risky business

August 8, 2005

daily

Two weeks ago, I gave notice.  I knocked on my supervisor’s door and stood there with my resignation letter in hand.  "You’re quitting aren’t you?"  She said it with a smile.  "Well, it’s about time.  You’re in a new place now, and I’m so happy for you."  I was scared.  "Stephanie, you don’t seem happy about this."  It just doesn’t feel real yet.  "You’ll always have a home here."  I bit off all my nails. 

This Wednesday is my last day, and I’ve already eaten my cuticles.  They’re throwing me a going away party.  Parties in my honor make me anxious.  I mean, who is going to show up?  I’ve been working for this company for over 5 years, and I only really know a handful of people.   Why?  Because I haven’t been warm.  I’ve been a hard worker because it’s what I thought mattered most. I’ve seen people around me who can balance both.  They’re well-liked and respected.  I fear I failed at warm and personable and have been seen only as dedicated and diligent.  When in life, all I really want is to be compassionate and connect with those I care about.  It’s what I’ve learned from my time in advertising.  I wish I’d made more of my time with people instead of job numbers and iPod playlists.

When people have invited me to lunch, I thanked them and declined.  It had nothing to do with the company and everything to do with the calories and my anti-social habits.  If I worked through lunch, I was a hard worker, people would see how much I valued the project.   Wrong.  What people see is when you value them.  I wish I’d been more personable.  I wish I’d invited anyone to lunch. I fear no one really likes me.

This is my risk: leaving a job to pursue a career.  Life leaps.  This is mine, and I’m owning it.

"No, I’m not quitting.  I’ve just decided to take a new job."  A job that requires a bathrobe, laptop, and lap dog.  It’s still scary, but it’s not courage without fear.  And I have a feeling the friends I have made while at work, I will have for the rest of my life.

50 Responses to “risky business”

  1. no one Says:

    congratulations, u've take a lot of risks, u deserve to see them pay off.

    Reply

  2. Wicked H Says:

    Wishing you continued success!

    Reply

  3. Fielding Melish Says:

    If you find yourself short, I'll always be available to buy you a hamburger. You can pay me back on Tuesday.

    Reply

  4. StephanieKlein Says:

    Fielding, thank you for offering me the wimpy way out.

    Reply

  5. ML2L Says:

    Thats great news man. Focus on the writing. You've put a lot of time and energy into WunderWorld, and now its time to bid them "farewell." There's never been a better time to move on. Good luck dude.

    Reply

  6. Kat Says:

    Good luck to you Stephanie! I can't wait to buy the book!

    Reply

  7. Emily Says:

    That's got to be one of the bravest things ever. I'm totally jealous.

    Reply

  8. writersbloc gal Says:

    Does this mean you're becoming a full time writer? If so, many warm congratulations and best of luck – you'll do great!

    Reply

  9. Wasatchkt Says:

    I recently said adieu to an office job – complete with high-calorie luncheaters – to do my work, as diligently as ever, from my home. I find that I get quite a lot done from my kitchen table, overlooking the mountains I love, in my jammies till 2 pm…..I'm sure you will, too. Lots of luck to you!

    Reply

  10. friend Says:

    You are one of the most talented people I know (if not THE most talented). I have all the faith in you. *And, don't worry about how you were or were not; for better or worse, you were who you were, and you certainly haven't failed yourself or anyone else.*

    Reply

  11. Fielding Melish Says:

    Didn't know Wimpy's last name until I checked out this site:

    http://www.wikisearch.net/en/wikipedia/w/wi/wimpy.html

    And I did NOT in any way mean to imply that quitting your job is any way wimpy. Indeed, you're the bravest woman I "know."

    Reply

  12. Midwest Says:

    Hooray for writing your own version of the America Dream!

    Reply

  13. jolie Says:

    Good luck Stephanie! I've taken some time away from cubicle life, it was the best decision I've made in a long time. I found that the scary parts wore off pretty quickly, I hope the same will be true for you!

    Reply

  14. californiacruz Says:

    I stumbled upon your blog site when I clicked on a link with a catchy headline on my msn homepage. I love everything I've read so far. You pretty much sum it up for many women (me) …hey, maybe some men, too. I'm still trying to catch up. I wish I had your courage to quit my job and venture out of the comfort zone. Good luck to you Stephanie!!

