Hey blog world. I’m not dead! Just really busy. And sleep deprived (yay for chronic insomnia).
But it’s the WA Day public holiday here in Western Australia, so I carved out some time to pen a few thoughts. And with “state daddy” Mark McGowan announcing his resignation as Premier and Member for Rockingham a week ago due to burnout, it got me thinking about my own breaking point.
It was late on a Sunday afternoon in the summer of 2012. I was in my friend’s car, and he was driving me home from the Scarborough pub that would later loosely inspire the Sherlock Arms in Black and Blue.
But that manuscript was still a while away. On this Sunday, I was just a girl in a car, crying because I had to go to my Toxic Job the next day.
I would continue to alternate between crying, nausea and total numbness every week until I finally quit that job with nothing lined up. I was still at the beginning of my career, but I’d always been quite anxious and cautious – so up until that moment, I never thought I’d be the person who left a job without a backup plan.
I realise many people don’t have the luxury of being able to do that anyway. But I did, I took the chance and I don’t regret it. I was burnt out and dying inside.
It’s been 10 years now but I did actually learn a lot from Toxic Job. Like how not to behave as a professional… Think workplace affairs between managers and direct reports, threats against ex-employees, exploitation of recent graduates less likely to know how to advocate for themselves, and just gross misconduct.
But more to the point, Toxic Job became my bar.
I have high levels of social anxiety and moderate levels of generalised anxiety. I find I have to put up with things I’m uncomfortable with pretty much every day of my life in order to participate in society. That’s just the way it is, and it can be exhausting, but I handle it.
However, Toxic Job is the standard I won’t walk past. If anything ever gets as bad or feels as icky as that, whether it’s in a professional or personal context, I’m checking out.
Writing-wise, things are moving pretty slowly but I’ve got two projects in the works: my second novel and a poetry collection. So that will probably be books 2 and 3 – I don’t know which will be ready first at this stage, but that answer should reveal itself in due course.