I quit one of my jobs today.
It’s really more accurate to say that I made official what I had already planned to do. I let people in my department know that I’ll be gone at the end of June. I introduced them to the guy I’m recommending to take my place. So now it’s official. I’ll be gone from here in a month.
When a long-time friend — who was the chair of the computer science department — called to offer me this job almost five years ago, I first turned it down. I’m ashamed to say that it felt beneath me to work part-time for a college overseeing computer labs and helping students with their problems.
But I was broke and desperate. I hadn’t figured out how to transition from my previous days as a political consultant. I was looking for a big opportunity, but none had come my way.
I’m grateful now for a small opportunity that offered me a lifeline while I needed it.
Honestly, it was the easiest job I’ve ever had, but I was well-paid for a part-time job.
It could be frustrating at times in the beginning. Two of the four labs I oversaw had aging Dell computers that required constant troubleshooting and repair. I quickly became an expert at replacing power supplies, fixing dead fans and swapping out misbehaving hard drives.
Things got easier as all the labs were slowly upgraded with newer equipment. Then it got even easier after one of the labs was converted to iMacs last year. (I can work on Windows PCs, but I strongly prefer Macs — just as I can eat bologna but prefer filet mignon.)
When I took the job, I was pretty sure I’d be there only a few months until I found something better. But the path to something better has been a long time in coming. I’m still not where I need to be, but I’m slowly getting there.
When I leave for the last time in a month, I’m going to miss some people here. I’ve had some wonderful co-workers, but I think I’ll miss the students the most. Not all of them, of course, but I’ve run across some amazing people — including the guy who I’m pretty sure will take my place. (He’s actually more technically qualified than I am and he has a better attitude about helping ignorant people, so I figure it won’t be long before the department is grateful that I quit.)
But my focus is on the future. I’ve been working at a real estate company — doing operations and marketing — for about 18 months and then I got my own real estate license six months ago. I’ll be working in real estate full-time for the time being, but I still expect that to be a stepping stone to something else.
I didn’t want to take this job when it was offered. I also didn’t want to add the real estate job when it was offered. I further resisted the idea of getting my real estate license for about a year.
I’m not good at things that I don’t want to do, but I know I have to keep moving forward — taking opportunities — in order to get back to where I once was financially. If I stay with real estate for long, I’m confident that it will make me wealthy. If I find the right other opportunity, though, I’ll make myself wealthy in a way more consistent with my personality and natural skills. I have an intense need to create art, but I have to get paid well.
When I started this job, I couldn’t wait to get away from it. Now, I’m mostly thankful for the stability it provided me when I was desperate not so long ago.
It’s time to walk away from this place, because there are other things to do and other places to go. I’m excited about the future, but I’ll always be thankful for my time in HSB 450.
This place has been good to me, but it’s time to move on.