    Reply

  15. Justin Says:

    Not to worry. Most office friendships fade into the background with the office when you leave it behind. It's probably better you avoided the lunches anyway – you got to avoid the in-fighting and back stabbing along the way. ;-)

    Go have a great party, and have a drink on me – preferably a vodka martini (shaken, not stirred).

    Reply

  16. Patricio Says:

    wow, congratz…

    it makes me look at my life,, ive been with my company for 6 years, and im tired,, i want change…..

    Reply

  17. John Hersey Says:

    Sixty years ago tomorrow, August 9th, at 11:02 AM Japanese time, an atomic bomb fell on the city of Nagasaki. Talk about having your life changed!

    Reply

  18. mimi Says:

    Oh my god I am so jealous. Congrats. But I'd substitute a big Bassett Hound for the lap dog.

    Reply

  19. well_wisher Says:

    That's great, congratulations.

    Reply

  20. Valerie Says:

    ahhh, I can only dream of the day I can do that. I wish you all the best and I will help out by buying your book.

    I'll be in NY all next week, if you want to meet a California girl who's never been to NYC. PS, do you know where I can stalk Rocco DiSpirito?? ;-)

    Reply

  21. erin Says:

    god, you are so lucky… Everytime the Air Force comes up with new and creative ways to torture me, I long for the day when I can give them my resignation notice…. Oh and I've preordered your book. I wait on pins and needles…

    Reply

  22. Alexis Says:

    How exciting. You will do an awesome job.

    Reply

  23. Muffy Wong Says:

    Good Luck!

    Reply

  24. Mike Says:

    Good on you, you've always got a hamburger in Chi-town, too, if the Borders tour carries you that far. It's not ownership, it's stewardship, you've got a gift(s) and it's full-time to grow them to their potential.

    Reply

  25. DC Amy Says:

    Congratulations on taking the big leap! I quit a bad job in retail management a few years ago with no prospects lined up and that same day got a dream job using my theatre degree. I was lucky, but you already have it all lined up. I wish you all the success you deserve. And a martini on me when you tour to DC…

    Reply

  26. Daphne Says:

    Congratulations and best of luck to you!

    I don't remember now how I found your blog, but I enjoy it so much because I find I can relate to you in so many ways (especially, in this particular entry, the "when people invite me to lunch…" part)

    Reply

  27. christa Says:

    "friend" is right about not worrying about what your past work life. I used to have a job where being that friendly wasn't a priority. (balance is hard for me too) As time passed, I realized that it wasn't the right job for me. It seems complicated at the time, but it really is that simple. Now I'm working at something where I can be friendly and work in way that it comfortable for me.

    If you couldn't be all of who you are, maybe being the "right fit" for you. jobs are like clothes. sometimes they work and sometimes they don't – no matter what they look like on the hanger. now you can be free to express yourself, work and not worry about appearing "diligent." You'll always know you're doing the right thing if you feel like you're being yourself while doing it. Live up to your expectations, not those of somebody else.

    Glad to hear you'll be able to focus on what you love doing most. Congratulations.

    Reply

  28. Mike James Says:

    You know, it doesn't surprise me why you don't have friends at work. How can you work somewhere for FIVE years and only know a handful of people??

    Your fear of no one really liking you is probably very true. Most people DON'T like people like you. Talking about yourself all the time, tooting your own horn and bragging about your connections, parties and contacts in the "I'm so great" way is taxing. Not many can stand hearing that – especially for 5 years.

    As far as you hiding behind the "calories" at lunches out, have you ever heard of having salad or baked chicken? Hello. Talking about dieting all the time is fucking annoying too. No one cares that you were a fat, freckly redhead who had to endure fat camp when you were 13. Get over yourself.

    And people NEVER value someone staying late or working through lunch. Shit, you think you would have learned that by now. Most people know that in their 20's.

    How can you want to be "warm, compassionate and connect to those you care about" when the only person you obviously care about is yourself?

