not the way life works, unless you’re an asshole – then it works that way because no one probably likes you in the first place. People that genuinely like you want the best for you…even if that means turning the page on a story that may not include them in the future.