I used to work at a call center. Imagine a lunatic asylum that’s been left to govern itself with no outside intervention, where everyone behaves at about a junior high maturity level and the objectives you were given at the beginning of the month are rarely the objectives you are evaluated on at the end of the month. It’s like the Stanford prisoner experiment, except without the guards.
That job increased my anxiety and the frequency of my depressive episodes. I went nights without sleeping, because sleep meant I would have to go to work the next day. My writing stalled to an even more sporadic output than I believed was possible, to the point that I questioned whether I could still consider myself a writer. That job gave me nothing good except the paycheck—which was a paycheck I would never be able to live on without roommates, and I am grateful to have had that luxury.
Eventually, the reality penetrated that I couldn’t fix the situation, the best I would be able to do was remove myself from it. During the month when I decided I was going to quit soon and the two weeks when I knew I was leaving but no one else did,* I felt less stress than I’ve felt at any other point in the three years and five months I spent working for the company. Read absolutely everything into that.
I have wanted to post for a long time about my job but every time I started to write something, it sounded petty. Because it was petty. I will continue not posting about my job. The memories, even the good ones, are shot through with all the bitterness and helplessness and rage that I felt while working there, which is unfortunate because there’s at least one book in those memories.
I’m done with that job now. I won’t go back this time: I’m committed to moving forward. I am relieved.
The end. Finally.
*I saw far too many people fast-walked out of that company after giving notice to feel confident in my ability to work through my notice—and I needed the money—so I didn’t tell anyone I was quitting until I had finished my last day.**
**Note to corporate: this is the bridge you burn when you have a company policy stating managers are not allowed to give references for the people they managed, under threat of disciplinary action.