I totally just quit my job, and it is one of the smartest decisions I’ve ever made
Once upon a time, I had a job. I was working as a writer for a big media company. At first, I loved it. I was working in my field, and everyone told me how lucky I was. Then, things got messy: the company changed drastically and added a pool of freelance writers who were making more money than me. I felt so devalued that it took a huge toll on my ego. I was commuting, working a full 40 hour work week, pouring my heart and soul into the job with every word I typed – and I got nothing in return.
Then, a position came up at another division of the company. It was in the town next to mine, but it was not in my field. I applied for the job anyway — and I got it! At first, I was on cloud nine: before I started this job, my boyfriend had proposed to me and I began my new position with stars in my eyes. My new manager was awesome, I could go home for lunch and chill with my dogs, and the people in the office were great. But once again, big changes happened, and I felt even more devalued at this job.
I was starting to think that I was cursed. No job could make me happy.
No job could quench this insatiable appetite for something more -- what that “more was, I wasn’t exactly sure. I always fantasized about starting my own writing and graphic design business, but I knew that it was simply a pipe dream. I was raised to go to work, make money, and pay my bills – whether I liked the job or not.
Do I even have a calling?
Even with this internal conflict, I knew the job was not for me and I had to find something else. I was so desperate to get out of that place that I sent out hundreds of applications and even went on job interviews. Yet, nothing really felt appealing.
And that was starting to scare the crap out of me.
Thoughts constantly circled in my mind: “Am I just one of those entitled millennials?” “Why can’t I find the right job?” And the big one: “Do I even have a calling?” Eventually, and out of sheer desperation, I accepted a job at a real estate company. Once again, I was back to surviving a long commute, working 9-5, getting home late — I started to not recognize myself.
My husband noticed this change in me, and that scared me even more.
My conscience literally could not shut up.
On my fourth day at the real estate company, something crazy and freaky-deaky happened to me: it felt like I became paralyzed. Not literally paralyzed, but something inside me just would not let me work.
Let me preface this: I have been a straight-laced woman my entire life. I complete assignments on time. I’m never late for work. I am programmed with a hard-working spirit inherited from my parents. So this paralysis was absolutely insane for me; I literally could not work.
I sat in front of my laptop for a full four hours, and I could not do anything. Every time I tried to start a work task, this voice in my head (I am going to assume it was my conscience because I’m not entirely crazy) became so loud that I couldn’t ignore it. It told me: “Stop. This is not what you are meant to be doing.” Holy crap-balls, Batman.
My inner voice had literally had enough of me going from one crappy job to another. Enough was enough, and I had to do something about it.
I texted my husband and a very close friend of mine, telling them what was happening to me. Their advice was unanimous: Quit this job and start your own business. There was no point in being unhappy anymore. I worked for companies for a decade and was tired of feeling so not myself. It was time for a big change.
When my new boss came in that afternoon, I poured my heart out to her. I cried. I told her how bad I felt, but that I could not ignore who I am anymore. She understood, gave me a hug, told me to take the rest of the week off, and to call her on the weekend — giving me time to think my decision over.
When I got into my car to drive home, I was so overjoyed. My inner self was sparkling like a crazy glittery unicorn at a disco. I could not stop smiling. I made my decision not to go back, right then and there.
My life after quitting.
I came home to a quiet house, feeling liberated and scared out of my mind all at the same time. My husband and I have a mortgage and many, many bills to pay. I even still have student loans. That hardworking spirit from my parents started to creep up on me, and I felt kind of guilty.
On the other hand, I was a crazy awesome rock star. I had all the time in the world to work on my own creative projects. I no longer had to hide in my closet of creativity, sneaking in a blog post here, hiding a sketch under my pile of work there – I could be myself out in the open, and it was awesome!
What I didn’t expect after quitting my job is the flood of amazing opportunities that have opened themselves up to me.
I got a call from a publisher about the children’s book I’m working on. I received freelance writing gigs. I have interest from potential customers, and I have the time to do the things that really make me shine. I may not be making the big bucks (yet!), but I finally feel good about myself, proud of the work I do, and — arguably the best part – I get to take puppy breaks at work!
One of the most difficult things I had to do after making my decision was face my parents. I knew that they would be disappointed in me for making this crazy-big-scary decision. I eventually told my mom, and she had tears in her eyes. Not disappointed tears, but proud tears. She was so happy that I was brave enough to do this – finally – after talking forever about my dream of having my own business.
I still haven’t told everyone about what I am doing. I’m still kind of scared to say it, because some people look down on others who don’t have a traditional job. They might call it laziness or an inflated ego – I call it courage.
It’s the courage to be true to yourself and to focus on what makes you truly happy. It takes a lot of faith and a lot of work, but there’s something amazing that happens once you quit your crappy job to follow your dream: Doors that used to feel so locked up unexpectedly begin to open. Grab that handle, feel the light on your face, and go forward to finally meet your inner glittery awesome self!
Melissa Daniels is a freelance writer/graphic designer who took the plunge into self-employment. She is a crazy dog lady, happy wife, reader of books, wreath making enthusiast, tea drinker, pretty scarf wearer, sea glass hunter, long walk walker, and lover of all things bright and beautiful! Melissa is also the creator of www.theeasycook.com, where she creates simple recipes with a dash of humor. You can see more of her work here.