I’ve been dreading it for approximately 13 years now.
That is approximately how long it felt that my stomach was being wound into
tiny little knots of panic and regret, fear and loathing, suck and extra suck.
I am not the greatest at confrontation to begin with–it’s something I’ve been
working on, actually–but to confront a boss, with bad news, which is good news
for me and something I want? Giving my two weeks notice? It’s like a punishment
designed especially for me by a team of psychic psychologists in hell.
The library was the second job I had in
important one. I moved out here from New York with no prospect for employment, $1,000 in the bank, and a big, stupid dream, most of which centered
around all the loan money they were going to give me for grad school, and the
new bohemian lifestyle to which I’d adhere, and which did not involve cubicles
and dress shoes. As it turns out, here in San Francisco, $1,000 and a dream is not enough to keep you in kibble, let alone a
roof and nice shoes. At least, if you’re me. I’ve never been very good with
So I went and got a job. I could have worked at a bookstore
or a coffee shop or a fast food joint and preserved my sense of freedom and
living on the edgeitude, but instead I went straight for the classified ads and
found me a position at a public relations firm, publicly relating to the sales
team. I do not like salespersons. If you are a salesperson, I am sure you’re a
lovely person with many good qualities and I have judged you harshly and
without just cause. However, I have worked a total of three times with sales
teams now, and now I’m pretty sure that probably most of them, except for you, have crawled from swamps
or dark puddles of oil or made of pure, living evil.
That didn’t work out so well for me. Mostly, I think,
because I assumed that while sales people all over the world are generally made
from shadows and chewing gum,
other animal! It’s pretty much what I thought the weather out here would be
like. While other generally temperate places may get downright chilly and have
rain and fog and even evenings without the warming and friendly sun, San Francisco weather was like a warm and soothing bath from which I’d never emerge, so let’s
give all my outerwear to Goodwill before I move! Yes, I know. But I really
solve all my problems, up to and including the boyfriend away from whom I was
moving, because he would not just get the fuck out of my house. It’s a long
story, and it’s possible he is dead now.
I was very, very unhappy in that job and with those people, and I started my grad school program, hooray for the MFA. I
met Marie who is wonderful, who worked at my school’s library, who, when I
expressed admiration and envy, told me hey, the Periodicals department is
hiring! I dropped by to talk to the librarian wearing–and I still remember this for
some reason–red corduroy pants and a black sweater knit from ribbons, and the
lady who became my boss was interested in having me submit a resume, come
in and talk to her, come be a part of the Periodicals Team. She had a nose
ring, and a giant wolf tattoo and she was wearing a peasant blouse and a
handful of crystals around her neck, and I had the weirdest feeling that
everything was going to be okay.
Things have been okay for five years and one month, now. That is a long damn
time to have worked in any one place. At least, for me. From college, I bounced around jobs like a Weeble who wobbles but will not fall down; sometimes back into the job I
vacated, after just a month. In the employment area, I have always been
the kind of person who cannot be happy in any one place, who always thinks
something better is right over there and I’ll be right back. Whoops! It wasn’t
better! Hey, look at that! It’s shiny! I think the basic lesson has been that I
am just not the kind of person who should work for a living, and instead should
have a money fountain of some sort in her pants.
But the library was a job that, as it turns out, suited me
perfectly. So the opposite of corporate, a building full of laid-back, crazy
librarians who just fucking love online databases, and telling people things,
and going out to lunch together and figuring stuff out. Sometimes they’d
figure stuff out for days and days and days on the internal e-mail list, and
you’d want to slowly claw your eyes out. Most times, I was pretty much in love
with this place, and these people: my boss who was more or less the best and
most understanding boss I have ever had and probably ever will have; the work
that usually did not feel like work; and sexually harassing my coworkers.
And now I’m leaving this job that I’ve loved for five years
and these people who have become a part of not just my working life but my
daily life, after surviving the gauntlet with the awesome lady
who hired me. I expected her to bite my head off and spit it into her trashcan
when I came to her with the news. Maybe I was overestimating my own importance;
maybe I was feeling more regret and sorrow than I had actually acknowledged to
myself. Maybe giving two weeks notice is just fucking scary and uncomfortable.
But she smiled, this lady who has been my supervisor for so long and who has
been good, so very good to me, and told me congratulations, and I did not burst
into tears. I am excited about my new job and the work and the people and the
bags of money they want to give me, but God, I’m going to miss this place.