Well, I have tried and tried again to be a corporate mogul for far too long (three years). I really have, and truth be told, it’s just not for me. My last day with a full-time, well paying job (health insurance and all!) was on July 12th. I quit for a number of reasons but mostly because I was surrounded by gross misogynists with hair plugs and I wholeheartedly resent the entire capitalist machine. Selling people expensive shit they don’t need seems pretty immoral when climate change is killing us. If you’re going to make a career off of advertising celebrity makeup and adaptogen lattes, at least be honest about it. You’re not Jon Hamm in Mad Men and you’re not changing the world, you’re just trying to cash a check. Admirable? No. Honest? Yes.
Anyways, I quit my job because I felt…. how do you say…. an emotional breakdown coming on every day? I could elaborate more into how categorically terrible going to work was, but I’m choosing to skip over that because it’s called becoming the bigger person and I’m TRYING IT, okay? In short, I felt this overwhelming need to have a life that’s fulfilling to me. I also had tickets to see Robyn in Chicago but I ran out of vacation time and nothing was going to stop me from Dancing On My Own beside a swedish icon, so a bitch put in her two weeks notice.
Now I’m making little to no money but I’m truthfully having the time of my life. It’s challenging, it’s freeing but most of all it’s as if I’m the captain of my own ship—if she’s afloat it’s all me, and if she decides to go down with gusto then it’s also all me! Amidst the chaos, I’m actively unlearning the ways I’ve been made to behave in this entire capitalistic greed tornado. For example, I learned that calling myself “self employed” because I browse freelance sites and make a quick buck from places like nonprofit botanical gardens in Palo Alto makes me feel like I’m making #careermoves, whereas saying I’m unemployed makes me feel like its 1976 and Ronald Reagan is calling me a welfare queen.
And then, the more I think about it, I realize that the very act of me wanting to refer to my situation as something other than it is—which is unemployment—shows the exact reason I’ve chosen to put myself in this position. Quite frankly, I am so sick of being made to feel like I should be defined by my career, and how much money I’m making, and the way I fake how much I love my job when someone I’ve just met asks me “so what do you do?” I resent that we become our careers, so much so that we work, and we work, and we work some more until the until the year end bonus hits our bank accounts or we get the promotion that will help us buy a stupid car with a tv screen in the dashboard and butterfly doors (ahem, Elon, ahem). We work through strep throat and we don’t take vacations because god forbid we come second to those putting their blood sweat and tears into every project. Now, I’m spending eight hours a day redefining my worth because I know that this absolutely can’t be all there is to life, right?
I’m not completely delusional, I know that I have to make money to pay my bills and all that hot garbage. It’s like, Jesus Christ, breathing in this country costs money. But what I don’t get is….. why so much? Why am I compelled to go to Zara once a week to buy a silk midi skirt? Or to go to a fancy brunch because that’s “fun”? Or spend $36 to sweat on a stationary bike for 45 minutes while some girl who my ex-boyfriend would definitely cheat on me with reads the gospel to me? Because if we didn’t think it was necessary, then heaps of thirty year olds with Apple watches wouldn’t be account managers at marketing agencies. And thus, the system would collapse. Luckily, I’m beginning to understand that I’m capable of refusing to buy into all of it. I haven’t done the math yet (I’ve been too busy having pure, unadulterated fun) but I think I need just enough money to pay my rent, my car, and have enough in my coffers in case my cat’s herpes decides to flare. And I hope that as I go about making enough money to support myself and my cat’s STD, I can help people and our planet along the way.
Sometimes I wonder if more people felt how freeing it is to step away from this hamster wheel of wealth and entitlement, the corporate hellscape that we’ve found ourselves in couldn’t continue eating us alive. It’s terrifying though, I understand. Not everyone has the ability to just “walk away—” like I said, I’m not delusional. And yes, at the moment I’m one disaster away from bankruptcy. I’m trying to get health insurance but it turns out it’s actually pretty difficult and confusing when you’re not employed. Shocking, right? A microaggression to keep us in jobs we hate! “Want to keep yourself alive in case of an emergency? Looks like you’re stuck here, working for us!” This morning I woke up with a sore hip and the thought of having to see a doctor spiraled into me being 12 pages deep into Indeed.com with an $80K+ requirement.
But then I remember the thrill of this weird journey, and the fear of not having piles of money to sleep on every night dwindles. Because I’m going to die one day, and I’m not sure when that’s going to be, but I know I won’t really give a fuck about my career growth or the kind of car I’m driving. I’m going to be laying there, hopefully old and gray, thinking of the Wednesday morning I swam in the ocean with a Sea Lion and the opportunities I pursued because they felt like the right thing to do. I’m also going to think of the people I met and the adventures I embarked on and I’m sure as hell not going to regret spending 60 hours a week staring at a computer screen and typing “let’s circle back on this” over and over while drinking lukewarm coffee.
Who knows how long I’ll be unemployed, or self employed, or whatever I call it to make myself feel better while I figure it all out. But I know that any decision I make moving forward will be on behalf of what’s good for me, those around me, and the planet we’re all living on.
Your unemployed fairy ❤