Throwing in the Towel

Posted by | March 26, 2015 | Find your mission, How to change jobs

Throwing in the Towel blog header

By Anita Perkins

Many people said it was a brave thing to do, though I didn’t necessarily feel that way. Nanna said ‘congratulations on throwing the towel in.’ As a languages person, this made me wonder whether the saying originated from the actions of a disgruntled medieval kitchen hand of some description, walking out on washing up mountains of golden chalices with remnants of sticky mead. In any case, I had no doubt in head and heart that leaving my job was the right thing to do for me.

Now, after an initial month off, I find myself in the weeks of the aftermath. That strange place of job hunting land. Why do I know the latest development of the Natalia Kills saga? Why does it feel like an effort to get out of bed, (or get out of trackpants)? Why do I stare blindly at the pantry and fridge when not really hungry in between bursts on various job hunting search engines? Yesterday I was especially proud of the pita bread pizzas I made out of remaining ingredients in said fridge and pantry (tinned tomatoes, avocado, corn, grated cheese and salt and pepper). Hmmm who have I become? A jobseeker!

Last weekend I was reluctant to go to a friend’s house party. I thought: what will I say if someone asks me what I do and I have to say nothing? Actually no one even asked and the party was great!

Friends are always upbeat and positive about my current situation. They tell me I look relaxed and they are really excited about the opportunities and possibilities before me. Sometimes I feel that way, too.

It’s amazing what happens when you let your daily mainstay go. I’ve found myself reviewing what my values are and what I want in life; who I am aside from the identity my job gave me. I’ve been writing poems and thinking about the things I have to be grateful for.

To be honest, I thought that after a break some magical voice would call to me telling me what it is I want to do job-wise, but it hasn’t really, so I’m just putting a lot of applications out there and seeing what comes back to me.

As my mum pointed out, in the future, I may just see this period as a bit of a blip between jobs. For now though, I’m just trying to live in the moment, not freak out. My friends and family really help me see the silver linings. All in all I’m enjoying this peculiar period to do (low-cost) activities, spend time with friends, and enjoy (kind of weird, on reflection) delightful remaining ingredients lunchtime pizzas.


About Anita:  Anita is currently hunting for jobs using her skills in research, writing and policy analysis. With a passion for travel, she has taught English in a number of countries, and spent a few seasons skiing in Japan. She also has a PhD in German travel writing and experience studying and living in Germany. With a strong interest in other cultures and languages, she has been an active member of the Asia NZ Foundation leadership network since 2008.  She has worked as a freelance writer and also enjoys writing for fun.



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2 Responses to “Throwing in the Towel”

  1. Comment made by rustle19 on Mar 27th 2015 at 1:50 pm:

    I too admitted defeat I suppose, I see that throwing in the towel comes from boxing: “When a boxer is suffering a beating and his corner want to stop the fight they literally throw in the towel to indicate their conceding of the fight”. There are some from my last job I’d like to get in the boxing ring!
    But I come in peace, in between jobs, as they say, when you resign from a job, and don’t have another to go to, it says alot about how bad your situation was, there is that big little thing called income.
    I agree that you kind of expect some sort of epiphany, in your new freedom – no more routine, out goes the 9-5 grind – for me I tried a break house-sitting and looking after the dog and cat. Having never had much to do with dogs, I now want one, but I will have to talk to my pussycat first, he will not be impressed.
    But I did (re)discover the beach too and great seeing how much the dog loves it. And I rediscovered Seinfeld, a wonderfully funny tv series (nine seasons from 1989 to 1998).
    Yes one really values friends’ support too, ultimately though it comes back to finding an income, unfortunately.

  2. Comment made by Julia - Do Good Jobs on Mar 27th 2015 at 2:15 pm:

    Hi Rustle19, Thanks for the comment! As a person who works flexi-time and often from home (which sometimes leads to a little too much procrastination) I also find it interesting to see how full my favourite cafe is on a week day and question what it is the people in there, who don’t look like they are having work meetings, do to earn a crust (or a coffee). I often spy a few people working on laptops on their own projects, but it makes for interesting people watching and gives a bit of time to think about how others balance the income conundrum with life.

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