i quit my job today

I walked into her office after nervously pacing around my desk for ten minutes, and said, my voice shaking, “I’ve been here for two years this month. And I think it’s time for me to move on.”

She was incredibly nice about it, which surprised me. I told her I have to try to pursue work I’m passionate about. Before I have kids and a mortgage, I have to give myself this chance. We laughed about how much she wishes she didn’t have to come to work every day either, how she wants to be home with her daughter.

We’re all just people.

She said, I absolutely think you should do what makes you happy, follow your passion. She also said, If I thought you were making a huge mistake, I’d tell you. And I don’t want to see you go, I love having you here. But I know this isn’t the job for you. I know you’re not fulfilled by it. I’m happy for you.

It was so validating to hear her say those things. It was almost like a dream. I underestimated her, and I will let that be a lesson to me.

So, why did I do it today?

Here’s an excerpt from something I wrote yesterday:

The paperwork piles up and I stare off into space pretending it doesn’t matter. I am distracted by my own boredom every thirty seconds. I am completely unchallenged. Even if I were doing something “interesting” here, I’m not sure I’d be able to stand it. It makes me wonder if I have A.D.D. or a bad work ethic. In reality, I just don’t belong here.

There was no big moment, no final straw that led to this decision. Actually, that’s not entirely true. I wrote a long annoying blog entry draft last week about whether or not I should quit now or quit in January (after we get a small holiday bonus). I reread it after I wrote it and I knew I couldn’t post it. Because I was just sick of hearing myself talk about it. I thought, This is not the kind of problem I want to have. This is not going to help anyone else on their journey. This is just spinning wheels. This is avoiding taking a risk. This is a waste of my time. I’m not wasting any more time. I’m going to pursue work I’m passionate about and that’s all there is to it. No amount of waiting-until- January is going to improve my life.

That’s basically the long and the short of it. I don’t hate this job so much that I would be devastated by another four months of it. In fact, in many ways, another four months would be substantially easier. But there’s no reason to avoid the inevitable. I’ve made the choice, I’ve laid the foundation. It’s time to take action. Waiting until January would have been a stall tactic.

My friend Blue quit her table-waiting job last month and she’s given herself the next 30 days to pursue work she’s passionate about. That specific phrase, “to pursue work I’m passionate about,” has gotten stuck in my head since she started talking about it. I like it because it’s broad enough to include anything that I love, but specific enough to paint the right picture. I quit my job today with that phrase in my mind. (Blue posted three blog entries in the days following her last day as a waitress. And reading them all together was another thing that helped me click into why I should do this now and not wait around. You can find them here, here and here.)

Practically speaking? I don’t have a specific plan. Whoa! I know. It’s a new way of thinking for me, but I’m trying it on for size.

I dropped out of college when I was 20 because I was a mess in every conceivable fashion. I got back into college when I was 22 and I graduated a year later, when I was 23. It was a huge accomplishment that I finished my degree despite all the obstacles. But when I graduated, my situation was still very different from that of my classmates. I was already working full time, and had been for years. I was already paying my own rent and living alone. And I’d already been through what felt like a lifetime of adult experiences, stuff that no one else I knew had been through at my age. So when school ended for me I didn’t have that “world is my oyster” feeling I imagined people had when they graduated college. My post-college plans had already been decided for me by the bad choices I’d made years before, the mistakes I was still cleaning up, the money I owed, the valley of depression and weight gain out of which I was just barely finishing my climb.

Now I am unburdened by my past mistakes, financially, emotionally and physically, and I’m standing at the beginning of what’s possible, with a clean slate and so many options in front of me. The world finally is my oyster.

My last day here will be sometime during the last week of September middle of October. I have a little bit of money saved up (not much, though!!) so once I leave this job, I’m going to pursue work I’m passionate about and practice trusting that the money will come. I’m not going to focus too heavily on my bank account (and what’s in it or not in it). I am a responsible person and my bills will get paid. It’s a bit unorthodox, this way of thinking. It’s certainly new to me and it might sound like madness to the more practical of you, but this is the perfect time for me to try it on for size.

I am, however, going to set some specific goals, goals related to freelancing writing, blogging, the bakery, and using the value that is my weight loss expertise to help other people. And after those goals are set, I’m going to see what happens. I’ll be sure to keep you updated as it unfolds.

One afternoon last summer, Kevin and I were swimming at the local pool. I had been at this job for almost a year at the time. I knew I wasn’t ready to quit any time soon, I knew I had to plan and prepare and lay some foundation for myself first. And I also didn’t have any idea what I wanted to do once I did quit. I just knew it wasn’t my destiny to work in an office. We stared up at the blue summer sky and splashed our feet in the water, and I said to Kevin, “No matter what I end up doing, no matter what direction I choose, my only commitment to myself is that I will quit this job before I turn 29. That’s a year and a half from now. So I have plenty of time to figure it out.”

