Back to me, now. I have a cold. It sounds horrible. My very existence spreads disease throughout the hallways at work. This, however, is not my fault. The co-managing partner started this weeks ago. Infectious Monkey #1, he was the guy who showed up with mono AND a horrible cold, planting his seeds of misery throughout our hallway.
Don't get distracted, though, I have to quit today. After much thought, I decided to lay the news on my boss between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. Each day, his mood usually becomes more cheerful and things quiet down between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. I figure this is the best chance I have to avoid immediate and ruthless mockery. From the hours of 9:00 - 11:00 a.m., I'm resolute. I am quitting today, and that is that. At 11:00, I am anxious again, maybe I'll chicken out. I head to the kitchen (because I self soothe with food) and find a donut that has been provided by our generous, cheerful and all around wonderful IT guy. It was a cinnamon and sugar cake donut, very tasty.
By 4:00 p.m. I am starting to lose my nerve again. Who's idea was this anyway? Be careful what you commit to today, as your 10 year older, wiser self may consider you to be completely insane. Why am I quitting this perfectly good job, again? Oh yeah....Fiji. I take four deep breaths and imagine Sonrisa, anchored in Fiji. I am lying in a hammock over crystal clear turquoise water. It is sunset, and we have just completed a satisfying day of exploring on the island. I am sipping a rummy drink, happy and content.
...ok. I can do this.
4:30 p.m. it seems like things in the office are calming down for the day. My boss isn't pacing the hallway as intensely now. So, I take a couple laps from my office to my assistant's, peeking into my boss's office on the way to gauge his mood and his level of distraction. At some point, I dive in.
I close his door as I update him on several case related issues, which is an atypical move on my part. Boss: "What, are you trying to get me sick?"
Me: "Yes, I am closing the door to trap you and get you sick." I sit down in his chair across from his desk. Carefully scooting my chair away, to give him the requisite (healthy) distance.
We consider case related issues, and the room falls silent while he reads the last draft of a brief that must be filed.
My heart is pounding, but I imagine my Fijian rummy drink. Me: "So, I'm leaving."
Boss: "Really? You are? Why?"
Me: "I'm going sailing."
Boss: "Sailing? Really? Where? For how long?"
Me: "Well, we are going for as long as it takes to sail -AROUND-, so you know, it depends. If we hate it, a year and a half or so, if we like it then three to five years."
Boss: 3-5 YEARS!!!? What do you mean "around"?
It always sounds ridiculous to me to say "sailing around the world," so I hate saying it. "Well, San Diego to San Diego the long way. You know, around the world."
Boss: "Wow." He falls silent while this sinks in.
In what feels like minutes later, he says, "You know what this reminds me of? That insurance commercial. You know, the one where the guy is saying to his dad 'Dad, I'm quitting my job.' Have you seen that one?"
*Interrupted by the Generous-Donut-IT-Guy regarding some phone related issue, IT Guy leaves*
Boss: "Yeah, so the kid says to his Dad, 'Dad, I'm quitting my job.' And his Dad says 'Really? Why?' and the kid says 'Because I want to drive around the country.' And the Dad says, 'Huh, wish I would have thought of that!' And in the next scene, they show the kid driving around the country in his car. They pan out and the Dad is in the drivers seat with a slurpee or something."
I laugh: "That's great! Does this mean you want to come, too?"
Boss: "NO! I think you are fucking crazy! I'm afraid I'm never going to see you again! Except maybe on the news." From here, he launches into the most immediate set of questions burning in his mind:
1. You must have saved some money!? Yep.
2. But you always told me your house is upside down. Yep.
3. Man, you must really like each other (referring to Andrew and I). Yep.
4. When did you make this decision? 2004.
5. How are you going to pack for this? I mean, how long are you going to be in the middle of nowhere? Define “Middle of Nowhere…” The longest passage is 30ish days.
6. What will you do when you come back? Get jobs? Yep. I'll look you up if you are still working away.
7. What do your parents think about this? …
Boss: "Yeah, you can forget about getting your Dad on board. He isn't going to like this until you are back home safe and sound. It's a Dad thing." My Boss has four daughters, so he knows how it is.
I have more quitting to do, but this was probably the hardest quit. I have been lucky to work with this guy, and I think we have worked together well. He taught me that there is no substitute in life for putting your feet to the fire. You can study, read, practice and prepare, but at the end of the day, you just have to put your feet to the fire. For that I will always be grateful. And here I go, putting my feet to the fire.
P.S. Obviously, the camera can’t go with me everywhere! Instead, please enjoy these stick figure drawings (Copyright, Oddgodfrey!!!) in the place and stead of any imagery with actual artistic value.