Tuesday, November 11, 2014


So here we are; the first week of the rest of my life passed into twilight. I imagine it's going to stop feeling weird soon. It may hit that this isn't a vacation, and I'm not going back to work next Monday. Because that hasn't hit, not yet, not really.

I've spent a week opening and closing a blank screen to post about leaving my job. I did quit. I wasn't let go or asked to step down; I wasn't fired. It's unfortunate to feel it necessary to clarify that, but Canadian Publishing is in an unfortunate state of letting a lot of people go.

I understand I held a position of enviable privilege. Or at least some perceived privilege. And I'm not going to say that wasn't an enviable thing. So why did I leave? Because I've been living in crisis-mode for the past sixteen months.

Here's the thing about crisis-mode. When you are in it, you are hyper-focused and hyper-aware. It's an adernaline-flooded state of Getting Shit Done. But when that's allowed to normalize, you cease being aware and become always under-fire. Everything is a threat. Everyone wants to fight. You are angry all the goddamn time. It makes one sharp-edged and brittle and toothy.

I've been baring my teeth at people a lot this year. A lot more than I ever wanted.

A couple months ago, I realized that I was still operating in crisis-mode a year after the supposed inciting crisis had passed. I had been so focused on keeping my feet one in front of the other that I'd neglected to look up and notice the path didn't lead to anywhere I wanted to be.

So I tried the easy way, and I applied to other jobs. I even got an interview at a place that I'd always wanted to work, but when I got there... I found out they didn't intend to hire me for that position. During our conversation it came up that they didn't understand why I'd leave Indigo Teen, and I couldn't understand why anyone would think I'd want to keep doing it forever. It'd be like expecting an author to write a series that never ended.

I realized sometime around then that I couldn't depend on another job to provide me with an exit strategy. I was going to have to do it the hard way—the way other people hadn't—and just leave. Fortunately, I had moved in with three other people and had the emotional support at home to do what needed doing. I'd spent a year tucking away money to be able to get by for a few months between jobs if it was necessary. And it became absolutely necessary.

Not sure what this looked like from the outside, but it wasn't impulsive. It had been coming for a long time. And yet... and yet, after leaving I'm still a head full of publishing knowledge and not quite sure where that takes me next.

I didn't quit to write full-time, because I've already learned that lesson. I quit so that I had time to write again and enough of a brain again to reorient myself on the path. But that's thing about endings and beginning; it depends on how you tilt your head as to which one they look like.

1 comment:

Leigh Purtill said...

A brave, bold move, Chandra, and something many people struggle with doing themselves. Very smart to take it into your own hands and define your life they way you want to.