A sickening freedom.
You see, after a long (damn long) hiatus of soul-searching, I’m back at it again. Writing. Dreaming. Seeking more than just ‘freedom’. In order to understand the meaning of quitting at its purest form, we have to go back in time where life was simpler.
Times when you were a child, you look up to your nearest hero and heroine- waking up early to feed you and rush to their obligation to the world. It excites you for some reason.
For many of us, we often wonder how life would be if we are a an adult at that time. We thought that if we work too, we are capable of materializing our short-lived desire with all the money we are about to earn. We prayed and wished upon the shining stars,
“I can’t wait to be an adult!”. Oh and it usually comes with, “I hate school, I want to grow up fast”, and possibly, “This house sucks, I wish I could just grow up and live on my own. No rules”.
Oh the naivety.
As much as I wish I could turn back time, the horror of going through all those years again allow me to regain my stupid focus. Nevertheless, I was and still am naive. Thinking that everything will go my way once I reached adulthood. More so now that I’m married.
The Art of Quitting
First job: Lasted a month.
Well, I was 17, and it was a part-time thing. Most people during that age were dead-set on having their own pocket money. It was our first time experiencing our short freedom. I worked with a palm-oil company. It was a small company so there wasn’t much pressure. Except for my job position; handling accounts and payments.
A part of me really liked it. But since I have to work 6 days a week was pretty exhausting. Mom was pissed, yet she hated it when I’m at home doing nothing. Anyone can relate? Dad had no choice but to convince me to quit. But there’s still a month left before my enrollment.
Regrets: I didn’t stood my ground. I wanted to continue for an extra RM400 a month, yet I succumbed to obligation.
Second job: Lasted 2 months.
It was a job I accrued during my last semester at a local university. Boy this job hits me hard. I hated it yet I lived for the experiences this boss of ours taught. At a glance, our work seems legit. Days later, I loath it personally. See, our (my batch mates were in it too) job was to handle and manage events for collectors’ items.
Some of the items were considered rare. They claimed it was from a certain movies – items like movie script all the way to its prop. Boss claimed it was the real thing, bought straight from an auction. Convincing? You be the judge. In any case, we went with it. From giving tours, wearing props, going through concerts filled with crazy people – twas’ nerve-wrecking.
Regrets: I didn’t keep in touch with him because I hated the pressure. Looking back at it, he taught me all kinds of worldly experience that I never knew existed.
Third job: Lasted a year.
The moment I graduated, I managed to secure a job in the administration department. It was a ‘green development’ company – a start-up one at that. At least, at the managerial level. Point is, I was introduced to a corporate world. We deal with all kinds of VIPs, including the former Chief Minister of Sabah.
I managed to lasted a year because of the contract. Truth is, I never supported the project. It was convincing at first but months later, I wavered. The protest of our local people, funnily enough, reached me, not the board members. After a year I applied to multiple jobs in the West. The moment I quit, I secured a job.
Regrets: If I resisted the protest of others, I will no doubt had a handful of people to network with in the corporate world. At the same time, learn about sustainable cities which I am extremely fond of.
Forth job: Lasted 8 months.
Damn this one is hard. You have no idea how happy and content I was of this job. It wasn’t necessarily because I write for a living, but it was the people in it. For the first time in my life, I thought I finally found it. A place where I can truly commit to for years to come. We bonded, went hiking, had our breakfast routine, scolded by our supportive boss and the annoyance of our crazy manager.
One after another, we had crazy deadlines. Scolded for not performing but evolved for committing. It was harsh to work as a writer with crazy deadline but then again, such is the nature of the job. But I miscalculated my timing.
Regrets: Can’t believe I’m saying this but deep down I wished I didn’t quit. I thought I could continue working, further away from my spouse. But after much discussion and arguments, I decided to go back and set-up my life together with him.
Fifth job: 2 months and counting
Currently it is a part-time English tutoring. Not much to say here except for being bloody underpaid…
I realised I quit a lot. From the moment I finished secondary school, to pre-u classes, my road had seen closed door and unfixed bridges. Currently, I’m tip-toeing on broken glass.
What exactly happened when you quit?
It sucks, plain and simple. At first, the thought of securing another job before quitting takes precedence. Over the years, I hated it. I feel like I have to succumb to the needs of society before my own. So I suck it up and threw away all the insurance of the world and took the leap.
Backups are extremely helpful don’t get me wrong. But there are times when you just want to drop everything and recollect yourself by not committing to any work. That is what I’m feeling at the moment. It was great at first because eventually, you realized your mind is the most powerful asset you possess.
