I found a Ted Talk that might just be my favorite one of all time: “The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck” given by Sarah Knight.
Toward the end of my resentment at work, I bought one of those gas station key chains that said, “I’m Not Sorry.” When I walked out, giving my badge and keys to the supervisor, I paused. I really, really wanted to leave the key chain with my keys, but my inner cheapass decided to keep it.
Because I paid for it. Because I refused to give them anything—ANYTHING—no matter how inexpensive or trivial. They had taken enough.
The speaker talked of going away to an island—leaving her high-paying job in publishing and working for herself from an island. I didn’t, nor do I have, that ability.
And yet I quit anyway.
I have aggressive RA. It’s a huge thing for me to walk away from a job that offers really good insurance.
But I quit.
I stopped giving a fuck.
Perhaps, more accurately, I’m still working toward not giving a fuck. At any rate, I decided to stop giving it as many fucks as I had before.
Sarah Knight defines “fucks” as time, energy, and money. Not giving a fuck means that I refused to give my time and energy to a company whom I believe is, as Bobby Boucher’s mama would say, “the debil.” I refused to be a part of something that, in my mind, hurt literally everyone who walked through its doors. I refused to be complicit.
I could have kept a salary—and a good hourly (really, really good hourly for non-licensed in Mississippi, I might add). I could have had the protection of FML and insurance. I could have kept my camaraderie with people I had grown to love—my second family—over the past decade.
But to do so, I had to be complicit.
And so I stopped giving a fuck—turned my badge and keys in to the acting supervisor with as little pomp and circumstance as possible. I didn’t say “Goodbye” to anyone in a way that would let them know I wasn’t coming back.
Maybe I was afraid of giving something away. I do have a horrible poker face. (Ask my SkipBo partners when they ask if I’m holding Skip Bo’s to make a big play).
I didn’t want to second- and third- and fourth-guess my decision. There was plenty of time for that after I quit.
As it turns out, PLENTY OF TIME.
Also, it would be hard. And I can be a coward. I do love my people, and my leaving had nothing to do with them.
Like a 401k, insurance, and a steady income, their every day presence was another casualty, another loss for me.
I stood outside the building with my best friend from work and trembled. What had I done? What was I going to do? I didn’t know.
I still don’t know. It’s been almost 3 months, and I still don’t know.
But what I do know is that, for all of my good days and bad days and everything in between, I do not have to drag myself—sometimes shitting my pants in the process—to a place that sucked the time, energy, and soul out of me.
I stopped giving it my fucks.
For that, I am so, so, so not sorry.