Remember that time I was so miserable about work that I swore I’d quit my job by the end of the year?
I did it.
And I got a new job.
I know! Me too! I’m sure you’re all just dying to know all the details because, well… this is my blog and if you’re reading it you clearly don’t have anything better to do. So let’s discuss!
Getting a new job
I had just about given up trying to find a new job in publishing. I’d steeled myself to leave the industry I loved because I thought transferring to a different publishing house was hopeless. Here’s the whole sordid story about my job woes and fruitless search for a new company. Long story short: I’d applied for dozens of jobs, and gotten to the final round of interviews for eight. EIGHT! That’s a lot of times to have your hopes soar, only to be dashed upon the jagged rocks of rejection.
And just when I was putting out feelers into other fields and figuring out how to market my skills outside of publishing and just generally panicking… I got a message.
Our eyes meet across a crowded ballroom
A publishing industry recruiter had contacted the director of my publishing graduate certificate program, Jane. She’s a personal friend at this point, as I regularly mentor her former students and speak to the class every semester (#payitforward, y’all). Anyway, the recruiter told Jane she was looking for a very specific candidate: an experienced acquiring editor with a passion for a very particular subject who lives in my region.
And Jane told her I would be perfect for the job.
So the recruiter got in touch. We talked and she agreed I’d be perfect for the job, so she set me up with an interview. And they agreed I’d be perfect for the job. And wouldn’t you know it? I thought I’d be perfect for the new job, too!
The whole process involved three interviews, a written project, and the final negotiations.
The worst possible timing
But naturally, this was all happening during the busiest time of year for my old job. I had four business trips in seven weeks, plus Thanksgiving. I was a mangled ball of stress. The crazy schedule and pressure meant that I stopped working out entirely during this period (which just led to more stress and anxiety) and I wasn’t eating particularly well. My face broke out and my pants got tight and I was constantly in a state of barely controlled panic.
(Fun fact: I literally spent more time looking for just the right “sadly eating junk food” gif than I did writing this whole blog post.)
I’d arrange to do interviews from hotel rooms and work on my written project in airports. All the while I was desperately nervous for one simple reason: I really, really wanted this new job. And not just because I’d resolved to quit by the end of the year.
Because this really was the one I’d been waiting for.
My new gig
The publishing industry is a Russian nesting doll shaped like an octopus. A few giant publishing houses own a bunch of mid-sized publishing houses, which each own a handful of smaller publishing houses, which are further broken down into imprints, each of which publishes a very specific niche. My new job is with an imprint of a mid-sized publishing house, owned by a much larger publishing house with offices all over the United States.
And this imprint publishes books about a very specific niche which happens to be most popular in the region where I live. (Sorry to be vague, but getting any more specific than that will reveal this super villain’s secret identity and we simply can’t have that!) This niche happens to be something I’m super passionate about, and I have a lot of friends involved in the niche. So I’m knowledgeable about the topic, and well connected within the industry, both valuable assets in an acquiring editor.
The imprint is headquartered across the country, near my parents’ home. This is why they very specifically wanted an editor who could work remotely from my region and fly out to the main office a couple times a year. So not only was working remotely an option, it was part of their ideal candidate.
The actual day-to-day work of my new job will be very similar to what I do now, so as far as my skills set goes… I fucking got this.
Things are gonna get better
Oh how my life shall improve! Let me count the ways:
Instead of commuting to an office every day, I’ll now be working remotely from my home. The imprint’s parent company has an office nearby, which will be at my disposal for meetings and such, but for the most part my office will be located approximately seven feet from my bed.
This means I can stop commuting forty miles a day! I plan to park my car in the driveway and see just how many days I can go without driving it anywhere. Aside from my current office, literally everything else I need for daily life is within walking or biking distance. And that means I can save money on car-related expenses. And also a life. Because my road rage is real.
Since most of the conferences I need to attend are headquartered in my city, I’ll have fewer business trips every year. Goodbye, four-hour plane rides! Hello, ten minute bus ride downtown!
