In May of 2009 I was diagnosed with clinical depression. Of the situational sort. Which meant that my doctor put me on Prozac with the understanding that I would be on it only as long as it took to change the things that were seriously wrong with my life that caused the depression.
The idea was that the Prozac would help me figure out what those things were and then get my ass out of bed so that I would change them.
And it worked. Really well.
It became clear that the two main things I needed to change were my marriage and my job. Pretty big life things, as far as life goes. I was spending nine hours a day working and the rest of the hours a day married, and both things were making me absolutely miserable.
It turns out the marriage thing was easier to change than the job thing. All I had to do was say “I don’t want to be married anymore,” and then–bam–done. Moved out. Split bank accounts. Divvied furniture. Cried and cried and yelled and blamed and broke the news and suffered embarrassment and judgment and complete failure. Easy peasy.
But I’ve spent every day for the last year saying “I don’t want this job anymore” and, because of The Great Recession, not being able to do a goddamn thing about it.
People told me I was lucky to have a job at all. I said fuck them. Do they even know what working in advertising for too long does to one’s soul? Haven’t they watched Mad Men? Advertising puts the “ad” in “Mad.” It’s true.
I can’t even count the number of resumes and cover letters I’ve sent off over the last year. I don’t want to think about it. It’s too depressing.
Every Monday the only thing that got me out of bed and into work was the (Prozac-fueled) hope that maybe that was the week I could quit. Things can change so quickly sometimes. Maybe I would get a call Monday, interview Tuesday, get a job offer Thursday, quit Friday. Maybe it could all happen in a week.
I looked. And waited.
As it turns out, the right job found me, but it did not happen in a week. It happened in two months. On April 5 I received an e-mail from an HR lady. “Hi. I found your resume posted on Monster. Would you be interested in this job?”
Um. Yes, please.
I was offered the position on June 8.
The first form I’ve ever been excited to fill out at this job is the exit interview form. I’m having a hell of a time with it. I think because it’s the first form I can be completely honest on.
Based on your experience with us, what do you think it takes to succeed at this company?
Patience, a lacking social/family life, extreme personal flexibility with the understanding and acceptance that that flexibility is NOT shared by the employer.
What does your new job offer that this job does not?
The ability to balance work and personal life, better pay, chance for advancement, respect, meaningful work, a supervisor who works with me and not against me.
A few months ago we had to fill out these ridiculous “goal-setting” forms. I filled out two: an actual one that I would turn into my boss and my boss’s boss and my boss’s boss’s boss and HR, and one that I posted on my blog. The #1 goal of the one I posted on the blog was to quit my job.
That day I’ve been waiting for all year was Monday. I have successfully met my goals for this job. I have quit it.
Now I really need to figure out what to say to people when they ask where I’m going. The assumption is that I’m going to another ad agency. But no.
Since I haven’t had enough of an opportunity to rehearse my new answer to that “what do you do?” question people love to ask, I’ve heretofore been answering with a slight lift in my voice at the end to signify a question.
A medical research company? That specializes in oncology?
Medical journals? They write medical journals? And I’ll be editing them?
A cancer research center? Editing cancer research?
I’ll be helping cure cancer, okay? CURING. CANCER.
Take that, motherfucking depression.