This week I quit my job. It was a long time coming, and yet the decision still felt impulsive.
Last July I left my job in corporate banking to go to a smaller company as a marketing analyst; at the time I felt that this was the right decision for me. The commute was short, the job directly pertained to my college major, and a change would be good for enhancing my skills. After a few short months, I quickly came to realize that this job was not as good of a fit as a had initially thought. I didn’t feel valued, my motivation took a serious nosedive, and the corporate culture felt suffocating. I did what most people would do in this situation: I decided to wait it out. Surely things would get better, right? After all, I couldn’t quit this position less than a year after I started- that would be career suicide. On top of that, we had just purchased a house and got a dog, now was not the time to start another job search. So, I decided that indecision was the best course. Better to not rock the boat.
Fast forward a few months to the New Year. 2016 rolled in with a series of health problems. My anxiety was through the roof, I was barely sleeping, my stomach hurt constantly, I had unintentionally dropped 15 pounds in a month, and my skin was a disaster. Now was not the time to start a job hunt- I needed to focus on getting better. After several doctor’s appointments and a slew of tests, I was finally diagnosed with IBS. Through my own research, I came to discover that gut health and mental health are very closely linked- the constant seizing feeling that I had in my gut was the physical manifestation of my anxiety. Despite keeping up with my yoga practice and adding meditation to the mix, I still woke up every morning with a sense of dread over the impending workday, and I would still escape to the bathroom stall to cry during work. I now recognize that the symptoms I was feeling were my body’s not-so-subtle way of saying, “abort mission!”. When we continue to forge ahead on a path that is not meant for us, our minds and bodies find a way to rebel.
In late January I had an important conversation that would help shape the direction of my path. I saw on Facebook that an old friend was writing a book. I reached out to congratulate her, and came to find out that she recently had up and left her life to follow a dream to move across the country- she is now writing a memoir about it. I lamented about my own situation, about feeling stuck in my job, and having no idea what to do next. She said her motto is, “Jump and the net will appear.” Those words were both refreshing and terrifying to me, I have ALWAYS made decisions with my head and not my heart. I overthink every detail before I make a decision, and then second guess myself once I do. I felt like I was standing on the edge of plane, ready to jump, but too paralyzed by fear to actually do it. I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing with my life, I just knew that it wasn’t meant to be spent in a cubicle.
I talked about the situation constantly with my husband. I wasn’t my best self during this period, and the effects of my misery were slowly seeping into every aspect of our lives. I felt like a shell of my former self. He has always been my biggest supporter, and he encouraged me to find another path. Brendan is absolutely passionate about what he does- he is one of those people who loves his job so much that it doesn’t actually feel like ‘work’ to him. I wanted to have this same sense of fulfillment, so he asked me a series of thought-provoking questions about what I am passionate about, what my ideal day would look like, and what my dream job would be. I said that I wanted to be able to teach yoga, I wanted to have the time to write, I wanted to have a job that I could work on my terms- not on a 9-5 schedule. He made the keen observation that not one of my answers had to do with money. It was a total epiphany, I couldn’t believe that I had never recognized this before. Every job I had taken until that point had been for more money or a better title; of course I wasn’t happy in my job- I was working for all of the wrong reasons.
Around the same time, a recruiter reached out to me via LinkedIn for a job opportunity with a successful company. The money was great, the title was great, the benefits were great- but my gut told me that it wasn’t the right move for me. After several phone interviews, I said to Brendan, “I feel like I should be so excited about this job, and yet I’m not. I think that is pretty telling.” He wholeheartedly agreed. I recently read a quote that said, “Money is not adequate compensation for doing something you loathe.” I couldn’t have said it better myself; I had been putting a price tag on my personal happiness. I knew I would never be happy with a corporate job, I had to get out of the cubicle.
Shortly after that, I casually met up with my sister and brother-in-law for coffee. He mentioned that he was in a similar situation career-wise, and that he had decided to start his own marketing firm. He asked whether I was interested in joining him- the answer was a resounding “hell yes”. The opportunity couldn’t have come at a better time; I wanted to be able to learn new things and utilize my existing skill set- I just didn’t want to do it in a corporate environment. We started meeting on weekends to talk shop, I realized quickly that in order to have the time to devote to the company, I would need to quit my job at some point. I felt like a catch-22: I didn’t want to resign until our company was up and running, but I also felt like I didn’t have the time to devote to it while I was still working full-time.
I talked to Brendan about my end-game plan- he assured me that we would still be able to pay the bills, and that my happiness was more important than my paycheck. I had planned on waiting a few more weeks/months before quitting, and then this past Monday morning while sitting in a 3-hour meeting, I thought, “Why am I still doing this? Why not quit now?” I knew if I allowed myself a vague timeline of a few weeks/months, I would always find a way to procrastinate. Jump and the net will appear.
So here I sit, on vacation in Cabo, with the time to finally type out these rambling thoughts that had been pin-balling in my brain for the last 3 months. What is my plan? I’m not entirely sure. I’m on vacation until Tuesday, and my last official day at my job is 3/31; from there, I plan to fully immerse myself into working with my brother-in-law to get the business up and running. After years of mulling over it, I finally signed up for a yoga teacher training course in May. From there, I hope to teach a few classes a week. I also want to write (hence, this blog). I realize that I will probably need to find a part-time job as well. I’m excited and motivated and terrified all at once. For the first time in my life, I don’t have any idea what the future will look like- and I am learning to be ok with that. I am learning to enjoy the free fall, because after all, I am free.