    "This is mine, and I'm owning it" sounds like bullshit that is fed to people who don't have the confidence to just accept what is their due right. As if you have to say that sentence out loud or to your readers for you to really believe you are worthy of something. You should "own" the fact that you are, early on in your "career", a person who cares only about herself and what or who can advance you further along. Maybe at the next stage in your work life you will get to know people and put aside your silly insecurities. Don't you know how ridiculous you sound talking about this all the time?

    And the guy who said that it's "probably better that you avoided the lunches to leave the fighting and backstabbing behind because most office friendships fade into the background anyway" must not have any office friends either. I have friends of 12, 15 and 18 years that I met AT my jobs and still keep in touch with hordes of people that I worked with.

    Some people have it, some don't. Although, lacking good relationship skills like you obviously do, does make for good reading material. I guess if you were happy and content in your friendships, love life, etc. you'd have nothing to write about.

    Reply

  29. Sean Says:

    You realized how important the friends are in your part of your life~It likes the people always study hard and have good grades isn't equal to they're more sociable than the others~I wish you could make nice relationship in your new job ambience~

    Reply

  30. StephanieKlein Says:

    Wait, you can bake chicken?

    Reply

  31. Deb Says:

    Wow… Well I have to disagree with you Mike…If she didn't have many friends, she wouldn't be rubbing elbows with the rich and famous—someone liked her enough to recognize her–maybe—HER FANS? hmmm.. interesting.

    ANYWAY… :) Never be afraid of change. It's scary, it's frightening sometimes, but you're in a very different place now. It's normal to feel that way. The fact that some people are giving you negative feedback and/or snubbing you due to your success is absurd. All comes down to angry, jealous people who want what you have.

    "Coveting" ….Not a good thing to have, which many people do.

    If your life wasn't interesting, people would not tune into your blog. Look at your stats girl!!! You're doing fine, please take all this negativity with a grain of salt.

    Mike said in the previous comment:

    "I guess if you were happy and content in your friendships, love life, etc. you'd have nothing to write about."

    Of course you are writing about your life, because your life is interesting enough to write about……

    The best to you, stay confident!

    Reply

  32. Anne Says:

    Wow. Who let that Mike James guy in?

    While he seems to think that he has some knowledge to contribute in the realm of "social skills," I think he's forgetting some of the essential elements of positive social interactions: tact and empathy.

    Reply

  33. the suitor Says:

    and the court ordered ME to take an anger management class? mike, want the phone number?

    Reply

  34. Kenneth Tynan Says:

    Did everyone watch the original version of "Alfie" tonight on Turner Classic Movies? If we're all so smart and so deserving of love, why can't we make pictures as brilliant as this? That version with nancy-pants, skunk-nose, smega-breath Jude Law blew otter uteruses! What's wrong with us! Was it all those Manson Family drugs are mothers ingested when they were pregnant with us?

    Reply

  35. realperson Says:

    Good luck. I hope you are successful. Your blog is like a 12-year old's diary, excepting the taxi blow jobs. You'd better capitalize on your 15 minutes. Amazing how catering to the lowest common denominator can pay off.

    Reply

  36. Mike James Says:

    Why do people always assume that when someone writes a comment that does not agree with the masses, that the person writing is "coveting", "jealous", not "successful" or not themselves rubbing elbows with influential people?

    See, that is exactly the kind of readers you seem to have…the ignorant type. I often see, in my field, people who constantly speak as you do and try tap into the vacant lives of those around them. Like you, they seem to think that "rubbing elbows with famous people" IS what life is about.

    Life is about everything YOU do not have. What you seem to want most is the very thing that still eludes you. A loving relationship with someone to share your life with. Someone to support you and revel in your successes as much as their own. Together. The shallow personality you possess will not GET you that. You MUST care about others and let them in if you want to truly experience what most people are longing for.

    Oh, and yes…you CAN bake chicken. You probably don't cook either, so what would you know about that? FYI…men like women who are upbeat, who EAT, who don't complain about their weight or obsess about shoes and who actually know how to cook….whether the chicken is baked, broiled, fried or fricassed!

    Maybe it's best for you just to have the guy take you out to dinner for chicken….at least that way, he knows he'll get laid afterwards.

