>One year ago today, at about this time, I packed up the Powerpuff Girl figurines, the pictures of Husband and my sister, and a squishy stress-relief ball shaped like a green paper advertising the Child Care and Adult Food Program, and I left my job at a nonprofit community development financial reinstitution after nearly five years. It took me two years and two previous attempts to quit, but mounting frustration, seething rage, and desperation at working in an agency that took 40 cents of every dollar that I fundraised to cover overhead costs while offering me absolutely zero support took its toll. Every year I received glowing reviews from my direct and indirect bosses about how I continually exceeded expectations and single-handedly oversaw a program to build more child care center for low income kids in New York City, but not once was I ever offered a job promotion or job title that reflected the full amount of work I performed. While my peers and externally partners respected me, I was rewarded with suspicion and wrath from the upper echelons of the agency for not fundraising enough to cover their five-figure bonuses and six-figure salaries. (This is not secret info, by the way: it is all public in the agency's Form 990.)
My bosses liked to tell people that I left to write my book about unusual things to see in do in New York City, and that is partly true. Within 8 months, a small publisher in Nashville bought my book, I published several articles in local newspapers, and began writing a memoir about puberty and other bodily betrayals. Not working for those wretched fucks improved my mood for the first time in years, but I didn't fully escape their tentacles. Since these wonderful accomplishments didn't pay very much and I felt guilty about living off my husband (something I swore from a young age that I would never do), I agreed to consult for a City agency, working closely with my friend who took my old job. Obviously, there has not yet be enough distance for me to get over my experience yet.
Still, today is a day I am celebrating because I took important steps toward a new career. I indulged in a piece of guava bizcocho Dominicano, a traditional yellow cake with frosting so sweet that I actually felt the sugar granules in the neon pink frosting crunching in my teeth. Husband and I then headed out to the Queens County Farm Museum, the last site I plan to visit for my book. (Yay!) We toured a farmhouse that has been on the site since the late 1700s, pet sheep, and wandered around in the seasonal three acre corn maze. The unseasonably warm day of fun was capped off with gyros (pronounced with a hard "g" in Chicago, a soft "g" in New York, and a "y" in Greece).
As we trudged out of the farm, sweaty and full of meat, a family passed us on their way in. Their teenage son was wearing a t-shirt that read, "I (heart) hot moms." Husband and I exchanged glances. "That shirt would not be disturbing if the guy who was wearing it was not 16," Husband remarked.
You can say all that again. Here's to another wacky and weird year of change.