When Quitting IS the Best Option

I quit

There seems to be a multitude of posts on the topic of quitting populating LinkedIn in recent days.

Maybe it’s the coming of spring and how the change of seasons enlightens and empowers people to start anew; maybe it’s because the job market is supposedly on the upswing.

Not being a social scientist, but a simple writer, I am absorbing these with growing interest and not a minimal amount of wonder.

I quit several times in my somewhat long career, but only once when I did not have another job in the bag:

I was working for a news service in Washington, D.C. — a place which was a starting point for many journalists in the post-Watergate era. The pay was abysmal, the boss was a tad paranoid — but the pluses far outweighed the negatives.

You got a chance to cover political Washington and at the same time get your bylines in some of the country’s most prestigious newspapers and wire services. And for many — some with now household names — the company’s opportunities led to much bigger and better things.

Each of one us fledgling reporters was assigned different newspapers, usually decided by state, and if we were not that publication’s primary reporter, we did get pretty significant stories to write. Particularly if your state had one of the more influential and busy newspapers.

I was assigned two states: One which had two small, but good papers; the second with some of the best papers in the country.

Despite being dirt poor, I was having the time of my young life: I was a Washington correspondent and my byline appeared on the same pages with journalists of note. Ramen and tuna were staples, but who cared!

Then one day, two events coincidentally occurred simultaneously, which changed everything — and led me to not only quit, but storm out the door with a few choice words:

  • I was accused of leaking some internal financial information to friends at a major Washington newspaper. The reason: They had gotten hold of some damaging data, they were my friends — so it had to be me; and
  • A new reporter was introduced to the newsroom who had some prior experience in my bigger state and I was told he would be taking over the papers in that jurisdiction.

I tried to point out the absurdity of the first accusation to no avail. I then pointed to my unbridled enthusiasm and loyalty in my months of coverage: This too changed nothing.

So, I turned to the boss, told him what I thought of him and stormed out the door, taking the minimal belongings that were mine.

It was a major rush to turn to him and say: “I Quit.”

The managing editor literally chased me down the street and asked if I knew what I was doing and that jobs in journalism weren’t easy to find (even back then).

I said I could care less; I was throwing caution to the wind and let the chips fall where they may.

I was also in my mid-20s!

Now, I justify my quitting without another job on two levels:

  • I was unjustly accused of compromising my place of employ when all I had ever exhibited was hard work, for low pay at absurd hours; and
  • I had snatched from underneath me the opportunity to work for two of the best newspapers in the country at the time.

Total disrespect was the reason I quit — that, and I was young enough to do so with youth’s empowerment of invincibility on my side.

I to this day believe that there is only so much disrespect a person can take at a workplace before they decide enough is enough. And, I might have quit some other jobs before the time was appropriate had I not found other venues — or needed the money.

But my age was the key: It’s a lot easier to quit outright when you are 25 than when you are 45!

And, by way of a postscript: I found another quite awe-inspiring job the next day.

Advertisements

Bunny in the Snow

bunny in the snow

I live in a semi-suburban apartment complex — I can actually on a good day throw a baseball into Washington, D.C.

It was a brutal day on Saturday — it snowed all day and cars were completely covered and blocked. The word was to stay off the road.

I was looking out the window when I saw a bunny scurry across the parking lot. Now, the nearest park is several blocks away and I couldn’t figure where the furry little animal started the journey.

I ran down to see if there was anything I could do, but by the time I got down there the bunny was gone. In retrospect, there was nothing I could have done anyway, but the thought of the animal in the freezing snow was breaking me up.

I am about to repeat an oft-used moral, one that I learned years ago when reading “The Canterbury Tales” — if you can’t be kind to animals, how can you be expected to respect human beings?

Famed modern German philosopher Immanuel Kant, summed it up as follows:

“He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.”

Here’s a quick tale to emphasize the point:

I once had a boss that can only be described as being pure evil and extremely paranoid. So paranoid in fact — and I am not making this up — he would use a mirror on a stick to look under his Jeep when he left work to make sure no one had tampered with the vehicle.

This man also once told me that my writers had to rework a newsletter that he had already approved and they would have to come in on Thanksgiving to do the work.

I complained vehemently to no avail, but told him I could not do that to my colleagues and would come in and do the work myself.

This man hated dogs and made it very clear that he did. He once told me that he got a thrill out of calling over strays — and then kicking them. I was flabbergasted.

One weekend I brought my mixed-breed Ralph to the office, since no one was there. He for some reason entered the above-mentioned boss’ office — and proceeded to pee on his rug.

You see, Ralph sensed the obvious.

And, I hope the bunny made it to wherever he/she was going safely.