I should probably rename this blog since we’ll be living in the homeland until next spring, and this hardly counts as the ends of the earth, but until I come up with a new name that I like I suppose we’ll just stick with this one for the time being.

All week as I’ve been trying to figure out whether I was going to go on unpaid leave or quit for good and how the unpaid leave would work, I’ve been thinking of the entries on my friend Catherine’s blog about quitting her job. It’s definitely been an interesting experience. I’m continually amazed at how complicated bureaucracy can make everything. For instance, I’ve been trying since June to get answers on the rules associated with unpaid leave with no luck despite repeated e-mails to various and sundry personnel types. I finally ended up going into our personnel chief’s office, and lo and behold all the answers I could have really used when I was trying to make this decision three months ago came forth. This of course meant that I ended up having to make the final decision overnight because of the wheels I had set in motion before returning to the States. As you saw in my last post, the final result was that I submitted my resignation instead of messing around with any sort of leave.

I’m sure the weirdness of not working will probably hit me in a couple of weeks, but for right now I mostly feel liberated and relieved. I will say, though, that leaving this job does feel a bit like what I would imagine leaving the mob would be like. Not that anyone is going to put a hit out on me (that I know of), but once you’re out you are definitively on the outside socially as well as professionally. A lot of the people I work with are so wrapped up in their life with “the Man” that they honestly can’t figure out what I’m going to do without being part of that anymore, and just stare at me when I tell them I’m looking forward to life on the outside in whatever form that ends up taking.

The question I’ve most often gotten is, “but what are you going to DO?” Just to mess with their heads, for right now I’m telling them that I’m going to learn to make bread and look into working with an NGO or non-profit of some sort, which is a funnier comment if you know how suspiciously most gubment types view the people who work for NGOs…if “pinko commie” was still used I’m pretty sure that’s the term they would apply.