Every coin has two sides, and every story doesn’t have a happy ending. These are just some basic facts I’m stating, and the fact is that I recently put in my week notice to quit my current job. While the call to my boss took less than 5 minutes, I’ve had many hour-long conversations with dozens of people just to speak into reality.
Quitting is what I did, but I don’t feel like a quitter. I actually feel like a winner.
I consider myself a winner because it was through this turbulent experience that I learned how to step back and see everyone who is standing with me. It seemed like everyday after work I was FaceTiming or texting someone. Sometimes I needed a pep talk, and sometimes I just wanted to commiserate. As the days ticked away, I kept reaching out to friends, family, and members of my network who I hadn't communicated with in a while. Hearing them speak about my talents and worth seemed corny, but I love them so much for doing that! The more I heard it the more I began to buy into it. Seeking out positivity helped me internalize it, and then project it too. Knowing that other people around me were also drowning in the sea of life made it more bearable. But, all I was doing was going mad.
I’ve had the fortune, and I’d even say privilege, of always working in offices where respect, inclusivity, and decency where just part of the environment like the water fountains everyone huddles around to gossip in between breaks. I share all this to acknowledge why I think my story matters. But, I want to recognize that there are stories and experiences much worse than mine, just turn on the news and you’ll see headlines. From racism, to #MeToo and Time’s Up, we are in the middle of a cultural revolution. We're fighting for decency to be as common in corporate America as the coffee we drink and donuts we eat on Monday mornings. What a time to be alive...
This is one-million percent cheesy to say, like sooo cheesy that if your lactose intolerant please skip this next sentence, but in working up the courage to quit I really get what Ariana Grande means when she says, "The light is coming to give back everything the darkness stole."
When it came down to choosing where I would be working this summer I was torn between my current position, a PR assistant at a small PR agency, and two iconic media companies. I really don't know why I didn't make the obvious choice and shoot for the studio, but I've learned to not dwell on that mistake. Instead, I've tried to turn this into a learning experience. The thing I learned from this summer is that I have to follow my gut, and always remember my talents and worth.
At the company I'm currently at the only skills that seemed to be valued were submission and silence. Conversations with my boss eventually became one sided, with me just nodding and saying, "Yes," because I knew that my opinion was not what she wanted. She just wanted someone to agree with her. Whether it was 11am or 11pm, my boss didn't seem to care and she expected that any text she sent me was met with a readiness to work. Now, in talking to friends of mine, some who are assistants and some who even have assistants, I began to realize that this had nothing to do with work. It was my boss just trying to flex her power over me. She would scream on the phone to me, "I don't wait on anyone." And she seemed to believe that the whole world had to follow her rules.
I would feel gross, yes gross, having to call people at random hours of the day and even leave them text messages just because my boss wanted things done her way. She said she hated to micro-manage, but yet she made me CC her on every email I sent and she would always want me to start group chats when I was trying to reach someone. This irked me because I'm someone who believes that everyone works at their own pace and at the end of the day the job will get done. The worst offense came when she blatantly cursed me out in front of the other former assistant. Yeah, there was another assistant but she was fired when she had to tell my boss that she had to work an event in order to make some cash since working for my boss was an unpaid internship for her.
"Fuck your feelings," is what my boss screamed to me. The other intern had no idea what to say. I had no idea how to react. It was after this interaction that I began to really grasp the magnitude of how bad my boss conducted her business. From lying to clients to arguing with heads of departments, she seemed to think that she was untouchable. Once again, this gross display of power did not align with me. It was messy. It was embarrassing. It was unproductive. I sat down one day after having gone through hell and back to deliver some award show tickets to ask myself what I was learning this summer. If I was going to be slaving away there had to be a purpose to it. Right? Actually, there wasn't.
Nothing about enduring this disrespect was making me a better communicator. I guess you could say I learned that the agency route probably isn't for me. But, that's not something I can put down on my resume now is it. Nope. Honestly, it sucks knowing that I wasted my summer working somewhere that actually curtailed my career instead of helped nurture it. With only a few weeks left before school starts, I'm scared to admit that I don't know what's next. All I can hope for right now is that everything smooths out well and that everyone who stood by me then is standing on the other side to catch me when I've officially jumped ship.
Author William Samayoa
Marketer by profession and storyteller by passion. L.A. raised, proud Latino, and pop culture enthusiast.