I Quit My Job To Try Getting Internet Famous

Photo: courtesy of the author
I Quit My Job To Become Internet Famous
Self

I left my job without permission to create a failed YouTube channel about a road trip I was taking with a boy I once loved but no longer speak to.

I asked my supervisor for vacation days. They were denied. So, I left — knowing the result of my decision would not be forgiveness.

I simply didn’t show up for work in exchange for a bed in the back of a station wagon and gas station bathrooms.

I was miserable and angry with my company — a sketchy startup that promised its underpaid employees riches — once it was finally noticed by Facebook and acquired for billions. But the free lunch, ping pong table, commiseration and the embarrassingly distant hope that our stocky and slimy CEO was telling the truth about our thousands of shares in the company, kept me there.

Then suddenly, I was done.

So I quit. Silently. There was no conversation with my boss or putting in my two weeks.

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I just disappeared.

I didn’t log out of my email and I didn’t erase my in-office messages. I didn’t bring home my best work and I didn’t clean up my desk. I didn’t say goodbye to my co-workers and I didn’t walk out with a cardboard box under my arm, turn to the building for one last look and sigh with relief and regret.

It was a few days later, while tucked inside a sleeping bag in a tent in northern Idaho when I got the email.

Terminated.

I reminded myself, this is what I expected and what I wanted. I quit my job so they would fire me.

And they did — and for the very first time they fulfilled their end of a bargain.

I was proud and ashamed of what I had done. Abandoned my unenjoyable, yet decent-sounding job for absolute uncertainty with a person I was not totally certain about. I had done what the digital nomads describe as noble but I felt that I had done it without a viable action plan. In one fell swoop I had given up my life to do something kind of goofy.

This:

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I became the very quiet co-star in a very much-undiscovered YouTube channel about traveling the country in a car, landing in the deep south and selling corndogs at music festivals.

I traded online news and analytics for carnies and camping.

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In hindsight, there may have been other, simpler ways of escaping the misery of my job. But I’ve always been a proponent of running away. If there’s an urge to escape, maybe, just maybe, it should be heeded — instead of looked down upon as a weak reaction to unsolved problems.

Maybe it’s actually brave.

And what I’ve learned in my life of running, is that I’ve more often regretted the staying and less often regretted the leaving.

There’s a quote out there that says something like, when you’re ripe, you rot. Essentially, when you stand still and get bored and stop moving and stop trying — you don’t grow and change and learn and seek — you rot.

I was rotting in my job. And as messy and heartbreaking and confusing as this road trip ended up being (and still is, thanks to the everlasting power of the Internet and forgotten passwords) — It stopped me from rotting.

I left my job to travel the country and become a YouTube sensation. The YouTube fame didn’t pan out, but I did.

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Lauren Melink is a TV news reporter who likes to write, garden, trail run and drink coffee. Read more of her writing on Medium.

This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.