I turn 29 in two months. Here we go.

You might also like these related posts:

how i’m feeling: the day after

10 ways to save for a desk job escape

change: good or bad?

follow the path

life is too short to skip dessert

how we’ve changed

13 things i’ve learned so far

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35 thoughts on “i quit my job today

  1. Congrats to YOU! I’ve never posted here before but I’ve read your blogs on and off for a couple of years.

    I left uber boring secretarial work 17 years ago (I can’t believe it was that long ago! – I was 27) for what was then an experiment in graduate school (part time, unfunded) – since I’m a nerd and love school it was following my dream and the best decision I could have ever made. A long and very windy road later through much more school, some loans, and a few moves I’m a tenured professor with a great, creative job and a very comfortable, flexible life. Hurray for big risks that = positive change!

  2. I’ve been hooked on your blog for a while now thanks to my mom and to your wonderful cake bites. When I saw the title of the post I totally got chills! You did it! I was so excited to read how it happened, and I’m so excited to see what follows for you. You’re inspiring :-)!!!

  3. I can’t wait to read all about this new chapter in your life!..all your new stories of “how Jen pursues the work that she is truly passionate about”. Extremely happy for you!!!

  4. YES, Jen! I love how your boss’ response was so encouraging and honest and supportive. You must feel incredible. Makes me want to quit my job, get your old job, and then quit that job, so I can know what it feels like.

    So happy for you, Jen.

  5. Yay! Congratulations, Jenny Bear!

    This is huge. As you know, I just recently lost my job too (I didn’t quit, but I had been similarly bored and unchallenged, so I might as well have). I am trying to turn this into an opportunity to find something I care about too.

    Let’s you, me and Blue have a “nervously but excitedly unemployed” toast at the bar tonight.

  6. Eeeeek! Thanks everyone for all your support and encouragement! I’m so excited and eager to see what’s in store. I’ve been feeling very free for the last 24 hours. If that’s any indication, I think this is going to be a great adventure.

    Thanks, Heather, for the link. I really appreciate it. I will need all the tips and referrals I can get in the coming months.

    And yes, Jacob. Let’s toast tonight!

    Thanks again, everyone. All your comments and well-wishes have had me grinning and feeling grateful.

  7. Pingback: how i’m feeling: the day after « follow my bliss

  8. I already commented on FB, but wanted to leave one here too. Woohoo! So proud of you Jen. Finding something you are passionate about is key. I love to meet people that love their job. My husband loves his job. He never complains, loves the challenges he faces every day, has maybe missed 2-3 days of work in the past 7 years…to find that bliss…I know it’s out there for you. Congrats for taking the chance to find it!

  9. Pingback: how we’ve changed « follow my bliss

  10. I just quit my job today, too. I came across your post on google…I wish my boss said the things yours said. Reinforces that I was NOT in the right place for the last 2 years. It got to a point where I had to ask “how could they expect me not to quit?”

    Work that was as challengeless as it was passionateless.

    loved your post. thanks very much for sharing it.

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  15. hello! i take finding your blog on the wordpress landing page to be another sign the universe has been throwing my way this week. two days ago, i decided where i am is not where i should be. please keep us posted on how freelancing turns out for you.

    • Hi Lou, I’m happy to be a sign from the universe for you. I’ve had lots of little signs and thumbs up along the way so far, and it’s made me certain that this was the right decision. Good luck to you!

  16. I know this is an older post but I want you to know when I started reading blog this line ” I am distracted by my own boredom every thirty seconds” resonated me with me so deeply. So happy my “freedom” date is soon! :)

  17. Congrats..I plan to quit before my 29th b-day too (in 3 months). Can you give us a 6 month update? Would to know how things are going since your departure.

  18. Pingback: happiness is a state of mind « follow my bliss

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  20. Just yesterday I made the decision to quit my job as a waitress to dive into the deep unknown and take a risk on floating on self-faith. Your post was absolutely what I needed to read this morning. I salute (and congratulate) you! Thanks for sharing your courage, and story. :)

  21. Pingback: Quit My Job » Quit Your Job Today

  22. Hey Jen. I know this post is old, but I just wanted to let you know I just recently quit my job, one that made me completely miserable. Before I did it, I read article after article on why to quit or why to not quit your job without a plan. Yours stuck out to me and actually helped me make my decision. Just wanted to say thanks and let you know how interesting I found your story.

    Devon

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