It eats away at me, the decision I made two years ago. It was a split decision, but one that I believed in with every fiber of my being. I wanted out so badly, and I'm writing to tell you why.

Actually, I'm writing to forgive myself.

After 8 months of working at a "dream job" in publishing, I quit. I walked into my boss's office and told him I was leaving. He responded with a sigh, and a silent shake of his head that said it all: I had let him down.

This was the same boss who, a month before, had sat next to me in a bar after a company event and confessed that the main reason I landed my job was because he liked the way I looked. He flirted shamelessly with me that night, and even went so far as to question the solidity of my marriage. "You got married way too young," he teased. When I responded by saying that I was very much in love with my husband, he smiled and assured me that wouldn't stop him. Stop him from what, exactly, I couldn't tell you.

Regardless of the position he put me in, I still feel guilty. Out of some sort of pathetic need to be liked, I didn't correct him when he invaded my personal space. I didn't walk away when he crossed the line. Instead, I spent most of the evening laughing off his advances—albeit, uncomfortably. This guy wasn't a predator, he was my mentor. A friend, even. It wasn't that big of a deal. After all, the alcohol was flowing. We were all a little too loose. And he'd been hinting at a promotion for weeks: "You have a future as the face of this company," he'd assured me. How was I supposed to react to his flattery?

But deep down, I knew I didn't want to be the face of the company. I wanted out. The truth is, I was a nervous wreck to go to work every day because of the drama and toxic attitudes fueled by an almost all-female office. I was terrified of making a mistake, which—depending on my manager's mood that day—might be punishable by public shaming. It was like walking on eggshells, working there, and I couldn't take it. But I couldn't admit that.

Read the rest in Volume IV, Quarter I of Broadside, published March 2019.