Memory can’t be trusted. Every time we replay something it changes slightly. Details blur, and feelings color the frames, filtering out details like the perfect Instagram filter.
I quit a job 2 years ago. It was the best full time job I have ever had. It was a dream job- or at least I had perceived it as a dream job for a few years before I attained it (and a few times since quitting).
I had moved to California 2 years before and this facility was one of my three dream employers. To get the minimum wage part time job, I had to go through a group interview process. I was jazzed and over prepared my materials, doing several reconnaissance missions before the big day. I was competing with over 20 people in person (and probably hundreds more on paper to get to this point) and I brought the enthusiasm. I brought the charm. I brought the thought out answers to the cliche interview questions. Half way through the interview they eliminated 12 people- it was like the bachelor and I got a rose.
A few weeks later I got the call! I worked this position for 2 years, all the while going through some personal and relationship growth. I kept a smile on my face and my nose to the grindstone. I loved my coworkers but the job involved a lot interaction with the general public, not a lot of pay and very little opportunity for growth, though I had my eyes on a different department altogether. My attempts at breaking through into the field I wanted to be in were seemingly being ignored. Others around me got promoted, crossed over and I couldn’t see what they had that I didn’t. The commute became too far for the pay, the hope in me was dying and I wrote up my resignation letter. I marched into my bosses office and was surprised when she asked my demands. I made them, she met them and I stayed but my heart had already moved on.
One day I was offered a chance to cross over to the position I wanted. There had been a lot of turnover with this particular team for personnel reasons I was told…but I didn’t care! I was given a part time trail offer and eventually a full time position. I hadn’t experienced any cat-fishing so far and besides I was pretty good at getting along with people, so I thought I had nothing to lose. I had a great time at this job. I loved telling people what I did! But the pay raise wasn’t much, I had no weekends off and I was at the bottom of the totem pole for raises (which happened arbitrarily and infrequently) and holidays.
For a while the honeymoon period lasted, but eventually I couldn’t explain away this nagging feeling in my gut. If this was so great- why had so many great people quit? Where was the upward momentum? Why had every person been in tears of frustration on my first day (including me because I am a sympathy crier)? Eventually, I was no longer the golden new girl. The responsibilities I had were taken away with no explanation, my managers tactics of guidance came from the passive aggressive hand book and were emotionally straining at best. I spent most of the 40 minute commute home pretending I wasn’t crying behind my sunglasses when I was alone, or holding it in until I arrived at my front door when I was carpooling. Subsequently collapsing into a sad heap of snot, crumbs and almond butter on my BFF/housemates spotless bedroom floor (much to her consoling dismay).
I loved this job, I had wanted it for so long. But I didn’t love the burdens that came with it. It seemed to be too little to late and the emotional exhaustion coupled with a breakup going on independently but simultaneously was crippling me. (Plus I had gotten bit by the FOMO travel bug.)I had to quit. I had never quit anything but if not now than when? I needed to escape. I had done all of the self reflection I could where I was. I wanted to see the world before it was too late- Venice is sinking after all.
So I got drunk and bought a plane ticket. For one month I kept my secret- a momentous task for someone prone to overshare about a trip to the bathroom. Finally I came clean. I gave a months notice, they told me to GTFO after two weeks. My boss didn’t talk to me until my last day, instead she would look through or around me. Asking a coworker next to me to do the things I had before I had fallen out of favor. But this only strengthened my resolve.
Fast forward 2 years later, I still think fondly of my time there. It was the only job I have had that I could announce loudly and proudly. Though after I quit, I did have an amazing trip to Europe and while I was there another member of our team of four (then three) left to pursue her emotional well being elsewhere. Now I look at pictures of the new team, jealously, lustily. With the same self deprecating methods I use when looking at people on Instagram who seem to have all of there shit neatly gathered into a pile and are growing beautiful life gardens with it.
When I think back I have to actively remind myself what drove me to quit. The same way I have to remind myself that not every couple is that happy all of the time. Or that people aren’t born with those abs. And contouring is a thing. After all everybody shits, and everything looks better with a filter.