I Quit

I Quit
September 23, 2005 blurb

In the tradition of the Armstrong family, I’ve up and gone done it the hard way, once again. I submitted my resignation yesterday and walked out the door of my day job. I did it before I got to the point where it turned really ugly and one starts dropping f-bombs with clenched fists, both arms skyward and calling people cunts. I’ve never felt a more urgent need to leave anything or get away than I have this job.

While Heather and I had discussed me leaving the job after we had amassed some savings to cover us in case of emergency, I ultimately had to escape. I was getting to an unfamiliar, hazy place where I didn’t know which way was up. I told Heather I would try to suck it up until we had some breathing room, much like I had for the past year. I was going to quit last August, right as Heather reached her breaking point with post partum depression and I wanted to be home for her. I decided to stay after her meds started working and the work environment changed ever so slightly for the better. But in the end, you can’t change people who don’t want to change or see the need or value of changing. And who wants to die trying?

I liked most of the people I worked with, and enjoyed what I was doing, even if it was client-side boring stuff and the majority of the job tended to the production side of things. I did do an intranet design that I thought was good and was supposed to launch soon, but for the life of me, I was headed into a very dark place. VERY DARK. So I decided to cut and run before one of the best projects I worked on while at the company came to completion.

Think of the worst kind of corporate culture and that was where I was employed. Political, ruthless, uninspiring and despite all of that, still managed to produce a great set of products. I’ve told HR and anybody who would listen that good people would continue to leave until the culture issues were addressed and resolved. It didn’t help that most of my skills were underused by managers who didn’t know what to do with me except berate me behind my back and speak with utter disrespect about their colleagues and with utter disrespect to nearly everyone they spoke to. Add to that being threatened by the brilliance of others (not just mine [insert emotional icon smile here]) and you have a recipe for a clusterfuck that any MBA school would study as an example of how not to run a company or a department.

One example of the hell, which I’ll share because I’ve never seen anything like it in my life: During a very intense period both at home and at work when Leta was a couple of months old, I stayed up very late and worked at home on a project. Since our brand was very much in flux, I had seen some of the early agency work and decided to be inspired by their work branch out a bit. I stress “a bit,” as this was corporate work for a very conservative company. The next morning I brought in my work files, printed them up and brought them to my boss. She looked at them, asked, “where did you get this from?” paused about .8 seconds to flip through the sheets and say “we’re having the agency work on this project” then throw the printed sheets to the floor, turn away from me and start talking to someone else. I’ve had all kinds of client interactions over the years, but never anything like I experienced that day and on the many days to follow.

Sure, every job has things about it that suck. But this one was starting to affect my health physically and mentally. So. Time to go. Sure, not having a steady paycheck is stressful. But that’s my stress. I can control it and manage it.

I can’t tell you what all of the positive email has done for me. I can’t begin to thank you all enough. Heather has received hundreds of messages of encouragement and she’s shared a bunch of them with me. Thank you all so very much. It’s Heather and her brilliance that’s enabled me to wake up for the first time in a month without a migraine. She’s fought ads (I’ve been suggesting them for about 2 years) on her site, and I can’t thank her enough for being willing to make a go of it.

There will be much to do in the coming weeks, but we have some great things in store and I can’t wait to get going on all the fun stuff.