Today, with the sibilant Chicago rain unstopping outside, I quit my job. Turned in the resignation, left. It felt guilty and it felt good. That’s leaving: in the moment, it’s harder to examine what you’re abandoning than what you’re facing. Yet now, having returned home and settled into my workspace, with its exposed brick and strange lighting, and with the rain having not slowed, I realize that leaving that job was a choice best made when I did.
About three months ago, I finished graduate school in Oregon and drove back to Chicago, Pete along for the ride. Then I started this job, and quickly realized how different the working life is from the student one. I’d worked before, of course—actually, at a job more stressful than the most recent one—but immediately juxtaposed with grad school, there was far more to miss: time to sew, to read, to knit, to write, and make this new apartment feel like home. I think the range of my interests and my need to move about them freely will always make it hard for me to work a typical desk job, at least a full-time one.
Yet maybe it was irresponsible of me to leave, some voice keeps saying. The voice says, “What about money?” But I respond, “What about art?” And that’s what seems to have opened before me: art, in the many forms I practice it. Of course, the other voice never entirely dissipates, and so I will cobble together a part-time university teaching position and freelance work, neither of which really seems like work to me. And I will cross my fingers that that is enough. And that this rain stops sometime soon.