Disclosure: This post is an excerpt from a book I’ve considered writing for a long time. I’m testing out the idea here to see if changing people’s perceptions on quitting is possible or if it’s even a topic worth reading about.
I’m a proud quitter. I’ve been quitting things since I can remember. Whether it’s a sport, a job, or a relationship, I quit sometimes and I like to think that’s okay. Quitting these days comes with a lot of negative attention but I’m here to set the record straight: It’s okay to be a quitter. Just don’t do it because I said so. Do it because you want to.
Have you ever spent too long at a job and dreamt of the day you would walk in one morning and put in your notice? I used to dream of this day often. When the days were long and the commute was daunting, I would draft letters to my boss telling him or her why today would be my last day at the office. Or I would envision the moment when I’d surprise my boss with the old we-need-to-talk meeting and drop the bomb that I quit. I wasn’t doing it to get a reaction from someone else but more to gain a sense of freedom and independence from “the man”. I was never trying to burn a bridge (although one fantasy did literally involve burning a swing bridge), I simply craved change. Here you will read about the many ideas I’ve had on how to quit something, why quitting is okay and shouldn’t be thought of as a negative thing, and what happens after you find yourself quitted. But first, a little about me, Catarina the Quitter.
I grew up in suburban Atlanta. I now consider myself a floater (quitter, floater, lover; I like these words). My sister offered me this title and it stuck. I float between the US, New Zealand, and any other country that will accept my head-in-the-clouds mentality. I don’t have steady “work”. Instead, I practice what I enjoy most: writing, reading, and learning the coffee trade. I’ve worked the 9-5 since I graduated high school and I decided to quit that lifestyle last May. Technically, the decision was long before that but my last day in an office was May 24, 2013. I’m sure I’ll be back (money, friends, life pressure) but for now I’m enjoying the life I lead. I also have a million interests and hobbies. I have played every sport under the sun and nothing has ever really stuck. As in, I’m not a professional athlete but I’ve also never quit because of an injury (unless that one time in kickball counts). I dabble in many crafts and other leisurely activities but never made a living doing it. In the end, it may all come down to the fact that I like trying new things and get bored quickly.
Here is a list of jobs I’ve had (in no order): Sanrio Surprises cashier and Easter basket designer, Arden B retail shopping assistant, daycare teaching assistant (ages 10mos-18mos), senior living center activities coordinator (ages 60+), gardener, babysitter, paralegal (real estate), account manager, sales manager, interpreter (Spanish to English), accountant assistant (taxes and estate), file clerk, pizza and sub sandwich chef, dishwasher, hostess, painter (residential), country club server and bartender, writer, and envelope stuffer.
Here is a list of sports I’ve played (in no order): volleyball, basketball, soccer, cheerleading, swimming, tennis, gymnastics, ballet and tap dance, rhythmic gymnastics, synchronized swimming, archery, fencing, softball, kickball, golf, field hockey, mountain climbing, rowing, surfing, cycling, running, skating, water skiing, wakeboarding, hiking, and bocce ball (if that counts).
Here is what I thought I would be when I grew up (in no order): optometrist, supreme court judge, mailwoman, painter, big-shot C-level executive, safari guide, chalkboard sign artist and professional athlete.
Subsequently, these are lists of things I’ve done and quit. Sure, I dabble in a few of these things now but not for long. I like the fact that I can say I’ve done something, tried it, got the t-shirt, and moved on. I graduated from university with a liberal arts degree in economics and business. I didn’t decide my major until the last minute because I wanted to take a class in everything first then commit (subsequently, I never studied psychology or chemistry). I figured that by studying economics, I could have a business of my own some day, or get my MBA or JD. To this day, I’ve done neither. Once I got into the working world and starting earning fatter paychecks (and my student loans kicked in), I was stuck. Excuses excuses, I know. I’ve tried desperately to understand why nothing has stayed with me long enough or peaked my interest enough to make a career of it (ADD perhaps?) but I’ve also quit trying to find the reasoning in that. I am of the belief there are some things in life you just will never understand. Instead, I’m embracing the quitting lifestyle and turning it into a positive.