Everybody has a breaking point.
I think that most people assume mine is way lower than it really is. I am not a patient person, but I will tolerate a lot before I’ll lose it. Oh, I’ll mutter and fume and vent and make shaky fist motions behind your back and maybe pretend that your face is in my pillow as I beat the everloving shit out of it, but am I REALLY about to snap? No.
At my last job, I learned even more how to put up with TONS. OF. SHIT. Everybody says that about their job, but I truly mean it. This job started out good. Great, even. But as the recession took over, the company seemed to lose all sense of reality and any knowledge on how to deal with human beings (read: employees). Every time I turned around, I tripped over a new spreadsheet and I had no time to go to the bathroom, lest I miss another hour long conference call.
There were many days I felt I couldn’t take it. There were many days where I flat out couldn’t take it. There were two or three days where I shut my office door and cried. There were two or three times where I got into flat out yelling matches with clients. There were MANY days where I threatened to quit.
There was even the day where I’d had enough by 10:30 AM, and realized that if I didn’t remove myself from the situation, I was going to do something very regrettable. So I gathered up my stuff, screamed, “I’m going home, I’ll be back tomorrow. If anyone needs me, they can suck it!” and then made my huffy exit.
I always came back though. Despite what it may seem, I really do have a good work ethic. I threatened to quit so many times, it became a running joke. ‘Haha, that Talea! She’ll never quit! She always just SAYS it! Uh, but seriously, you might want to let her calm down for a bit right now, she’s a bit tense…..’
Then came the day where I made one of the greatest decisions of my life.
After doing the work of 3 people for a few days (both of my comrades had valid reasons to be out of the reason, however, one was unforseen), I had apparently woken up one day to come face to face with my breaking point.
There was a horrible awful beast of a project that all of the locations had to go through. EXCEPT MINE. My situation was so bad at my location, that we were exempt and were instructed to do nothing but wait for the professionals swoop in. Fine by me.
I tried to relay this to the appointed project manager. I tried to be nice about it. He insisted on being a dick about it. I may have asked him to kindly stop speaking to me like I was a retarded 9 year old….I dont know. But I did it over the phone, so go ahead and try to prove it!
Anyhow, our animosity towards each other built and built until that fateful day in December when I politely emailed him yet again telling him that I was not going to be completing the task, so not to wait until my ‘all done’ email to mark me as complete, as I was exempt. He responded with this precious little love note:
“Talea. Do you even bother to READ the emails we send you? Do you not UNDERSTAND what I’m telling you?”
That. Was. It.
It was one of those amazing moments in life where the next step is crystal clear. The answer, the solution, is staring you directly in the face and the sense of peace is overwhelming. I just knew. I had hit my breaking point.
I had no job lined up. I had no job prospects lined up. I was in the middle of a recession.
But my sanity, my dignity and my life were not worth being talked to like that. I don’t take well to being talked down to like that. So?
I gave them precisely two weeks notice. But really, it wasn’t two weeks. Christmas holidays made it more like a week, and one of the two people at the office wasn’t due back in the country until my third last day, so good luck training her!
In those two weeks, I had them grovelling with me, offering me raises which I turned down, and trying to make deals with me to get me to stay for a month so they could line up a replacement.
I told them I wanted a $10K raise (HA!). They promptly came back with, ‘Nice knowing ya!’ The joke was on them, since I’d already quit and had nothing to lose and probably wouldn’t have stayed even for 10K more.
Every single day since then, I have rejoiced at my decision. Not ONCE have I regretted quitting. I knew I had been stressed, but I had no way to know HOW stressed until I was out of there.
There is one thing that I regret. I had an archnemesis within the company, whom I had dreamed of telling off. Unfortunately, since I had no job lined up, I couldn’t afford to go tell her to eat shit and die, since that may have made it through the company grapevine while I still needed glowing references.
But hey…….if she’s reading this, she knows who she is. So hun, please, go eat shit and die!
And to the guy who sent me the email that was the final straw? I really loved your immediate and awkward, ‘Gee golly I’m sorry! We must have miscommunicated! Fist bump and make up?’ email that you were clearly forced to send to me about 20 minutes after I handed my boss my resignation letter. That was a great laugh. It wasn’t your fault I quit, you were just the final straw. And honestly? Thank you for pissing me off and pushing me into a blind, fearless rage.