When I was a kid, I was poor. People often don’t understand exactly the depth of what I mean when I say that, so let me clarify: VERY poor. Homeless poor. No utilities poor. In shelters poor. I was small, and helpless to do anything about it, ruled by the adults in my life. More than once, we were evicted, and my mother hid it from me because she “knew I would be upset”. SO–when I got older, I went to college (the first in my line to do so), and EVERYTHING I DID at that point was with money and income in mind. I took all business classes. Did internships. I never partied, never went to a bar, never did a crawl of any kind. I got a job before I graduated, and started work immediately after graduation.
I worked for the government, and I made good money. But the work was boring. There was no room for growth. The culture was crazy toxic. And most of all, I wasn’t happy. I got to travel and bit, and I would come home and dream about the time that I wouldn’t be at that job.
But you know, I never DID anything. I made all these plans, but it would always be: “I’ll leave when I get something new”, “I’ll go when I have ‘X’ amount saved”, “I’ll go after overtime ends”, and at some point, I realized that I had been saying I was going to leave for 5+ years. 5 years I had been saying, but not doing. All this planning with nothing to show for it, and something needed to change. When I began to talk about it more heavily again, something definitely felt different. Before a trip in March, my employer told me that I couldn’t take a vacation that I had already planned and paid for, and it was like a switch just flipped. So I made my last day the day before my vacation. After all that, after FIVE YEARS, I just did it in the span of a day.
I’m about to move, so I’ve mostly been looking for work in my new city, meaning that I have a ton of time to work on my side projects, and more importantly to take some breaths and get back to enjoying my life.
I thoroughly believe that eventually, everyone has to make a choice about their lives. For some people, my old job would work beautifully for them! Some people do great with solid incomes and stability and like not having to think much about their work. Some people, need work that motivates them, excites them, encourages their creativity. It turned out, for me, that money was not enough of a motivating factor–something that was a struggle to accept, in direct contradiction to my upbringing. I need to find stability, but flexibility, I think. The search begins.
After my issues here I’ve come up with a small list–these are mostly my own reasons, but maybe they’ll help somebody else who’s thinking through something similar!
When you need to quit your job:
- You’re bored.
You’re not doing anything that excites you. You don’t look forward to going to work. You go in every day and leave like a zombie, and consider the rest of your life only the times outside of work. For someplace the average person spends about 1/3 of their life in, shouldn’t it be a PART of your life?
- You have different, unconnected goals.
If your goal is to become a doctor, working at Starbucks for 7 years isn’t really helping you much, is it? Identify your goals? Are you working your way towards them? If not, a career change may be in order.
- You’re not growing.
If you’ve done the same thing over and over again for years and years with no opportunities for learning, you may want to think about a change. As far as I’m concerned, lack of growth is an early death.
- You actively dread going in for any reason.
I mean it: ANY REASON. The culture is toxic. The boss treats you terribly. You hate the work. Whatever the reason, if you actually hate going in, I think people should really closely evaluate their positions. What can you change? It may be your job itself.
It’s scary. Honestly, the more I thought about it in real terms, the more terrified I became. Jumping without knowing if something will catch you…it takes a lot of deep breaths. But I truly believe that everything good is on the other side of that fear.
Did anybody make any big changes? How did they turn out? xo