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marthawells

Martha Wells

My Flying Lizard Circus


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marthawells

Friday Thinking

A twitter conversation made me think about my last day job. It started out great, and gradually spiraled down to a point where I would come home and be too depressed and angry to write. (I had gone part time with it because I was currently trying to finish the Ile-Rien trilogy.) It would take me a couple of hours of playing a game (we're talking Zoo Tycoon or Sim City) before I could do anything but replay the awful day in my head. (Anxiety issues and OCD really don't help with situations like that.)

Then one day after a particularly nasty berating for something I didn't do, I got the news that a friend had died. That weekend, going to the funeral, I decided life was too short, came back on Monday, and quit. This was bad timing because I was already having my first career crash at that point. (Though I had no idea the crash had started -- I had two books coming out that year, three short stories, and a non-fiction article, the most I'd ever published in one year since my first book sold. This is often the way with career crashes, you're face-planted on the floor before you even know you're falling. A friend compared it to having a job where you get fired, and no one tells you. You just keep coming in every day and working, and only gradually realize that they aren't paying you anymore and no one wants you there.)

But I didn't know then that it would be four years before I sold another novel, so I quit. I was lucky because my husband had a good job and I was able to quit without starving when my sales dried up. (He's been laid off more times than I remember, but his superpower is literally interviewing and finding a new job. He should teach a class but I'm not sure he has any idea how he does it. His superpower has made my writing career possible. I just wish I had a better career so I could pay him back.)

Anyway, not sure what the point of this is, other then wow am I glad I quit that job.

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Good for you for quitting a horrible job, even if the next thing wasn't what you expected. I had repeatedly stayed in jobs that made me miserable for fear of not finding anything else, and running out of money. It sucks that so many jobs are on paper fine, but the bullying or other crap makes them horrible in a slow am-I-really-overreacting kind of way.

Yeah, it really sucks. And so many people have no other choice, especially now.

I agree that life is too short. I know people who have stayed at jobs they hate for years. In some cases I can see their health being affected negatively by the stress, yet they continue on. I don't understand continuing to go to a job that is making your life miserable and ruining your health and not trying to do anything to change the situation. Just going in one day and quitting isn't possible for a lot of people, but looking for another job before quitting ought to be possible for most. When I had a job that turned bad (a dirty old man for a boss and dishonest top management) I went looking for something else. The new job was good, but the company didn't survive long. Then I ended up becoming self-employed. I've never gotten rich but I'm happy with what I do and I think that matters.

I think it's so hard to find jobs now that people feel it's not worth trying to look. So much depends on what kind of jobs you're trying to get, where you live, etc, and when you're already depressed, trying to make a change like that is monumentally difficult. The stress of it is even worse when you have other family members depending on you. And I think we're trained to not pay attention to our feelings and just try to put up with abusive work situations. It's a situation that just sucks all around.

I was thinking of people who aren't depressed, or at least weren't before they spent years hating their job. For most of the people I'm thinking of, being trained to just put up with situations that make them unhappy is probably a large part of it. That and being at least slightly scared of the idea of change. I also know a few people who seem to gain pleasure from complaining about their job as well as various other aspects of their lives.


Yes, the people who could get away, but don't, for whatever reason. That sucks too.

I'm glad you quit, too. I wish I could, but not having a partner puts a serious crimp in the plan.


Thanks, and I wish you could quit, too. I'm also lucky I live somewhere that's not very expensive. Bryan is probably half the cost of living as Austin, if that.

I've been laid off 4 times in 30 years of working at A&M, every time because of budget cuts. During my last round of interviews I had what was my worst interview ever. I found out later I came in second, and they offered me another position when it opened, so what do I know?

And you pay me back with every book you write. And the occasional eggs benedict ;)

This one time .... at a job that sucked mightily...I got yelled at for some stupid crap. It was the last straw. And I came home and wanted to quit. But we had two kids, and we needed both incomes. So I didn't.

And to this day, I STILL wish I had. Or at least, I wish I had put on my big girl pants and worked on getting a new better job. But I was so demoralized and made to feel worthless, like this was the only job I could ever get. If the parallels with spousal abuse ring true, it's because it was totally like that.


It's exactly like that. I don't think I would have quit if something hadn't shocked me into it.

That takes courage. I was in a similar position--I remember at one point screaming into my motorcycle helmet in rage at my boss on the way home across the Golden Gate Bridge because no one could hear me and it felt so damned good. But I didn't quit until I had something else lined up because I'm so very cautious. That couldn't have been healthy. I admire you for doing what was right for you rather than what was necessarily safe.

I'm glad I love my job now. :)

I'm glad you got out of there and that you found something much better!

Oddly enough, many employers these days don't want to hire/sometimes won't even consider candidates who are unemployed. (I know, I don't understand it either.) so the best time to jobhunt is when you already have a job.

Yeah, a few of my friends ended up in that trap. They got laid off and then it took forever to finally get employed again.

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It is weird how you can have a bad feeling about a place/people and have no idea where it's coming from, and then later you realize you were right. I think that's another example of how we're taught not to listen to our instincts. Anyway, I'm glad you were able to get out of there.

I was in a soul killing job at one point. Completely stressed and miserable. Don didn't just hand me the phone he dialed my old boss and told me to ask for my old job back. It was a severe pay cut but I was so fortunate that I was able to go back to my low stress former employment, and we managed the finances and survived. Husbands can be pretty wonderful.

I'm really glad Don did that. I think sometimes people can't see how bad it's getting and need an outside perspective. Like you get used to feeling terrible all the time and think it's normal.

The boss in my previous job was really toxic; my family was urging me to get out, but I was too worn down every day to hunt for a new job, and because of the economy I didn't have the guts to just quit. Finally the boss fired me for "poor performance" despite my high-volume, high-quality work (I won a statewide award that year). It was such a relief that I couldn't refrain from humming happily as I packed up my desk, despite doing so under beady-eyed supervision.
I am very thankful that it took me just nine months to find another full-time job in my field, and this one has a good work environment.

So anyway, congratulations on having the guts to just quit!

Thanks! And I'm glad you got fired and found something better! It's so hard to get out of those situations sometimes, you just convince yourself there's no other option.

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