When I need to fly out to the main office, I’ll be able to stay with family rather than in a hotel. This will increase overall time spent visiting family every year without increasing the number of dreadfully expensive plane rides for which I pay. This will make me appear to be a loving and devoted daughter, thus finally winning the competition to be The Good Child (suck it, bro).
Working from home means I’ll have more time in my day.
I’ll be able to walk my dog or work out in the middle of the day. I can prep meals during the day, or turn on the laundry and the Roomba while I’m working. I’ll spend less time doing my hair and makeup—wait, who am I kidding? Of course I’ll still get dolled up like I’m about to lip synch for my life on the daily.
The amount of exercising I can do in an office is limited by space and the concerned glances of my coworkers. At home, I can make use of my backyard, my basement workout space, the whole neighborhood and no one will give me a single weird look (… aside from the weird looks I already get, that is).
Drastically lessening time spent in the car will also be beneficial for my health. I’ll be able to spend more time outside, working from my patio. And there’s no need to worry about “forgetting” my lunch and getting expensive, unhealthy takeout, since I can just… go to the kitchen and make something healthy!
This is a bigger publishing house, in a more competitive part of the industry. There’s much more room for upward mobility. Whereas before I felt I’d reached the top of the company ladder, now I find myself with several rungs yet to climb. In short, my career prospects are now a lot brighter thanks to my new job.
Plus—and this will sound really minor—my new boss is a woman. Which doesn’t mean she can’t suck. But it does mean our relationship will be free of the kind of condescending sexist bullshit that drove me to drink at my old job.
As happens with effective job hopping, my new job came with a raise. Not a big one, mind you, but combined with my savings from cutting out my commute, it’s going to add up to a tidy chunk of change every month. I plan to add every drop of this newfound cash to my savings and investments, rather than giving in to temptation and increasing my fun budget. Because I am a personal finance blogger and dammit, I will practice what I preach!
I’d been fantasizing about quitting for months. But when the big moment came, it was rather anticlimactic.
As soon as I’d finished negotiating, I wrote up a letter of resignation. I marched into my boss’s office and handed it to him. In the letter (and my subsequent very very mature and stoic pronouncement), I explained how grateful I was for the opportunity, how much I valued my eight years with the press, how I’d miss my coworkers who were truly the greatest staff in the field, and how it was simply time for me to move on in order to advance my career. I even recommended three potential replacements.
And then my boss said, “I’m proud of you.”
Hold it right there, motherfucker. You were supposed to panic in the face of my imminent abandonment! I wanted you to beg me to stay! Offer me the moon! Grovel for my loyalty!
Alas, I was roundly disappointed by his caring and professional reaction. Instead of the deliciously petty encounter I’d been envisioning, I had a really positive, constructive, encouraging conversation. He told me he was proud of me and understood why I needed this for my career. He asked if more money could make a difference, and I turned down his offer graciously. We shook hands and he wished me luck.
It was the heartfelt final conversation you’d expect between a mentor and his protegé of eight years.
It’s a new dawn, a new day, a new life, and I’m feeling good
I’ve been listening to a lot of Nina Simone recently. It pumps me up when I start to worry that I’ve made a huge mistake and gets me excited about my new job, my new beginning.
I have a terrible case of imposter syndrome right now. I just know that within a month they’ll figure out I’m a total fraud and fire me on the spot. Or I’ll do such a shitty job that I’ll bankrupt the company and I’ll never be hirable again. I’ll hate my new coworkers. My new boss will be mean. I’ll make some kind of catastrophic error before I have a chance to prove myself…
I know these thoughts are ridiculous. And I know they’re a product of my clinical anxiety.
In reality, I just got everything I wanted. And my life—including my health, time, and finances—is about to improve dramatically. I even did a little good on my way out the door. The junior staff member I recommended to replace me got promoted to my position. And another part-time staff member got full-time hours and benefits to help cover the workload (you’re welcome, bitches).
Sometimes success can be terrifying. I’ve been bummed out about my job situation for so long that letting go of that sadness just feels… hard.
But I know I can do it. Because after all…