Two years ago on my birthday, I had what Brené Brown’s therapist would call a spiritual awakening.
Others might call it a breakdown.
Or a breakdown.
I’m not picky about what to call it, but it changed my life in ways good and…challenging.
While managing the relaunch of Rebellious, I was working full-time for a giant IT consulting company that sent me to work at clients all over the country. That sunny July morning found me sitting in my client’s windowless basement office outside of Hartford, Connecticut: florescent lights, cinder block walls, beige 1970s-era cubicles, faint smell of mildew in the air. The corporate equivalent of Hades.
I had recently complained to my boss that I kept getting put onto consulting projects that had nothing to do with my background in communications and in roles that were either super junior or downright menial.
Me: “I know I’m relatively new to consulting, but I’m about to turn 41 years old.”
Him, laughing: “Wait, what? I thought you were like 28?!”
Me, mentally: Uh huh. I know black don’t crack and all, but look at my resume, man. I have T-shirts older than 28. What the actual hell?
A few weeks later, bummed out about working out of town on my birthday and annoyed that none of my colleagues had remembered it yet, I walked outside, called my boss and quit.
Quit being condescended to by people who saw only my youthful glowing skin and not my qualifications. Quit having my time controlled by people for whom I was a commodity. Quit being a mouthy black lesbian feminist in corporate America and all of its ugly -isms.
I also, I should mention, quit getting a sizable regular pay check, paid vacation and travel perks. Au revoir, premier status.
Confession: I secretly love quitting jobs. Maybe it’s latent genetic payback from my slave ancestors, but some of the most satisfying moments of my career have come from sashaying into a white man’s office and giving him the two-finger deuces salute. The look of shock never disappoints.
At the time, I thought of quitting as giving myself the gift of freedom. Two years later, I appreciate that it was also the gift of going for it. These two years have not been easy – burnout, the constant challenge of monetizing feminist media, Nov. 8, 2016 – but I will never suffer from a case of the What Ifs. I’ll never wonder what would have happened if I’d just gone for it, because I went for it. I went all in on making Rebellious Magazine for Women a thing, on investing in journalism that matters and on forging a team of badass Rebelle writers, photographers, staff and professional misfits.
The gift of going for it has cost me a lot, but I wouldn’t trade it in for all of the fat consulting paychecks in Connecticut.
Thank you for reading, and I’d love to hear from y’all about what going for it has meant to you. Hit me up!
P.S. My birthday is July 12, and the Best Gift Ever would be your support for Rebellious Magazine. You can make a one-time contribution or keep on giving every month.Click here to make it rain.
Before You Go: Help Keep Us Rebellious
Rebellious Magazine for Women is funded almost entirely by individual contributions, and your gift goes directly to our diverse team of freelance writers, editors and creators. Please consider becoming a sustaining member on Patreon. Thank you!
Karen Hawkins is the Founder and Rebelle in Chief of Rebellious Magazine. She is a recovering mainstream media reporter and editor who wants to thank her former boss for naming the online magazine she's...
More by Karen Hawkins