When You Have to Quit Your Dream Job to Pursue Your Dream
After I left, everything became clearer, in the way that a breakup can clarify a toxic relationship; put things in sharp relief.
The view from the office took my breath away. It was a panoramic view of the Manhattan skyline, sun glinting off the water, buildings stretching into the horizon. I’d debated whether to dress up for my interview, and the moment I walked into that light-filled, stylish office, I was glad I did.
I bought my own furniture for the first time, possessions that no longer fit into a backpack: sheer gray curtains and a pink velvet chair, a houseplant I named Franklin. One evening, I walked through the East Village, relearning its narrow streets and fire escapes and tiny tea shops. At a lingerie boutique, I tried on a set of decadent lingerie: indigo blue, all straps and lace and buckles. I’d gotten rid of my small collection of silk and lace and stockings, slightly torn, before I left for grad school, and it was a decision I’d always regretted. Now, I allowed myself this indulgence.
New York Times-
Writing isn’t hard—it has never been hard
I tried to breathe through it. Anger wouldn’t work, but silence wouldn’t, either. I thought about what I always valued: being honest, true to myself, my values. Speaking up even when it was hard. I was a bold and ambitious journalist, but in this office, that part of me had gone silent. I couldn’t let it be silent anymore.
I composed a short email in which I told Jonas that his comments made me anxious and mistake-prone. My hands and body shook when I pressed Send.
I often replayed the moments of our last meeting. The way Lily blamed me for hurting the team, being selfish. “I’m not trying to hurt you,” I had said, “I’m trying to protect myself.” And: “I tried to pretend everything was okay, until I couldn’t anymore.”
Yet I could no longer imagine not giving myself that chance, even if I failed.
Laura Yan is a freelance writer. Her writing has appeared in Wired, NYMag.com, GQ.com, Pacific Standard, GOOD, The Outline, Penthouse, Southwest: the Magazine, Victory Journal, The Awl, & elsewhere. Her stories have been featured in Longreads Best of Arts & Culture Writing 2017 and Longform.org. She loves deadlines, and hearing from you!
More in this series
When we conflate men’s sexuality with harassment and violence, we don’t ask much of them. Masculinity doesn’t have to be toxic.