    Reply

  37. andrea Says:

    mike james — you're mean. and pissed off. are you sure you have friends? do they know they're your friends?

    steph — don't listen to mean, pissed off people. if they had a full, wonderful life of their own, they wouldn't find time to post hurtful comments on someone else's site. someone who's sweet and full of life and just wants to share it with those of us who find it amusing, interesting and inspiring.

    ps – i just left my PR job to work on a political campaign, took a hefty pay cut … and i might be looking for a job again come next november. but i don't regret my decision for a moment, and neither will you! best wishes.

    Reply

  38. Robert Says:

    My sincerest congratulations Stephanie! Brava!

    Reply

  39. Bryan Murphy Says:

    It's about time!!!!

    And you made more – and inspired more – friends than you may have realized.

    Reply

  40. Frances Says:

    Congratulations. You're an utterly professional writer now, all you need now is to get the damn book published so we can all fight over it in Barnes & Noble.

    China has a lot of blog sites blocked, so I couldn't read Greek Tragedy or update my own blog for this past 5 weeks. It's good to be able to read your writing again :)

    Reply

  41. Kristin Says:

    Mike…did you get dumped recently? Sounds a little like:

    "Waiter, Bitter, party of one."

    Stephanie, good luck! You'll do awesome :)

    Reply

  42. Tim Benson Says:

    No chicken for you, Mike James!!!
    Be like Mike, ha!!!
    Good luck and best wishes, Stephanie!!!
    Follow your heart and your dreams!!!

    Reply

  43. Deb Says:

    Mike says:

    "See, that is exactly the kind of readers you seem to have…the ignorant type."

    Yet he reads every one of your blogs like the bible itself.

    Mikey baby, loosen up, enjoy the ride, read her blogs and be entertained!

    *MUAH*

    Reply

  44. mimi Says:

    Oh, I recognise that 'real person'. The asshole who posts vitriolic shit on my blog and about five others. What a truly fascinating life you must have to sit there and giggle insanely to yourself as you compose such scintillating and insightful comments on an obessively regular basis. What would blogging be without our pet cyber freaks?

    Reply

  45. Lil Says:

    Wow – I have been reading your blog for quite some time, AND I just recently started a new job after over 5 years with my former employer. Giving notice was cathartic.

    Congrats and Good Luck to you! It is a big leap but I am willing to bet you can pull it off.

    PS – I also try to avoid lunches with the crew. Not because I'm hiding behind calories, but – well, I'm not there to make friends. Whatevs!

    Reply

  46. Shelley Says:

    Very thrilling and scary at the same time to be letting go of the safety net. I applaud you.

    Reply

  47. Sam Says:

    Mike totally wants you.

    Reply

  48. Kim Says:

    People sure do lecture you a lot. Or feel the need to give advise to a person they don't know.
    So I'm not going to try and give you advice here. I only want to wish you the best. You're about to do what I would like to do too, someday: leave the office jungle and do what you like best. So best of luck, Stephanie. Btw, does your book come out in Belgium too?

    Reply

  49. Chris Says:

    I started reading your blog just a couple of weeks ago and haven't been compelled to comment until now…because of the posts by Mike. I gotta say he was harsh but there is probably some truth to learn from in there. On one hand, I want to say to him, looks like he's got issues himself and somehow you are pushing all his triggers because that vitriolic tone was soooo uncalled for. I also laugh because he's obviously still reading your blogs and can't help himself. On the other hand, I recognize some of what he's saying, though he could have said it better. He could have been talking to me 6 years ago.

    Still, no one's got it all together and everyone's got growing up to do. I just love that you've got the guts to put it all out there, warts and all. There'll always be 10% of the population who disagrees with anything you put out there. Just remember that not everyone has to like you. All you need is one person who loves you no matter what.

    BTW, my husband and I love your photos. We think you've got a great eye and you've inspired me to start learning more about photography. Now, if only I can figure out where he keeps the key to the dry cabinet for the D70…

    Congrats on your new direction. Whenever life seems tough, just remember that you'll attract good things if you just believe they'll come (sometimes they're a little slow). Works for parking too!

    Reply

  50. realperson Says:

    Mimi, don't flatter yourself. Have never and will never read your blog. I read this one for personal reasons. Also because it saddens me that a promising young person like Stephanie needs to sell her soul and her sexuality to have "fans" like all of you.

    Reply

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