No matter how jobless you think you are, once you’ve regained your composure and equipped your resolve, your next job isn’t far of. Sure it will take some time – unanswered emails, failed screening, flunked interviews and well, repeat.
Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!
See, all the motivational talks and readings you sought will always have such lines. Things like the only way to fight the negativity harboring in your heart is to be positive….girl what? Do shits you love, take some time alone, go to the gym, spend some time with your friends. Bullshit.
Here’s the real tea:
Your savings are depleting fast because no matter what you do, nothing seems to work.
It is horrible. Everyday you are cutting off food from your table just so you have enough to get to the next promising interviews. Everyday, you are spending lesser and lesser just so you can feed yourself with what money you have left. Your rent is due, phone bills are stacking up and so is your car.
Slowly, you have to let go all of it. With it, your self-confidence is deteriorating. You started to disconnect from the people around you. Giving excuses to not meeting them because you can’t afford to spend money on restaurants or cafes. Your social media gone silent and no one hears from you for months.
Do shits you love? Take some time alone? You don’t have the money to travel, or buy the books you love, or go hiking because of the cost and effort you have to do.
Go to the gym? …if only they don’t cost a ton just to spend 1 hour doing actual workout and the other hour breaking the mirror with selfies.
Spend time with friends? Unless you friend won’t mind hanging out at your place and bring food every time you wanted to hang out then yeah.
Aren’t there any lights in the tunnel!!???
I will be lying to say there isn’t or else this post is going to be extremely depressing. Take a deep breath and hear me out.
1. There’s always choices.
No matter how lonely you think this road has been, you have a choice to change that. Pat yourself in the back because you managed to set your priorities. This post isn’t just about securing that next job, but it is also about looking after yourself too. I don’t know how you are going to look for options but I would suggest you to start small.
Reach out to others – preferably your friends, close one. Share some of your problems. I know it might cost you, but you wouldn’t know if that circle of yours might connect you with others who can provide you with opportunities. Next thing you know, they might just have one.
If you are a family-oriented person, then you should know what to do. Be with them, connect with their friends and their friends’ friend. And what better way to cool your head with the family you grew up with. Spend time with them, regroup your thoughts and work it out with them.
For some of you, your spouse. Don’t ever neglect daily communication. Catch up to each other’s feeling, and most importantly, goals. Work it out with one another to help you face this hurdle. If both of you really meant to be with each other, then start having that best-friend talk a norm.
2. Keep the effort going
I learned this the hard way. Quitting without a backup plan isn’t for the ‘faint of heart’. If you know you can’t handle being in such a pressure, don’t do it.
If you are in my position, my condolences to you. Guess you have a boat to paddle to eh? Point is, don’t stop. It is frustrating, I know. But the moment you stop you’ll regret it even more. Point number 1 is always there.
The horizon is overwhelmingly vast at the moment with no land to be of sight. Please do not let that discourage you.
Do not be afraid of it. Be more afraid because you didn’t try. Somewhere far across the horizon lies your destination. Remember, hold on to that oar and keep paddling.
3. Your time is yet to come
Let me list down some of the late bloomer I personally admired so you get my gist;
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson – He transitioned his career twice. From football to wrestling. In his mid 30s, Time named him one of top 100 influential people in 2016. He is Instagram famous too. Follow him for your daily dose of motivation.
Ray Kroc – The owner of McDonald was once a milkshake-device salesman. Yup. At the age of fifty freaking two, (52) he bought McD. Slowly, he turns it into a franchise and you know what happened after that. A happy meal.
Toni Morrison – Have you read her books!? At the age of 39 she finally published her novel. But, it wasn’t until later that she won a Nobel Prize and Pulitzer for her book titled ‘Beloved’.
Oprah Winfrey – The famous line, ‘Oprah wasn’t built in a day’. Her show made its way to the public only when she is at the age of 32.
Stan Lee – You know who this is if you are a Marvel fan. He began drawing and creating his first character at the of 43. Finally at the age of 86, his work reached a breakthrough with the debut of Iron Man on screen.
Those are to name a few.
This is not a post to remind you of your fragile footing, because I too, currently struggling with landing the perfect job. Be it working for myself or once again serving others, I’m not about to make the same mistakes I did.
During this Ramadhan, I wish all my muslim readers a blessed month and to my non-muslim readers, I hope you find this post motivational.
See you at the next one!