I walked into the house on a cold, late winter Nebraska afternoon feeling more than a little grumpy. It must have been painted across my face because my wife looked at me and immediately knew something was wrong.
“What is it?” she asked, arching her eyebrows.
“Same old stuff,” I replied with an eyeroll. “Today’s staff meeting turned into a nasty session of accusations and finger pointing. We’re even further off of our plan and I’m beginning to think there’s no hope of getting back on it. And my best engineer just gave me his notice.
In other words, it was a typical day in Corporate America. Sure, plenty of things were also going right, but that’s not what we focused on, at least not at the company where I worked.
I didn’t realize that my inner Mad Gringo, a persona I couldn’t have put a name to at that point, was whispering to me. He was urging me to do something rash. Something crazy. It wasn’t until much later that I realized what was really going on in my subconscious.
“Yeah. And I hate my boss.”
My wife wrinkled her nose, just like she always does when she thinks I’m being a bit of dope. “I don’t know why you still work there.”
We were in relatively good shape financially. I’d taken this job as a knee-jerk response to getting fired from my last gig – one that I actually liked, at least most of the time. I knew I should have taken some time to figure out what I really wanted to do with the rest of my career, but I hadn’t. At the time, the economy was cratering and I wasn’t sure when I’d ever see another good-paying job that didn’t require yet another relocation – an impossibility, at least according to everyone else in the family. So I’d jumped in with both feet, even though I probably already knew I’d rather be lying on a beach somewhere sipping on some tropical cocktail.
It was a paradox. One that I couldn’t solve on my own.
“I’m thinking about quitting my job,” I said to my best friend.
“In this economy? You’re crazy. What will you do instead?”
“I don’t know. I always wanted to be a writer. Maybe I’ll just do nothing for a while and see what comes up.”
“Doing nothing doesn’t sound like you, but whatever. You know if you quit, there won’t be anything like your current job coming your way any time soon – at least not in Omaha.”
The warning was reasonable, but I realized I really didn’t care. I’d reached a point where I dreaded going to work each day. I despised my boss. I hated Corporate life. I had to do something different, even if it was just selling t-shirts.
I thought about it all weekend, and on Monday morning I went into my boss’ office and resigned.