Saturday, September 3, 2011

For love or money

I found the chops to walk away.
I used to think I needed a $60 thousand salary to make ends meet.

I was terrified to leave my well-paid position as a curriculum writer for a here-unmentioned online university.

Even so, on October of 2008, as the market crashed and the Great Recession terrified the nation, I found the chops to walk away from a job that made me sick.

In those days, my "boss" was a thirty-something frustrated poet, trying to find her inner "tough-guy" at the workplace.  I liked her.  I really liked her.

No matter.  For some odd reason, she chose to try out her new Nazi skills on me.

Surrounded by people twenty, thirty years younger does not have to be a bad experience.  The harsh stuff happens when you are treated like a child by most of them, and ignored by the others.

I remember the first time my staff went to "happy hour" - my entire staff, mind you - and didn't invite me.

My feelings - - my poor, baby-tender hearted feelings - were seriously hurt.  I thought my colleagues were my friends.  I thought we had shared values, shared goals, and shared respect.

I look back on those days and chuckle.  My ignorance of the American workplace was stunning.  My innocence, even at age 59, was almost pathetic.

Walking away was the most terrifying, provocative and worthy thing I have ever done.

And I don't regret it.

Somewhere, out there, on the Tuesday after Labor Day, an alarm will go off in a lonely bedroom.

Brown haired, blurry eyed and a little unconscious.
A thirty-something-year-old woman who would rather write poetry will rise, shower, pull on her panty hose and hop the bus to downtown Minneapolis.

Brown haired, blurry eyed, and a little unconscious, she'll enter her password to her corporate computer and begin another day, like the day before and the day before - identical to the all the days to come.

I'll be here - on my screened-in front porch, drinking in the last golden days of summer and sipping my home-brewed Caribou french roast.  The newspaper in my lap, and new ideas for my next play dancing through my brain, I'll rethink the dialogue I'm writing, reconsider the plot development, reconfigure my strategy to get the thing on stage.

My former boss has more money than do I. 

And I have birdsong, fading petunias, and the hope of a visit from my three-year-old friend, Brigid.  Brigid wants me to help her decide who she will be on Halloween.

Sixty thousand dollars?

By now,  Miss Boss makes three times that salary.

And I've never been happier.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for being such a sweet inspiration Kristine. :)


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