first half of tuesday january 11 // some reflections on quitting my job

2022-01-21  hungry

today i had to mail back my work laptop. today being january 11 and not january 21. i had found the nearest fedex location with packing and shipping services a half mile from my apartment. it was a shipping store called, for some reason, “sandbox.” i also conveniently had to return some sneakers i bought online that i thought were kind of cool but ultimately weren’t that cool and also didn’t really fit me. i walked to ""sandbox"" at 10:45 with my latptop and oddly gigantic shoe box so i could call lindsey, my former office manager, at 11. turns out they did not have packing services so i bought a box and did it myself. while i was wrapping my laptop (ul-pc-151) in bubble wrap a man came in with a space heater and seemed to exchange it with the sole sandbox employee for a few crinkled dollars. it turned out sandbox also did not accept the qr code label for my sneakers or the fedex account for my laptop, and the closest place that did was in downtown brooklyn. so i got on the q with one large box in each hand and felt like eric andre in that sketch where he dresses up as a vaguely christlike centaur with an airbrushed six pack and drops two whole birthday cakes on unsuspecting subway passengers. i was glad i was just holding boxes. this girl my age on the subway kept moving closer to me and i was terrified that she was going to talk to me. i walked from barclays to the fedex store feeling rather unhappy that it was 15 degrees out and my grandfather’s old green gloves were not very warm and finally unloaded both my boxes to the fedex worker who had no idea why i was so grumpy. i was trying for a while to think of this experience as a metaphor for my job—perhaps full of tasks that should have been easy but were not quite organized well enough for their inevitable completion to happen without substantial behind-the-scenes intervention on my part—and while that may have be true at times, even often, it doesn’t feel very accurate. quitting felt a bit like an out-of-body experience. up until now, every major life change has appeared on the time horizon far before i’ve had to deal with it (in retrospect, notable exceptions include relationships, deaths, pandemics, and other things i have absolutely no interest in comparing to a job). but unlike an internship or graduation or quinceañera there is no premonition and no ceremony in quitting. i didn’t leave because i learned what i was expected to and it was time for me to move on (although this may have still been true in practice) or even really because my next obligation was starting. i didn’t leave because my projects were finished and my work was done. in fact i left while most were in their final stages. there was no party on my last day (there actually was but it was hosted only by two of my loving and kind friends and isn’t really what i’m talking about), no final project to hand in, no scramble to get as many signatures in my yearbook. save for a half-assed presentation in which i told my colleagues not to send themselves pii on accident and that “the real projects were the friends we made along the way” and a few kind emails and slack messages, no one might have known i was gone. instead i just closed my computer around 8 when i didn’t think i could feasibly finish anymore work and didn’t look at it again. i want to clarify that i’m not writing this because i wanted acknowledgement or feel disappointed by that i received (especially given that every zoom goodbye happy hour i’ve attended has been painfully awkward). it’s also not like my leaving was unexpected or unwanted. quitting has been on the horizon for a long time, ever since work from home began, ever since the veil of racial-socioeconomic-capitalist context was slightly peeled away by my less naive peers, ever since the departure of said peers. it has floated in the abstract for so long that it’s hard to even feel excitement or certainty about the job i took. applications had been submitted for a year or more, and my ex-official-boss-turned-unofficial-boss knew about them and even served as a reference. unquestionably, i was going to quit. it did, however, feel strange for the pace of change to increase so drastically, to know that my day-to-day life would be upended in a few hectic weeks. i have been thinking a lot about how my motivation in life has waned quite a bit since school and deadlines and summer breaks and horizons controlled my time; how i was trained for so long to respond to the goals of assignments and exams and semesters only to have that floor pulled out from under me right when i was supposed to have mastered it (see that tiktok audio that goes: “the world is dying and i hate my body / maybe i should go to grad school”). anyway, writing about this is starting to feel a bit too self-indulgent. this is something that people do all the time, it’s not a big deal. after fedex i was hungry and went to get a falafel sandwich nearby. i asked for pickles on the sandwich and the guy just put 5ish gherkins on the very top of the sandwich. when i ate the sandwich on the street on the way to trader joe’s i had to take the pickles off with my hand and strategically replace them onto the sandwich when i was ready to eat another pickle. i was telling katie and paul today (21st) that my favorite place to eat is on the street, but when it’s 15 and windy out it’s hard to convince people (myself included) of that. at trader joe’s they were out of the body wash i like but they had the shampoo and conditioner versions and i questioned whether this was an issue with “the supply chain” or whether everyone just likes that body wash. if so do we all smell the same, and is that something i would have noticed? when i checked out the man asked me if it was still cold out, and we bantered for a bit as one does at tjs. he told me he was considering picking up an extra hour at the end of his shift to stay in the warmth of the store (i could not tell if this was a joke or not). i ate my dark chocolate peanut butter cups on the street and wondered how many times he had asked that question today. i do not think i present as particularly attune to the weather. he must have known it was still cold out. i suppose it’s good to get multiple opinions. i wandered around in a nearby wine store baffled at its seeming lack of organization until realizing everything was divided by country. i walked from there to the out of the closet (has out of the closet been cancelled? i could not remember) that i passed on the way from the train and tried on three pairs of pants. someone mildly rich but with either poor taste or the inability to use scissors must have been in recently because there were three pairs of madewell men’s jeans (expensive!) in my size with the most atrocious crop jobs i can imagine (i tried on two of them). as if to the point where it would have been easier to do a good job than to do this. but honestly respect to whoever did this because they were really trying something new and not every experiment can work out, sometimes you have to ruin a few pairs of jeans before nailing that perfect crop (sometimes you have to quit a few jobs before you nail that perfect corporate satisfaction..? my similes are not flowing freely today). maybe it was a failed attempt at fulfilling someone’s artistic vision. feels unlikely though. did not buy any pants.