People have envisioned quitting jobs they hate. Visions of yelling and giving their bosses the finger and possibly the occasional throwing of corporate Satan’s computer monitor out of the window and hearing the satisfying crash as it explodes into fireworks of spastic sizzling LED bits as it kisses the concrete. This didn’t happen to me but hey, a girl can dream.
My resignation induction happened on a smoggy Thursday. I stood before my boss in her office explaining to her that I wanted to take time to pursue my graduate studies. That and because of the political unrest between China and the Philippines I feared for my safety and because of these- takes deep breath- I decided not to renew my contract for the next academic year.
In other words, I quit.
I’ve been meaning to quit since 4 years ago. Since starting the blog in 2006, the bulk of my entries were repetitive moaning singles crying to a single theme – “I hate marking papers.”
I hadn’t quit because I couldn’t find another job. Guess I was lucky in 2006 and 2007 when schools in China would accept Filipinos as English teachers. Now it’s increasingly more difficult as Wild China tightens its grip to become ‘respectable’. Also, Japan and Korea were just plain racist. I received this answer when I tried applying for a post in Japan, “I’m sorry you just don’t fit the appearance of what we’re looking for.”
Education is a vocation with the only perk being extended vacations. They say there are three awesome reasons to becoming a teacher – June, July and August. And 6 years in this profession, I certainly raped (that’s right, raped) the benefits- escaping my prison for three months only returning to serve my yearly 10 month sentence and dreaming again my next escape
“Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you ought to set up a life you don’t need to escape from,” Seth Godin said.
I do enjoy teaching but the endless lesson planning and marking floods of paperwork and mindless bureaucracy of admin just sucked the joy out of it. I’ve already lost the drive years ago and what I see now is just a robot going through the routine motions she’s been perfecting for the past 6 years.
In September 2010, I attempted to escape by taking a semester off to backpack in Australia and look for a job. In my naiveté, I didn’t do enough research and found out the hard way that employers have to pay AUD$2,000 to sponsor your work visa and most were not willing to spend that much.
I returned to my old job in China, broke and disappointed and started all over again. In June 2011, I almost got evicted out of the country because they refused to give me a work visa claiming I couldn’t speak proper English because I wasn’t American, British, Australian or Kiwi. They couldn’t even read my diplomas and certificates in English because they couldn’t speak a goddamned word of my language. And these are the people who decided who couldn’t speak English. Inside I was screaming with the unfairness of it all that my credentials and degrees didn’t matter because of my passport. But most of all the ironic twist that all this time I was trying to get rid of you China and it turns out you were trying to get rid of me.
In the end my college was able to get my visa and I had a new fondness for China seeing how I almost lost her. But almost losing my job had taken me absolutely by surprise. It taught me the hard lesson nothing is for certain. The rug of comfort could be pulled out from your feet. You could stay lying down or you’ve taken precautions to get back on your feet in no time.
After quitting the company I’ve worked at for 6 years, I thought I’d feel elated, pumping my fists and busting into an impromptu rendition of Hall and Oates’ ‘You Make My Dreams’ scaring Chinese migrants from their mahjong boards. That or this growing clawing fear of anxiety, of ‘what now’? tightening its grip around my chest choking my windpipes as the wide chasm of the unknown yawns before me. This time there would be no safety net of my old job and old life to catch me. Instead though I feel a strange calm enveloping me. I feel nothing but the urge to continue moving forward.
Who knows what lies down in the depths of the unknown? When a door closes, another opens you to many possibilities. There’s nothing to do but jump right in.
Photo from Smartly
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