• Tuesday, June 28, 2022

She Was a Terrible Boss and I Quit: Why I Finally Gave Up

“It’s true: people can change. People can learn, grow, and surprise us. But if someone does the same thing, over and over again—if they alimony hurting, disrespecting, or disappointing you—it’s time to winnow the way things are and ask yourself if you can really live with this. You can’t make someone transpiration their pattern if they’re not willing or ready, but you can stop participating in it.” ~Lori Deschene

I had quit before. It was one of those jobs that saw a lot of people come and go: a gig writing for a local newspaper that paid by the word, and was anything but freelance once you considered what feeling self-ruling is supposed to mean.

Feeling self-ruling shouldn’t midpoint getting calls and texts in the middle of the night, consisting of single four letter words, like “f*ck,” or, if my editor was feeling chatty, “you need to fix this immediately.”

Feeling self-ruling shouldn’t midpoint sitting through a four-hour-long meeting at municipality hall without stuff compensated for that time, only to write an vendible well-nigh it, have said vendible rejected, and then get nothing—not a single dime—for your efforts.


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If this woman paid in criticism, I’d be rich. She was rich. In fact, her supplies reviewer quit considering she didn’t pay him vastitude comping his meals. He works for CNN now.

Anyway, when I cried to a friend well-nigh her, he said she was probably a “borderline” personality. Along with her insults came a unconfined deal of praise. She said I was the weightier writer on her team, that the spritz of my stories was, quote, unquote, beautiful.

I hate you! Don’t leave me! was the vibe in most of our conversations.

She suggested liposuction for my stubby cheeks and tabbed my freckles “sun damage.” Sometimes her emails came with emojis of praying hands.

Please wear make-up when you do the interview.

Please get Grammarly. You make soooo many mistakes.

But I sucked it up, returning to her when freelance money was scarce, mostly considering I simply loved to write. Just seeing my byline was like eating a piece of chocolate on a sad, rainy day.

If I liked a story, I literally whistled while I worked.

Being a reporter is all the things I love: meeting new people, writing features well-nigh them, feeling the rush that comes from having an vendible shared thousands of times.

I plane got recognized at parties miles from home—by readers who said they only subscribed to the paper for my stories. I won a Florida printing ribbon in 2020. I learned things well-nigh people and places that informed my novels, sooner giving me the valiance to start my own publishing company.

I’m getting a fifth novel published. I have reports from students who took my English classes, ultimatum I’ve made a difference in their lives.

Taking stock of my successes, I realized this toxic superabound wasn’t really part of them. She was just a moldy, old stepping stone that cut my feet every time I revisited her.

The realization I needed to cut her out of my life came when my dream job, teaching Shakespeare, suddenly ended. In a way, I had no right to be surprised. I was just a sub, without all, and the school had found a certified English teacher.

But the thing is, I’d had six joyous months of earning 1,000 times the rate Attila the Hun at the paper paid.

I was used to working insanely nonflexible for insane people, and teaching could be that way too sometimes, but at least you got paid—and no one tabbed you in the middle of the night.

It seemed I had grown fond to starchy treatment that came with uncontrived deposit.

At the paper, we earned ten cents a word and had to take all our own pictures, tag and format each vendible to her blogging platform, follow up with our interview subjects, and make last-minute changes to virtually every story.

Toward the end, I tapped one of her rules and would show people my story drafts surpassing hitting publish. She did not indulge this because, she claimed, this was her content, not theirs. She would shape it, not them.

The day I quit, she had washed-up one of her archetype sociopathic hit jobs on me—the kind that made my throne pound as though my temples were stuff crushed in a Medieval torture device.

I had written an vendible well-nigh a new real manor project in town, and not plane one hour without it went live, she began texting me screenshots of reader complaints.

She demanded I either edit the vendible or take it down. Either way, I probably wouldn’t get paid.

I walked yonder from her text calling me an unprofessional hack and decided to really think well-nigh a response surpassing I reacted.

My husband and I took a sunset walk with our dog. He said he’d be disappointed in me if I didn’t finally—after nearly five years of abuse—just walk yonder from this deranged person. Everyone was sick and tired of hearing me complain. It was time to kick that door shut and seal it with super glue.

So I did. As soon as I returned from our walk, I sipped from a tall glass of water and uncomplicatedly picked up my phone, punching in a text with one finger.

I didn’t scarecrow to punctuate it.

I’m done

To make good on my word, I spent the next half-hour blocking her and her media visitor on every app upon which we share a bilateral follow.

I plane figured out how to send her emails directly to the trash, but I did see one surpassing it went into the can.

It said I lacked the valiance to shoehorn I’d made a mistake, and she was disappointed in me. I should stop making excuses. I’d left my interview contacts in limbo.

The last person I’d interviewed was a pastor at a Presbyterian church. We’d not met squatter to squatter considering of a scheduling conflict.

He gave me a unconfined interview—my weightier story of 2022. He said he wanted people to know Jesus but not in the way of a tuft of useless facts; we should know him as someone we can humanize and learn from.

He contacted me on the day I quit to thank me for writing well-nigh him and his family. He, his wife, and their two-year-old son, had just moved from Georgia. They’d never seen Florida surpassing and found the subtropics both fascinating and beautiful.

But he’d moreover written me to ask if I could transpiration the caption on his photo.

Journalism can be grueling.

I told him he’d have to email my editor well-nigh that as I no longer worked for the paper.

“Good for you,” he wrote. “You did an excellent, professional job. I’d love to meet you in person some time.”

I told him I’d trammels out the church, maybe plane hear his Mother’s Day sermon with my kids. I’d have increasingly family time without a toxic superabound in my life.

That last part I left out.

As for my pervasive fear that leaving the paper would end my writing career, I’ve once gotten a undeniability from the editor of her rival paper and am meeting him for coffee soon.

Meeting new people is everything to me. You can plane write well-nigh them while simultaneously getting state certified to teach!

Anyway, I wrote this essay on quitting considering sometimes it’s the right thing to do. When you’ve given someone all that you have to give, and it is still, somehow, not good enough, maybe quitting is the only thing you can do. It’s a fresh start, and that Mad tea party you are leaving? It’s just going to alimony going on, with or without you.

About Jennifer Russon

Jennifer Russon is an indie tragedian of four novels with a fifth on the way. She is moreover owner and editor-in-chief at Swallow Publishing. Her days are filled with long walks and daily gratitude practice. She lives in South Florida with her family.

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