There’s an essay by Robert Benchley in which he says he feels he could complete any task, any task at all, if someone would just tell him the very first step. He uses bridge-building as an example: he feels he could do it, even with no training, if someone would just tell him where to START.
This is how I felt about quitting my job. I had worked through the issues and come to the final decision to quit, but my draft emails were not coming out well. I turned to Twitter friends:
And Twitter Friends as usual knew what to do. I think my main problem was that I’d been trying to explain WHY I was quitting, with some backstory. The boss does not need to know about that, and when it was in there it sounded like excuses/whining/defensiveness. Twitter Friends advised sticking to the basics: “I’m writing to give my two weeks notice” followed by “My last day will be ______” followed by an expression of appreciation for the job. I wrote it, I sent it.
There are a lot of things I’m not going to miss about my job. The office was run on a “Wait until something is an emergency before dealing with it” basis, so everything was always an emergency. There was tons of talk about how the most important things were doing a good job with the clients, being able to work unsupervised, filling out our paperwork, being prompt and reliable (all things I am good at)—but ALL REWARDS AND PRAISE were given for one thing and one thing only, which was filling extra shifts. The feeling was that any shifts you were scheduled to do didn’t really count as work. There was an “office staff vs. caregiving staff” dynamic that was obvious and unpleasant, especially since the owner was part of the office staff. Furthermore, my supervisor is a “doesn’t hurt to ask” type, whereas I am a “the stress of saying ‘no’ to you so many times has accumulated until now I hate the sound of your voice and sight of your name” type.
I also won’t miss all the things that I hoped would go away but never did. I still felt nervous at the beginning of every shift, and also awkward about ending every shift. I still felt spikes of out-of-proportion stress about possibly doing a task incorrectly, or handling a conversation incorrectly—though this did improve somewhat. I never did get even SOMEWHAT comfortable saying no when asked to do tasks we’re not supposed to do. I still felt way-over-the-top stress about starting with any new client, and it took me a lonnnnng time to settle in and feel more comfortable.
Anyway. I won’t miss any of that. Here are the things I will miss:
1. My scrubs. I did so love my scrubs. The Scrubstar Premium Flexible was my favorite by far: it was long enough; it had stretchy side panels so I could move in it; it had good pockets; and I felt CUTE and PROFESSIONAL.
2. My little notebooks. I kept a little notebook in my scrubs pocket at all times, and it was ESSENTIAL for doing my job. I would THINK I could remember an instruction such as “I’ll have a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich at 6:00, oh and can you make a small side salad?,” but by the time I got to the kitchen I’d have forgotten part of it, or feel uncertain. Or, even more often, as I was leaving the room the client would ask me to help with a sweater or bring a cup of tea, and that would overwrite what I’d been trying to remember. I felt silly writing down everything, but it was the best. Also, I’ve always been drawn to little notebooks, and it was fun having an excuse to buy them.
3. My work bag. I can use it for other things, but it was so great as a WORK bag. I would walk up the driveway wearing my scrub top and toting my work bag, and I felt PROFESSIONAL and READY. It’s the faux-leather Merona Reversible one in no-longer-available Swistle Blue, and it’s held up beautifully. Plus, I got it on clearance for $11, I think because it was supposed to be reversible but wasn’t: the paper tag said reversible, and the others were reversible to a much darker shade of blue, but on mine the inside and outside are the same color.
4. My paperclips. Oh, I know this sounds ridiculous. But every week when I turn in my paperwork, I need three or four paperclips to hold together the various related papers. And I found a clearance on pretty colored paperclips, and it gave me such a happy feeling to use them, and it was so pleasing to have found them on a good deal so I could use them without feeling that hoarding feeling. It’s not as if I can’t still use them! But it still registers as something I will miss.
5. The paperwork. I really ENJOYED the paperwork. I know I complain a lot about the children’s school paperwork, but most of that is because it’s so DUMB that we have to do it every year, and that they request the EXACT SAME INFORMATION on MULTIPLE FORMS—in one case on BOTH SIDES OF THE SAME FORM. *pant pant* ANYWAY. But if I’m being PAID to do paperwork, even if it’s similarly dumb, I very much enjoy it. I like checking the boxes of tasks I did and then writing out the long-form notes. I like the feeling of reporting in, even if no one actually reads the finished forms. I like clipping the week’s forms together with a pretty paper clip and turning them in neatly and promptly. I like alllllll that.
6. Having an answer to “What do you do?” And such a GREAT answer for garnering social approval. But I don’t miss it enough for it to be worth working this job.
7. The hope that this would be a job I would want to do, and that it would lead to wanting further education and degrees and so forth. It is valuable to have found it is a dead-end (I DON’T want a further nursing degree), but there’s that sad feeling anyway. I remember on my first shift I was scared but I felt chin-up confident: this is scary, but it is the first step toward something that may very well turn out to be something I really want. I hadn’t felt that way about any of my other jobs, ever: all the others (bakery, greenhouse, daycare, pharmacy technician) always felt like temporary things to earn money, not possible launchings of careers.