- or why I have replaced my (seemingly) stable 10 years old job to two skeins of yarn?!
I’ve wanted to write about this topic for a pretty long time, and I can say it is also a kind of therapy for me – so sorry, but there won’t be any cute teddies here. This is a more serious topic now.
This year I decided to quit my job. I had spent 10 years in an office of a financial company. There were times when we even worked on Saturdays. It happened that we sat in winter coat in front of the computer because sometimes there was no heating in the building. And there were times when I went home from the office only to sleep. Still I loved my job and I was enthusiastic because I felt my work matters, they count on me. Though as a beginner I „only” recorded data, printed/enveloped letters – I did what I needed to do. Though I felt much more appreciation as a beginner than in the last years when I had more responsibility as a group leader and I got much higher salary.
What happened? A very slow process started which slowly got under our skin. It began with the economic crisis which hit badly our company, too. The less went to the pockets the less humanity there was. Initially they fired only a few employees one by one possibly in the most humane way –saying thanks for their work and even helping them to search a new job. Then after many years with small cost reductions, some years ago a kind of new era has started in the life of the company. New management, new ideas, and new goals. They fired our colleagues and friends every third month in the less humane way – carefully making sure we don’t reach the limit of the collective redundancy cause otherwise they should have had to notify the employment center. After every of those redundancy they said the magic sentence „That was the last one, now everyone is safe.” Sure after the umpteenth time we didn’t believe it especially when they presented it like „We’ve got rid of the lard.”
Somehow pretence had become more important than the effective, professional work. Somehow it didn’t matter anymore who gave his or her best. The company was still running thanks to the remainder employees’ enthusiasm and conscience. The management was seemingly not interested in when the so far built system collapse, they only wanted to pretend that everything was all right. I felt like I was sitting in a Ferrari, driven by an engine of a Trabant, which looks perfect in an exhibition but no one would show its functioning. If someone can identify with those „values” then nothing happens. Everyone gets along with it, there is no evolution, no trust, no zest, no passion, no common goals and even no vision. We stare at the Ferrari and we are happy how nice it is.
But I just wasn’t able to get along with that. I felt bad for years and I didn’t dare to see that it was not the company anymore where it is worth to stay. I rather discussed with myself that I „must” feel good because I did my work conscientiously, I got my salary every month so I wouldn’t starve – and the rest is not my business. It is a super philosophy which you can comfy with for a while but I felt deep inside that I supported something that I could not identify with. I supported stolidity, I supported all those inaccuracies what I warned about but the competents didn’t even care. But above all I supported and confirmed the way they treated me and my colleagues.
I must say I felt f*cking bad. I faced day by day that they ignored our work and us as humans. Despite of the fact that I felt in kind of safety, I earned relatively well and anyway it could have been much worse, the lack of humanity left such a deep impression that my anxiety grew day by day. Once they called for the ambulance to the office because I felt so sick. I felt so embarrassed because of that. I didn’t know what happened to me, I had never felt that before. My heart beat very fast and I felt I would faint. I was gasping for breath and I felt dizzy. I feared! I didn’t know why. Later it happened more and more often, but I learnt to stick it out till I got home and go crazy only between the four walls.
This photo was taken a few years ago, in an abandoned barracks, in Szentkirályszabadja. I knew it will be good for something. :D
I was often thinking about quitting. But self-delusion, fear and the hope that it can still work as it used to hold me back. I even could not imagine that I could feel again that I count and my work matters. I could not imagine that I could honestly say in a job interview that „I’m the adequate person, I’m enthusiastic, hire me.” I was not enthusiastic at all. I simply wanted to escape, crouch in the corner and wait till those loads of negative experiences get out of me somehow and I could be a clear white page again.
Besides I was lucky because I got on well with my direct colleagues. We laughed a lot and tried to make a joke about everything – that was the only way to hold on. On one of those days came into my mind the idea of the travelling teddy. I thought how fun it would be to get photos of him from all around the world. The idea dealing with a new hobby inspired me. I started to learn crocheting because I wanted teddy to be unique, to recognize him in the photos.
Actually the teddy has gone into the World instead of me.
When I decided to quit my „safe” job I didn’t have a plan „B”. I simply got bored of fear of quitting. I had no clue what I wanted to do so I thought that after I quit I suddenly became homeless, from one moment to the other. But do you know what happens after the termination? Nothing special. Next day you wake up relaxed and you feel like you are on holiday.
I gave myself a few months to rest and to pull myself together emotionally. I thought the jobseeker’s allowance is just enough not to starve and to buy two skeins of yarn. I continued to learn crocheting with the help of internet and I practiced and was thinking about new amigurumies every day, I organised the draw and Topy’s trips.
I became a self-employed since 1st of September. I never thought that I would be that ever. I’m pretty old-fashioned, who was raised that after graduation comes a degree, then a stable job and that’s it. My mother works at the same place for 40 years. There is nothing wrong with it at all! But no one taught me how to find myself. That you can suffer in a horrible workplace but it doesn’t worth. And how to make a living from a passion you love if it differs from the “conventional”.
I am experimenting with this now. I would like to prove – especially for myself – that we are not born to spend 8-12 hours a day in a place where we feel bad. That my life is not about survival, but it is a gift so I can spend my day with things I love, and in an environment which inspires me. However I’m pretty scared since I started this whole project with absolutely zero experience, and for now I’ve got more joy of creation than from income :D
This release and change stuff is an interesting game. I never took it easy. But do you know what hurts the most? I didn’t run away when I saw the first signs. I stayed there because I thought the problem is only with me, I’m a bad manager and I wanted to comply with those people whose standard allows to call “lard” the released HUMANS. It is hard to reckon with myself and say that it is not them but me to blame that I felt so bad. Because it is me. I can point the finger at them, I can be sick of their attitude but I stayed longer than I should have done. My body gave stronger and stronger signs that I have nothing to do there. I’ve learnt a lot about myself.