Everyday Living

The Two-Year Itch

The last time I left a job, I was actually leaving a seven-year career in journalism. At the time, I let people think it was because of my burgeoning relationship with Future Husband that was prompting me to move south to Rochester and to leave the newspapers that I loved just about as much I loved FH.

But I’ll be honest – I was burned out. Big time. I remember mornings when the Rattling Death Trap would be driving by the old movie theater in the town I was working in and just muttering to myself: “I don’t want to go to work. I don’t want to go to work.” And that tightness would set in my chest: The weight of stress, unhappiness and a premonition that my ass would get kicked another day in the wonderful world of being a news editor.

It was a Wednesday that I met with a temporary agency to see if I could find employment. (I was an English major with management skills – I like to think that made me employable.) That night I told FH that I was quitting my job and moving to Rochester. The next morning I went into my boss’s office – also a person who is a dear friend of mine – and told him I was putting down the pen and pursuing life as a civilian. I was ready to have a “normal” life of 8 to 5 work. No late nights putting the paper to bed. No more city council meetings. No more little old ladies giving me impromptu grammar lessons on street corners, no more crazed charter school administrators coming into my office and reading me the riot act until I stopped them short by busting into laughter (I was terrible at defusing situations like that.)

But I could have told my boss it was going to happen. I had been in my last newspaper town for a little bit over two years. I was burned out to be sure and I really wanted to see what would happen with Future Husband, but in reality, I was scratching the two-year itch.

Here’s that theorem: My first job out of college lasted a little over three years before I hightailed it to Wisconsin where I toiled 1 ½ years before I realized how much I missed Minnesota and moved to Northfield. I made it two years before I moved here to Rochester. But over these years, I’ve noticed that every two years I get this itch – this lingering question “can things be better than this?” starts rolling around like a mantra in my head and I find myself looking on online job boards, trying to find the next best job.

I hit my two-year anniversary yesterday at my current job. And man … I wonder at times why I can’t just be happy and content with things. But the last few months have just been brutal and that “normal” life I told my old editor about must have been a pipe dream. Most nights I can get out of here by 5, but there are some days – like last Tuesday where I worked a 13-hour day and man … I know it’s a part of life, but sometimes I don’t really feel appreciated in my current job, which makes those long days really bitter and not very rewarding.

I’ve had some conversations with FH about my job future – one reason I’ve stuck it out this long is that we’re both hoping that when we have kids, I’ll be able to stay at home and do a portion of my work from home. I do a lot of writing for work and it doesn’t take a certain atmosphere to get my work done – I can do it as easily (and probably more efficiently) from my desk in my basement than I can do it in my little cubicle.

Another reason I stick with my job is that I do have a lot more freedom than some of my other co-workers. I get to march to the beat of my own drum to a certain extent and I prefer that to some of the scrutiny my other co-workers find themselves under.

I also do like my bosses, overall. They are both intelligent men who are very successful and I’ve learned a lot working with them.

And finally, the two-year itch is not good when the economy is bad and when there are people all over who are looking for jobs. I have a couple different options that I can explore, but for the first time in my life, good benefits actually mean something to me – especially if FH and I decide to expand our brood to more than just our Evil Cat.

Today’s consensus is that I’m sticking it out. I’m just hoping that a weekend away from all of this madness will recharge me to a certain extent.

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3 thoughts on “The Two-Year Itch

  1. Wow. Talk about baring your soul. You really touched me with this post. I can relate (and so can so many others).

    I always try to remember that we are not our jobs, we are not our bank account levels or our credit rating, we are perfect beings and we need to zen-out at work sometimes and try to appreciate the good you see in the people you work with.

    Sometimes that is hard to do, but when I let go of my childish ego and vow to be supportive and kind to everyone (including the truly “unconnected” and angry egomaniacs) it is amazing how much better the day can be.

    I hope you find that peace of mind and the perfect job. I’m a firm believer in quitting until you find the right employment.

    Merry Xmas to you…


  2. Carol – Thanks for the words of encouragement – it is much appreciated. And after a weekend away from both jobs, I’ve achieved some much-needed perspective and totally echo what you’re saying. We are not our jobs. We are not our bank accounts. We’re human beings who are able to accomplish so much more than what we are constrained to in our little cubicles.

    As for the rest of it – to scratch the itch or to wait it out – I’ll let you know what I decide. 🙂

  3. My DH gets that two year itch, too. He’s scratching pretty bad right now…but now we are full time military. We have to wait for the back to be scratched, the military will tell us when to move!

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