The scariest thing I’ve done this year is turn down a job offer.
The scariest thing I did last year was quit a job without another job lined up.
Lately, I’ve been presented with the idea of failing as incredibly necessary. If it’s not possible for you to fail, then you never really tried; and if you never tried, then how can anything change?
But at the same time I’m reminded of my mom telling me through the rear-view mirror of our burgundy Crown Victoria one day after school,
“Failing is a luxury.”
The past couple of years have shed a blistering light on that fact. There are so many people living one missed paycheck away from homelessness.
Among the consequences of capitalism in education is a cohort of people who are perpetually in a catch-22. Achieve higher education or no one will hire you. Work hard or you’ll never be able to afford a house or send your kids to college. Don’t have debt. Work harder. Don’t buy avocados. All while literally everything gets more expensive and wages stay the same.
Enough pieces have been written about “the great resignation” that we should all have unassailable certainty of its cause. People are tired of being treated like bustling ports where all that matters are the import and export numbers.
So they quit.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in regards to 2021, stated, “The number of quits increased in November to a series high of 4.5 million (+370,000).”
Millions of people are deciding failing is a luxury they can’t not afford. What is the point of job security when that job doesn’t allow you to experience life in a meaningful way or when that job is actively causing your mind and body to deteriorate?
One of my favorite Peloton instructors, Alex Toussaint, has a motto about failing. In one of his classes he says,
“I set the bar high for you because I want you to fail high. If you fail, you tried, if you tried, you believed.”
It’s incredibly inspiring seeing so many people embark on an uncertain path because they believe in themselves, which means believing that they are worth more than what they’re being offered. They are worth the luxury of failing in order to do better.
None of this is easy, but more and more it feels necessary.
If you’re one of the believers plunging into possible failure, I’m here for support, to send you memes, help with a resume, or simply a virtual solidarity high five.