Fat, old, ugly, and surly

Here’s the backstory: I work for a company that’s been better than most, but no longer is, and they’re now outsourcing my team. They’ve given us six months’ notice, asked us to help train our replacements, and offered a sizable bonus for employees who don’t quit before the outsourcing transition is complete.

So, should I stay or should I go?

TL/DR: After talking it over with my wife, I've decided not to quit my job.

I really, really wanted to quit. I’d written a delightfully snappy resignation, and was planning to send it on Monday morning. You don't often get the chance to say Fuck you! to people who need to hear it, so this was gonna be beautiful — I’d leave on my own terms, piss off and on all the right people, monkeywrench their smooth outsourcing transition, and I’d be the hero of the movie in my mind. I'd half-written a blog post, to be headlined A futile and stupid gesture.

But quitting is too futile and stupid, even for me. My job is guaranteed for six more months, it pays decent, comes with health care and paid vacations (and I want my vacation), and they’re dangling that bribe if I stick around. My career has become a temporary gig, which sucks, but six months is a long temp gig. I’d be an idiot to walk away.

I’ve always been an idiot, of course — that’s my brand — but I’m not in my 20s 30s 40s or 50s any more. It's time to be a responsible adult. There’s a cat counting on me.

Quitting would sink my budget and present all sorts of little and big problems, and now is not a good time for that. Six months from now will also not be a good time for that, but I'll have six months to plan, and six months is way, way in the future so it's nothing to worry about.

Also, there's a practical problem: I’ve put on fifty pounds while working at home during the pandemic, so I no longer have any work-appropriate clothes that fit. Six months will give me time to lose some weight or, more likely, buy larger clothes.

What annoys me most is that I’ve spent way too much time thinking about this. I hate thinking about work when I’m not on the clock, or when I am. Hell, I’ve been watching streaming videos while working at home for the past year, so I'm getting paid to watch Doctor Who. I want six more months of that.

♦ ♦ ♦

Special thanks to Stephanie, who helped me make the smart decision. She’s my wife, and I wanted to talk it over with her before quitting, but she’s dead so that’s unlikely. She visits my dreams now and again, and if this was fiction, I’d say that Steph appeared in a dream, with words of great wisdom, but — nah. I only wish she’d haunt me like that.

Instead, I tried to imagine what she would say, what good advice she’d give. That's the way we talk these days. She always told me to think things through, take your time, don't do anything rash. So I decided to think about it over the weekend before doing anything.

She could always slice away the bull, get to the basics of whatever we talked about, so I mentally grunted and groaned in that direction, and asked myself, what’s the most basic thing about this situation? What's so elementary that maybe I hadn’t even thought it over?

The answer didn’t come while I was awake, nor in a dream, but it blossomed in my brain the moment my eyes opened this morning — the question that underlies everything is: What do you want? That’s what Steph would’ve asked, or words quite close to that.

So I asked myself Stephanie's question, and the answer is, I want a steady job. That’s all. It doesn’t have to pay well. I don’t have to like it. I don’t even care what the job is, short of scrubbing toilets (my back hurts if I bend over too much). What I want is 40 hours a week at a job where I'm not about to lose my job.

And that's what I have, right now. I have a steady job, until January. If I quit, it’ll probably be several months before I find another steady job. Not quitting pays better, and it’s steadier work.

♦ ♦ ♦

Here’s me, looking for a job: I fill out the application, attach the resumé, and maybe they call me in for an interview. Unsurprisingly, I never get the job after an interview, because I am fat, old, ugly, and perpetually surly. 

So I don't do job interviews any more. When I need work, I sign up with a temp agency. Nobody at an agency cares about anything but your skills. They test your skills, and if you pass the test, they’ll send you on temporary assignments.

When I show up at an assignment, everyone's disappointed that their new temp is fat, old, ugly, and surly. If the assignment lasts more than a few weeks, though, they’ll get past all that and notice that I’m good at office-flunkee work, and they’ll hire me.

That’s how I’ve gotten every job I’ve had since the 1970s, including my current job — the job that’s now become a six-month temp assignment. Maybe someone there will notice that I’m good, and offer me a job. If not, I’ll start temping again, and that’ll lead to my next real job.

♦ ♦ ♦

For now, I’ll sit on my butt and push buttons all day, five days a week, while watching old movies or Doctor Who. For this they’ll pay me, plus health care, and a vacation, and a big cash payout when it’s over. I've suffered through worse and so have you.

Of course, I reserve the right to quit in an embarrassing fit of rage, any time, any day, if I'm in a bad mood and the boss says something stupid.


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  1. Captain HampocketsJune 13, 2021 at 2:07 PM

    I'm with Steph.

    You can live cheap cheap cheap. I know that. Build up your cushion, take that bonus, take that vacation (or the cash if they'll pay it out instead), and don't burn the bridge.

  2. Work sucks, and the only thing that sucks more is not working (when needing work).

  3. You made the smart decision I think. Tell Stephanie I said hello.

  4. Good thinking it thru. The definition of being an adult is NOT doing what you want in every situjation.

  5. I don't know you so I don't know why I care, but I do. I'm glad you didn't quit.

  6. Maybe this isn't what you want to hear, but you have it pretty good. Thousands maybe millions have been laid off with no notice, no severance. When they closed my office I got two weeks pay and two weeks notice.

    1. You're absolutely right, and we're being treated better than most outsourced workers. I still wanna punch somebody, though.


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