I have never quit anything in my life. Even things that, well you know, I really should have.
Like growing up, when I was a seasoned player of the West Boca Diamonds Softball team, for a record six years until I grew out of the polyester shorts and well, the age limit. I should have let the ambition of being a heavy hitting softball player go from the start. No matter how focused I was when I was at bat, when the ball came toward me I was programmed to just close my eyes, take a quick swing (that made it seem like I was swatting a fly) and twirl around as if I was doing a series of delicate pirouettes.
If, by some twist of fate, my bat made contact with the ball, I would be too overwhelmed that when my flat feet decided to wiggle their way to first base, the man in stripes had already called me OUT! Over the years it got so bad that my team created “special” positions for me. One coach would pump me up by saying, “Jenny, this position is absolutely, positively essential for the success of the team”
The position was to be the fourth outfielder and stand way, way, way behind the other three just in case someone hit the ball out there. So, I would stand way out there by the chain link fence, decorating my brown glove with pieces of grass and tiny purple flowers reciting poetry and rap lyrics that I had heard on the radio that day. The coach would occasionally scream from the dugout, “JENNY, look alive” but I never saw the need, since for twelve games straight not one measly 7-year-old could hit the ball past the infield.
Until one day, I was taking a power nap, standing up, when the ball was finally hit all the way to my cleats. I cost the team three runs that afternoon and was then “promoted” to social chair where my sole responsibility was to smile and hand the team Capri Sun’s and Chewy granola bars in between the innings.
I have been fortunate enough to work jobs that have had expiration dates. In college, I worked four years as a campus tour guide and could no longer continue once I graduated. After college, my first job traveling the country lasted for one year. So when It was time to go, I simply left.
Squeezing my way by without having to prepare a tongue twisting speech to present a boss, before giving two weeks, about being unhappy, or leaving for something else, or just not having the desire to come back to work in a place that gave me the heebie jeebies, left me speechless when I had to quit my job this week.
I was moving to New York. Unless I could clone myself, I had no choice but to let this job go. To leave, for once, because I wanted to.
There is a strange feeling that will pulsate through your veins when you leave a place prematurely. A tingle that will stop you dead in your tracks and make you question if the decision you are about to make is the right one—no no no—the best one. You may be leaving because you just can’t take it anymore. You may be leaving for something or someone else that you will gamble will give you different things in a way you so desperately need. But you never know what will really happen when you walk away. One day you will wake up, tired of hearing your monotone and raspy voice giving excuses, and realize it is time to leave a place that no longer fits the seams of your life. I hope, my friends, that time is soon.
Earlier this year, it was Steve Jobs that gave me the initial kick in the butt to get moving. It was his words that haunted me every day I continued to do something I knew I was just settling for.
“I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”
And anyone who can, in one lesson, teach you about work and love, is truly sensational.
[The photo at the top is a picture of me from my softball days. I had to really dig around the house to find that embarrasing peice of memorabilia]