Greetings, my dear friends.
I know why you’re here. You read all about me, and you’re thinking – Okay, I’m miserable at work all the time, but that doesn’t mean I can just up and leave. First of all, I have to make ends meet. And second of all, I just don’t have the courage. What will I do when I quit? How will I fend for myself?! Actually, you know what? Forget about the making ends meet… I can’t imagine not having an income for even a short period of time.
Good points. Great questions. My exact feelings before the courage somehow blossomed.
You see, I never fathomed being one of those girls who had the courage to up and quit without another job lined up. I’d spent my whole life working towards that job.
Truth nugget: It occurred to me while writing this that when I was younger with this goal of getting “that job”, I didn’t even have a definition for “that job”. I had no values or specific desires on what I wanted that job to be other than the cliché: good culture, aligns with my technical skills, has decent pay etc. etc. I had no real big-picture goals as it related to my existence as a whole. Interesting realization. Can you relate?
My life was always planned. Was yours?
- Go to school.
- Do well in school.
- Get into a good college.
- Do well in college.
- Get a good job.
- Get paid.
I studied my ass off and made myself miserable every time I wasn’t perfect. Why? Because this plan had to succeed.
Truth nugget: I don’t recommend that planned approach to anyone. This kind of short-sighted goal doesn’t actually serve any of our souls down the road.
So how did I unlearn this to a big enough degree to find the courage to quit?
Well, on that 10th week of crying (give or take a few weeks… probably give), after I updated my resume (which by the way, took me forever), my old director from my first job and I connected for some entirely unrelated random reason. One thing led to another in our conversation, and she (Eve) wanted me to come back to that job. And like my old job was a magnet, boy, was I pulled.
I was so miserable at my current job mainly due to the lack of wholehearted relationships… gosh, and such a lack of managers looking at me as if I’m anything other than a resource. My first job out of college though? The one that Eve wanted me to come back to? Oh, how it was the opposite. The group dynamic as a whole there was pretty dysfunctional (sorry, guys) but the people were so authentic. Unbelievably. Authentic. When you talked to your coworkers, you were meeting them at a soul-level. When you interacted with your clients, you were meeting them with that kind of authenticity too. Your managers were your life-guards. They were always in touch and never going to let you drown… at least not drown alone. Accountability was always there. In my current misery, my desire for those kinds of relationships at work was so high that I was very seriously thinking that going backwards was going to get me going forward in life. Eve and I started talking about compensation and everything! Because the old company is much larger, structured, and the work is very specialized, I’d bent a bit in my mind (for the first time, ever) that I’d have to take a minor pay cut at least… maybe $5K (hopefully that’d be the maximum). I figured it would be worth it considering the fact that the team I had there was family, and my heart? Well, it needed that.
So what did this conversation do for me?
It changed the world as I saw it in my mind in two ways:
- There was a light at the end of the tunnel now. I didn’t have to cry anymore! I didn’t feel stuck anymore. My mind got some clarity because it could now see that change was possible. See, throughout the 10 weeks of misery, my mind forgot that there was even a possibility of change. It’s amazing how my literal-present circumstances didn’t change and yet, my view on the circumstances had. I was still at my same job that brought out this major “woe is me” mindset, but one tiny morsel of hope/opportunity brought some clarity to my mind and reminded me how not stuck I am. That was the truth all along, but I was too deep in the bad days to realize it. I could breathe again!In other words, I was never stuck. I just couldn’t see clearly for so long because my “sunny sky” was dealing with majorly cloudy days. Doesn’t mean the sunny sky wasn’t behind it the whole time. You guys ever experience this?
- Money was always a big thing for my ego. I couldn’t leave my job where I was making X amounts of money. Nor could I ever take a pay-cut. No, no, absolutely not! I’d gotten too comfortable in my routine of spending to change that. I’d worked too hard to get to this income amount to change that! But then when I bent a bit on my pay to go back to my old job, for my sanity’s sake, money suddenly wasn’t a big issue to me anymore. It’s crazy how such a small mindset change made such a big difference to way of thinking.
So then I started down the path of evaluating this returning-to-my-old-job opportunity:
- Why did I leave my old job in the first place? I left because I got really good at that job and felt a need to broaden my skill-set. I was worried I was pigeon-holing myself into something at too young an age. I didn’t want to become a manager or a director in that group and then never be able to take my expertise elsewhere.
- Am I okay with possibly pigeon-holing myself again? Basically, can I imagine staying at that job for the rest of my life? I think the family/good team aspect of my 40+ hours of a week is so important to me, that hm, yes, maybe I’d be willing.
- Is it possible that this job has changed a lot and maybe you wouldn’t be pigeon-holing yourself? Yes. It’s possible.
- Do you even want to still be a consultant?
And that’s where my line of self-questioning stopped. Holy smokes – this question hit me like a nail on the head. THIS. This is when I realized that I’d always gone the safe, secure route. Always, guys.
In high school, instead of taking classes like band and home economics and art (things I really wanted to do), I took AP and Pre-AP classes to help stack my GPA. When choosing a major for college, I actually wanted to study neuro-psychology, but I got into the business school and going that route just seemed easier and definitely seemed more secure. When I was in the business school, I actually wanted to major in Marketing because of the creativity it could call for, but Information Systems was interesting too and the likelihood of getting a job seemed higher.
Always the secure route.
Do you even want to still be a consultant?
I don’t know. Did I ever? And then I spent that weekend dreaming up bigger possibilities. What have I always wanted to do that I’ve never done? What would I do if I quit without something lined up?
- I would write the chapter book that I started three years ago.
- I would write the children’s book that has been on my mind since middle school.
- I would invent the product that has been on my mind for a year.
- I would publish the website/newsletter that my soul has been itching to make reality for 2+ years now.
- I would read and learn about a million topics that I’ve been putting off for years because after a miserable day of Corporate America work, I never wanted to do anything else.
I visualized these things hard core. Like down to my success taking me to the Ellen show. (For. Real.) It was as if it had already happened. And that’s what did it.
It suddenly occurred to me that I had put the creative side of me on hold for so long and I just… I didn’t want to hold that back anymore. I wanted to go after all those things. I wanted to stop being afraid of trying something new. I wanted to be fearless like I was when I was a kid. I wanted these things so bad.
So after 6+ years of working and saving money, that following Monday, I did it. I gave my notice.
Then I started writing for this blog to share my journey. Why? Because I know that to some degree, most everyone wants to secretly quit their Corporate America jobs but is afraid of the low points they might go through. I’m here to tell you that since quitting, I’ve been experiencing some of the darkest of dark days. I’ve cried. I’ve doubted myself (more than you could ever fathom).
But if you know that everyone goes through really tough times and still can succeed (let’s hope I do!), maybe, just maybe, you can follow your dreams too.
Here’s to hoping!
P.S. Next week, since we’ve been playing a little bit of catch up, you can finally expect a post about my first *few* weeks of funemployment.