How to quit your desk job: A short tale of two brains

A few weeks ago, I handed in my resignation at my job after peaking (again) in my existential wondering about why I live and work the way I do — a privileged pondering I do not take for granted.

The left side of my brain assumes I am insane to reject my current income and accompanying health benefits just to dive into an abyss with no guarantees. The right side of my brain is jumping for joy — oh, the time! The time I will have when I am not hunched over Slack for eight to 10 hours a day peddling someone else’s corporate dream. Too much time, the left side of my brain responds without missing a beat.

For as long as I can remember, I have carefully shaped my identity around a strict dependency on structure in the seductive constraints of academia and later big company missions and key objectives. Nevermind that now, the right side of my brain responds sternly but softly, believe in yourself.

In the weeks and months leading up to my resignation, I scoured the Internet for a sign (a clear sign in and of itself). I searched for an article (or ten) that got me — understood my longing for change and my insatiable need to expand my horizons beyond Zoom. I scrutinized the virtual vortex for another writer out there who would encourage me to follow my heart, even as my rational brain retches in the corner. I found plenty of articles that did just that, and plenty that did not. Many caution quitting without another job on your radar, urging you to consider what you need from your current role that could make it more tolerable; more money? More responsibility? Less responsibility? I just need more time, I whispered in the dark to the glowing screen.

At 27 years old, it is laughable to folks of my parent’s generation that I claim to be “burnt out” from working desk jobs. I do not believe that I meet the definition of burnt out so much as I cannot stop thinking about all the other things I want to do with my time. I’ve always enjoyed creating — cooking and crafting ‘til my heart’s content; journaling and writing stories ‘til my hand cramps in agony (which happens quite quickly thanks to my gorilla-like grip). I enjoy the flow — the state of total immersion where nothing but instinct and inspiration guides me through. I am the Captain now. Working with my hands is a plausible source of income, in theory. Changing course is nothing revolutionary (cc: Global Pandemic), everybody’s doing it — who are they? What Facebook support groups are they in?

All the same, it feels difficult to justify my decision to quit but, then I remember, I don’t have to justify anything. A decision is not right or wrong, good or bad. Decisions are just decisions, taking us from point A to point B, and showing us new highs and lows along the way. Was that the left side or the right side of my brain talking? This conversation could go on forever.



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