I have been waiting to update here until I had The Answer. I would quit! Leave it all behind! Ha ha, it would all be clear and I would impart some great wisdom.
What has instead happened is my boss has been traveling so I have had a lot of time to think, and--why do I always do this?--ask other people for advice. What a wild ride that is. I love hearing other people's stories, but entering all those worlds can be disorienting. I've been warned not to quit, risking the direst consequences for my career. If nothing else, the economy! I'm lucky to have anything, after all. I've been told to take control of my fellowship and only work the hours I can, reshape the discussion to one of productivity. Ha! Where would you all be without me here at WC, which is where I would not be if I was being productive by crunching out manuscripts at home?
I have also conjured up a couple offers for temporary, part-time work, maybe just maybe even at my current workplace. So I can leave and go TO something, thank heavens.
Not surprisingly, the extra time has added humanity and complexity to the whole thing. My coworkers have been surprisingly supportive. They have come forward with stories of their own lives and assured me there will be no hard feelings if I go.
The only time I ever quit a job so soon after starting was at Uncle Sam's roadside ice cream stand at age 15, when I discovered that I could not produce a soft-serve cone with any symmetry or skill, and the boss and I just sort of said, okay bye. So I've been sick about DISAPPOINTING them or somehow being a FAILURE--what a waste of energy that is, eh? I'm learning to let go of that. I have enough to do.
Holy crap, I can see why most people don't follow their hearts. It's excrutiating! A great leap of faith. I imagine, though, that in the end I will be one of them.