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I Quit My Job Without A Back-Up Plan And It Felt Great

I usually only take risks impulsively, before I’ve thought it through and had time to talk to myself out of it. I jump in fast or I don’t jump at all. So when I put my notice in at work without a job lined up, though after much deliberation, I surprised a lot of people, including myself. I had been talking about it for years but nothing ever worked out as far as lining up another job, so I stayed, even though I hated it along with the drama that came with it.

My capacity for dealing with stress was stretched to the limit, and if I had given any real credence to my instincts and truly put my own well-being first, I would have quit a long, long time ago. Finally, as phobias began to form and panic attacks became a daily event, I decided that self-destructing was no longer an option. I knew I had enough money to get me by for about two months, long enough to hopefully find something else, so I began my goodbyes and started counting down the days.

Something happened when I got to that point where doing what was right for me outweighed the risk of stepping into the unknown: I started to get comfortable with not knowing. I didn’t tell anyone that I was putting my notice in until after I gave it, that way no one could talk me out of such an impractical move (as well-meaning family and friends are wont to do). As the two weeks crept by, I oscillated between fear and excitement. The fears were harsh, as in, I could be homeless in April in Minnesota, and let’s be honest, that’s like being homeless in the arctic but crueler. The excitement was amazing because anything was possible now. And soon, the voice of excitement began to drown out the voice of fear.

On my last day, still with no new job although I had been applying, it occurred to me that when I made my decision without knowing what the future held, I took a step in faith, and now my only constructive choice was to trust that everything would work out, that the universe would meet me where I am. I thought about what I really wanted in a career and in life. All the things I really want require risk and availability and a comfortableness with mystery.

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  • Seán Rob Oakley

    The title of this got me right away. I recently quit my job. I just couldn’t stand working retail anymore. It drove me insane besides the fact that I kept getting hurt from the job. I have had no back up plan and I lost all my medical insurance but I tell you life has never felt so great. With the support of family and friends I have been able to start up my own company and I’m in the middle of designing a video game. (Which is a childhood dream.) I don’t think I would have ever started to design a game if I was still working at said store. Sometimes you just have to launch out from where you’re at and just go for it.

    • Charlie Wyatt

      Good luck with your game development! Having taken a few classes about design and development, I know that it’s gonna be challenging, but personally rewarding as well.

  • Andrea Wattelet Weinfurt

    Yep, I quit my writing job to go freelance and I haven’t looked back in the 10 months since. It’s been scary…not having benefits is hard…but totally worth it. Being able to have a flexible schedule and rejuvenate when I need to means I’m more productive and definitely more positive. You go, Sean Rob Oakley! “Going for it” builds confidence, character, and for me, a world less chaotic.

  • Ashley Maffioli

    I wish I could do this. I’ve been miserable for a year and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. Maybe one day I’ll be that brave and just jump.

  • Kristina Ward

    I once had to quit a job I hated because I suffered a cycling accident which meant I couldn’t cycle for a while (the job included cycling to different neighbourhoods each week)… With so much free time and mental space, I could focus on applying to jobs that I actually wanted, and within two months I had landed a great paid internship which gave me some useful transferable skills.

  • Meghan Morris

    Great timing on this–I’m moving cross country, right after graduating with my Master’s… and no jobs lined up. My poor family is terrified for me, but it’s fantastic to see that I’m not alone in dealing with this. Different circumstances, but same hopes!

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