So, I quit

No, dear readers who continue to torture yourself by reading about my lack of failure, I’m not throwing myself to my death. Go find another blog to read. Or a ledge from which to catapult yourself. 🙂

For the rest of you, I did a very grown-up thing today. After a weekend of soul-searching about what I’m doing with my life, I decided to part ways with the highest-paying freelance job in my roster.

It’s 97% a capacity issue — i.e., I said yes to too many projects — and 3% a personality conflict with someone who provides nothing but nonsense and hysteria.

It was decided that I am not to have personal contact with the crazy person. Which is fine. But that also means I have to rely on an intermediary when it comes to getting feedback (er, never-ending criticism).

And look, I know criticism is hard to take. I urge you to read this great article in Forbes about “Owners vs. Renters: Which is Your Workforce?”. The gist is that the leadership acts as owners, and the rest of the workforce *should* take ownership. That’s your dream team.

All too often, in my experience, the “owners” at the top are more like landlords with a property management company. They talk the talk and walk the walk, but at the end of the day they are less committed than many in the lower ranks. They run the building but they don’t own it. But it’s the tenants who live there who are spending their own money to patch up leaky roofs and calling in competent repairmen so that their little space is livable.

Bringing this back around, there was a line in the article that hit me hard: “Feedback is a gift, especially when it’s something we’d rather not hear.”

That was my problem with the job I gave up. My immediate supervisor thought I farted sunshine and told me that every day. I even ran my copy by other, more established publishers, and they thought it was the bee’s proverbial knees, too. But then there was the one idiot who flies in for an hour a week, saying that I suck so bad she can’t even quantify it.

And you know what? That did it for me.

Now, I didn’t go down in a blaze of glory. Quite the contrary, I am wrapping up outstanding projects this week and finding not only my replacement, but another replacement for someone she unceremoniously recommended shitcanning.

I think that my time was coming, as shit was just getting personal. And some people “prove” their effectiveness by just driving people out and patting themselves on the back that they thinned the herd. But the people left standing often find their knees wobbling.

It was very important to me that my first project be lauded for the masterpiece I busted my ass to ensure it was. The problem was, her opinion weighed a little more heavily than it needed to on the company owner, whom I haven’t met. And I’ll tap-dance for the best of them, but I can’t fight ghosts.

And when I was denied access to said crazy person, under the honest intention of figuring out what WOULD make her not cuss a blue streak in my direction, I was partially grateful and yet partially defeated.

But getting poisonous e-mails from her was still part of the project. And I don’t need heartburn when I open my e-mail. I really don’t.

So, I came to an agreement with my contact there to terminate my “on-call” status and shift to a project-by-project status. Everybody wins. I think even the crazy person will have to agree that this is the best way to proceed. And, frankly, it re-establishes my intention for doing what’s best for the business as well as for the productivity of the workers (in this case, me).

Anyway, yeah I needed that fat paycheck and will miss it. But my reputation is worth more than a couple of zeroes on a check, and my sanity is worth 10 times that. I don’t want to be a renter. I want an ownership stake, metaphorically anyway, in everything I do. And frankly, I believe breaking that “lease” was the smartest thing I have done in my career.

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