Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Oh The Lemurs Will Fly

People keep trying to keep me from quitting. I understand their good intentions. I know they are trying to protect me, save me from myself perhaps. I want them to stop. The decision is somewhat out of my hands. Yes, I could backtrack with my RVP, make nice and manage to salvage my place with this company. Yes, I could ignore the things I dislike about my job and join the land of the gruntled.

I keep hearing this from my friends, family, people I know, and people I don't know:

"In this economy, you should be happy to have a job at all."
"You don't want to be out of a job right now."
"You really think its wise to quit your job right now?"
"At least you have a job."
"Do whatever it takes. Now is not the time to walk away from a steady paycheck."
"Being unemployed is not a good option."

Really? Thank you all for the words of wisdom, but please stop. I love you all (except those I don't know), but you are wrong.

What is steady? Could my hotel be sold tomorrow? Yes. Could I be laid off by the new company? Yes. Most new owners let the entire previous management team go. Could I snap and throw a lemur at a guest's face tomorrow resulting in a pink slip? Most likely not, but if a guest pushed the right buttons and a lemur was handy...well, yes. Could a crazy employee slap the company with an even crazier lawsuit that puts my job in jeopardy? Oh yeah. Some of you know that story. How stable really are any of our jobs?

Let's go through some of the reasons for me to stay:

"Steady" Income I agree. That is nice to have. I have bills to pay, a wife and puppy to feed, car, home, insurance, student loans, credit card, utilities, and maintenance costs (for home, cars, and ourselves).

Loyalty I like my direct boss as a person (though not always as a boss). I like some of my employees very much. They have been a joy to work with.

...hmmm...yeah, I got nothing else.

Now, the reasons to leave:

Finances Most people get weird about discussing their money. I don't understand this. We all have money. We all work towards having more. Most of our life is spent amassing it, paying bills with it, spending it on kids, homes, cars, pets, jewelry, art, projects, entertainment, food, and other random needs or wants. Yet, when someone asks details of money, people clam up. I will be honest with you. I make just over $38,000. I am salaried. It is more than my last job, but not by much. My last job was based on a 40-45 hour work week. My current job is based on a 50-55 hour work week. That means, on a typical week, I make about $13.50 an hour. On a busy week, like this one where I was called in for 14 hours on my day off, I make around $11.40 an hour. That is a lot of work for not much pay, especially once you take account for all the extras I do for my job and the treatment I've received lately. I made more an hour working at a health food store ten years ago, before I had a degree.

Physical Health I work long hours, weekends, and holidays. I am under great stress, do not eat well, and sit a lot. I weigh more than I ever have. My cholesterol is dangerously high. I have heart palpitations. People say I should make time to exercise. Thank you. Let me make time from my special time making machine. It is hard enough to eat with my schedule. Eleven hour day where I get home at 7pm, need to make dinner, spend some time with my wife, and get some rest before doing it again. Let's not forget that I am also renovating my condo, refinishing furniture, painting my light boxes, and have a novel to write.

Mental Health My job doesn't fulfill any of me dreams. It is a job, nothing more. Should I turn something I don't enjoy doing into a career? I find myself growing less patient, forgiving, and kind. I don't like it, but I am under a lot of stress and guests are more demanding and entitled each day. I need to unwind, but I don't have many chances to do so.

Social Health I got about five texts this week that read, "You working?" Not, "Hey man. What's up?" or "You wanna go to a movie?" or "Annie and I are going to dinner. Want to come?" That is often the first thing people think to ask me when they call or text. Why? Because I am always working. Some of my friends don't even bother to pick up the phone and call me anymore. They know I won't make it. Hotels never close. I work weekends. I miss birthday parties, dinners, nights out, church functions, road trips, and holiday get togethers. I miss my friends. I miss being able to visit family members who live far away or across town.

Spiritual Health It doesn't matter if you are atheist or a devote Christian, people need something that feeds them on a deep level. This isn't just church for me. It is camping, hiking, spending time outdoors. Half my weekends are spent pushing papers and dealing with guests. I would like to go to church more. I would also like to go camping. No, I need to go camping. I find myself growing more cynical. I have always been a practical optimist. I am very pragmatic, but I believe in the best of people and myself. Lately, I have been losing the optimist part. I can't blame all of this on my job, but it is a contributing factor.

Overall Happiness Just thinking I am down to my last few months at this job has made me happier than I've been in a year. I can make money doing other things. If my business ventures do not work out, I will take a job. Maybe it will make less overall than I make now, but poverty is not the worst thing in the world. It is tough and stressful in its own right, true. But, this job is killing me in more ways than one. I will be happier earning a little less if I am also working a little less. So...long story short, stop trying to talk me out of it. I am making the leap. Don't call me egotistical; I am too smart and talented to be wasting myself on this job and this company.

This is not directed at any one person. I have had a lot of support about my decision from many of you, even employees that I will be abandoning. The support has been great. I just want those of you who are still clinging to the cliched "at least you have a job" mentality to know that I am annoyed. By saying these things to me you show doubt in me as a writer, artist, and entrepreneur. Stop that!


Anonymous said...

Do what makes you happy, otherwise it's not worth it, regardless of how much money you make.

Sycamore Girl said...

We are so happy for you Charlie! Seriously so excited for your freedom and ventures that will most positively fulfill you and your wifey to the brim!
I love that you are taking the leap!

Kristi said...

I support your decision Chuck, you deserve to be happy!

Chris said...

This post is really inspiring!


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