I quit my job on January 3rd, 2018.
Part of me is still amazed I did, so it bears repeating. Five weeks after my 41st birthday, I quit my safe Monday-to-Friday job. For a few reasons. I didn’t feel fulfilled anymore. My mental and physical health were taking a hit, and as a result I was directed by my phyisician to be on stress leave. More than once.
Let’s be clear; I didn’t hate my job. However, I didn’t want to move to another position or department. I couldn’t see myself doing the same tasks for another 20 years. I’m good at my job (great, actually *toot-tooting own horn*) but it was no longer enough.
And you know what? That’s okay.
This was not a hasty decision. Some who know me are probably rolling their eyes and picking their jaws off the ground. The reactions have been mixed, but after the initial shock wore off I was pleased to hear the majority leaned to commenting “You’re so brave! I wish I could quit my job, too.”
Note: I’m not a fool. This is not my first resignation. I have had all sorts of jobs and I stayed at this one for nine years. Nine! That is a staggering number for this gal. I even demoted myself a year ago to the previous role I had at this employer as an alternative to resigning back then. See? Not done in haste. But when the environment and tasks were still a detriment to my mental and physical wellbeing, it was time to shake things up.
We only get one shot at this life thing.
We get into this familiarity with our lives. When we aren’t at our 40+ hours per week gig, what are we doing? Usually all the necessary grownup stuff like laundry, groceries, keeping small humans alive and happy. You know what else we’re doing? When all those chores are rounded up, and before we get to start doing them all over again the next day? A whole lot of us are surfing Instagram, and Pinterest, and Facebook… whatever social-media-rabbit-hole we can fall down, looking at the lives of people who are doing real, exciting, scary, and awesome stuff. Traveling, becoming entrepreneurs, expanding horizons.
I see you there. I do it, too. The difference is I finally had my “a-ha moment”. I asked myself two questions:
- “When did the size of my income determine I’d ‘made’ it?”
- “I sold my house a year ago to DO more, BE more, LIVE more. Uh…when am I going to actually get busy with that?”
Heads up, people.
You can make more money. You cannot make more time.
Sure I’m well aware I’m giving up the familiar — The Safety Net. There will be no more vacation weeks, the understanding supervisors when I’m unwell, the pension years from now when I permanently leave the cubicle life.
Fear not — I’m not going to live in a tent down by the river. I know I still need a job to pay my bills. I just want a different one; ideally working face to face with people in some ‘helping’ capacity. Maybe I’ll even end up creating a job myself.
This is what I want you to consider. There is no more January 2018 when February 2018 arrives. No more “I’ll do that in my 30’s, when my other stuff is sorted” on your 41st birthday.
Last year was full of bad news and loss and our world, let’s be real, is a pretty sketchy place nowadays. (Like WTF, Mother Nature. Add to that the world “leaders” bullying each other in the proverbial sandbox.)
Lots of people won’t get their Someday.
For health reasons, or family obligation, or, the most likely culprit — because of FEAR. Wanting a life of fulfillment is not greedy, silly, stupid, or radical. We each deserve to have a heart of happiness! For me, leaving the “safe” job to seek new adventures, new opportunities, and new ways to find that fulfillment felt pretty darn fabulous.
Do you follow the show “This Is Us“? The episode where Randall finally has a breakdown? Yeah. THAT. He quits after taking stress leave. Exactly what I did! I was on yet another stress leave in December *my fourth in two years* and then I came back and worked 2 shifts. You know what went down on shift number three? I quit. HELL TO THE YES, I QUIT.
*Insert rad ‘kerplooey’ image here.* Randall becomes happier, healthier, more involved with his wife, his daughters, his other family members. He seeks out new opportunities. Randall found his GLOW, ladies and gentlemen. Sign me up for that shiz.
Sure, this might be considered brave. And hell yes, some would call it terrifying. I don’t have a live-in partner supplementing any lost wages. But here’s the thing — I’m very aware of my emotions, finally. I’m checking in with me. And if I don’t take the leap? I’ll never know what could have been. That’s much more terrifying than staying the same.