My third item to cross off my Single Girl’s Checklist, and it’s a biggie, so it’s actually taken me a while to be able to write about it (or at least get this post out of the “draft” file).
#10 – Quit your job.
This was not a decision I took lightly. I didn’t just decide to do it irrationally on a day when I had a particularly crappy time at work. I didn’t decide to do it when my head was about to explode with frustration and annoyance. I didn’t just say, “What the hell? Why not?” I didn’t do it because I hate my boss or my co-workers. I didn’t do it because I wasn’t making enough money.
I did it because it just wasn’t right for me.
And it took me a long time to come to peace with that.
When I started my job, I was thrilled. But that sense of happiness didn’t last very long. When I had my review with my boss(es) last summer, I told them that I didn’t feel like this was a fit for me, and we all agreed on some techniques to try to make it better. We tried them out. People tried to help me. Some things were better, most stayed the same. What it came down to was not feeling fulfilled.
I tried to convince myself I could just stick it out, push through it and make the best of it. But I finally realized that what this job was doing to me was going beyond my work life. It wasn’t just making me unhappy 40 hours a week (and it wasn’t always the full 40 hours). It was affecting every aspect of my life, and forcing me to sink into a deep depression that I had fought for years.
I was losing all the self-confidence I had worked so hard to gain three years ago. I was feeling useless. Unfulfilled. Underutilized. Undervalued. And when you feel like you are those things to other people, it’s hard not to feel that way about yourself.
After numerous events leading me to serious emotional breakdowns, I had a no-games soul-searching session with myself. I thought about what I want, what I need, how I need to and want to feel. I weighed the benefits of staying in this position versus the damage it might continue to do.
I made lists upon lists.
Let my head and my heart duke it out in a deathmatch.
My heart was telling me to quit, my head was telling me that was illogical. But why? Why is it illogical? If I’m unhappy, miserable at times, and it’s taking a toll on my emotional, mental and physical well-being, then why is it illogical to stop it? True, I wouldn’t have anything lined up. True, I’d be out of an income and probably floundering for a while. True, I might have to move back home to live with my parents again. If it’s not killing me, why not stick it out and at least have a steady income if nothing else?
Because it was killing me. It was killing my passion. Killing my excitement for life. Killing my self-esteem. Killing my dreams. I was at the point where I couldn’t even see my dream anymore. I couldn’t even fathom how to get there. Sticking out this position until the end of my three-year fellowship? No, I couldn’t have done it. Sticking it out another six months? Nope, couldn’t really justify that either.
And so, today is my last day at my job.
Tomorrow morning, I am a free woman.
An unemployed woman, but a free woman for sure. And a million times happier than I have been in more than a year.
I’m 23. I’m single. I have no kids. I have no mortgage. I have nobody depending on me but ME. This is the one time in my life when I can take this risk. I can jump without looking. I can go after my dream with all my heart. I can work full-time to make the connections I need to make. I can freelance. I can do whatever I want.
I feel free. I feel light. I feel happy. I feel like me again.
I’m starting out by freelancing, with one job already lined up and several others potentially in the works. I’ll work my way to bigger projects as I get more experience. That said, if you know anyone who may be able to help me with freelancing opportunities or with getting into the travel writing business, please, please, PLEASE let me know. Just for advice, for job opportunities, for some commiserating sessions, anything works. I would be eternally grateful. And might send you cookies or brownies or other baked goods of your choosing. 🙂