Keep Two Thoughts

Personal essays

Endings - Essay from Newsletter 127

Quitting quietly or otherwise

Other pursuits

I’m sure I’ve also told you that after I got fired as a radio DJ the first time I called a friend and told him what had happened.

He laughed and said, “you haven’t worked in radio until you’ve been fired three times.”

It wasn’t long after that that I was able to call him and say, “now I’ve worked in radio,” but that’s not why I bring this up.

The first time it was done in a fairly cowardly way. I got to the station to do a shift and there was a note taped to the outside of the air studio letting me know that I’d been let go and his nephew would be taking over my shift.

Honestly, it was probably the right call. I wasn’t that good at that particular station. I really enjoyed it but I didn’t know the music well enough.

I took the note and put it in my pocket and took the station keys off of my keychain. I knocked on the studio door and motioned to the jock. He came over and took the keys from me and I thanked him, turned and left.

I didn’t want to have keys to the place - if anything happened, if anything went missing - I wanted to make sure that there was no way I could be thought to be involved.

I don’t understand how you can leave a job and hold on to sensitive information whether it’s classified or not. And I don’t understand how other people accept that that’s ok.

But I’m sure I’m digressing.

Anyway, I stayed on good terms with the Program Director who had fired me. In many ways it’s easier for them to stay friendly with someone they’ve fired more than someone that quit.

So as silly as it sounds, there are less hard feelings as far as your ex-boss is concerned if they fire you than if you leave.

It doesn’t mean there are less hard feelings for you.


One of the many things I miss about Kim was that she knew when it was time for me to leave a job.

I’ve left many jobs for good reasons. In most of them I had made friends and kept in touch with my colleagues.In others I’d made friends and it didn’t matter. My colleagues become quite angry and have held on to that anger for years.

It’s not quite a “how dare YOU leave ME” but it’s something along those lines.

I don’t regret leaving any of these places - a college and two publishing companies - but I was surprised at how distant my colleagues got and how quickly it happened.

The point isn’t to provide details - it’s more me musing on how a boss may be more willing to hire someone back who they fired than someone who left to go elsewhere.


There’s a phenomenon called quiet quitting that is getting a lot of attention lately.

I heard it described this morning on the “Pivot” podcast as “passively aggressively not doing your job.”

That’s such an interesting take.

Quiet quitting refers to people not working outside of office hours. If you’re in a 9-5 job then you don’t feel obligated to answer emails at ten at night.

That’s not “not doing your job”.

It may be particularly American, but we seem to expect people to prioritize their work over their personal life even outside of working hours.

Someone posted in a local school group that kindergartners get to meet their new teachers, but kids in grades 1-4 don’t. The expectation in the ensuing discussion was that teachers should take time to meet with these kids before the school year has begun.

I don’t think these parents appreciate how much work the teachers do on their own time and how much they provide for the classroom with their own money.

Why is it we expect teachers and workers to be available above and beyond what is contractually expected of them?

Mais non

In the latest episode of “The Sporkful” they presented a story of an American working in France.

She didn’t like that the government mandated that employees take lunch away from the office.

She understood the benefits of getting to know her colleagues better and meeting people in other departments that she would otherwise not get to exchange ideas with.

But, she had a lot of work to do and wanted to eat a salad at her desk and get back to work.

She had to hide from her coworkers as they left for lunch so as not to be dragged along to an hour and a half lunch at a nearby bistro.

For the managers who mischaracterize quiet quitting and the employees eating lunch at their desk to get work done, if the work can’t get done in a reasonable amount of time then perhaps the company needs to hire more employees or the way in which work is performed needs to change.

A nurse recently posted that those nurses who complain about working through lunch or eight hours without a break need to reconsider. They are still being deducted a half hour for the lunch they aren’t taking.

Many of us are allowing ourselves to be overworked. The pandemic helped highlight that for many of us.

Quiet quitting isn’t quitting. It’s realigning our priorities. Work is important but so are other aspects of our lives.

If we don’t take care of ourselves and work when we work and don’t work when it’s not work time we end up, if we’re able, actually quitting. And not quietly.

Essay from Dim Sum Thinking Newsletter 127. Read the rest of the Newsletter or subscribe

See also Dim Sum Thinking — Theme by @mattgraham — Subscribe with RSS