QUITTING YOUR JOB WILL MAKE YOU HAPPIER, NOT HAPPY
We're in the age of the "feel good" - a plethora of feel good food, books, guidelines, etc. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, hell even this is somewhat of a reflective yet prescriptive post. I'm just saying everyone is different. People are motivated by different factors such as money, passion, survival, etc. During the last few years, I've discovered what motivates me. And that has complicated many of my relationships with jobs, in particular. I've seen quite a few desks, cubicles, and ID badges in my professional career thus far. However, I've always transferred from one job to another for a better opportunity. I've never technically "quit" a job, until now.
My most recent job seemed to be perfect. I finally found a place to settle in and grow into my career after hopping from job to job post-graduation. I figured I could chill there for three years while building my resume until I maxed out of my promotions, then go somewhere else, collect my checks and live my "best life." Yep, that was the plan. Ideal right? It worked for about six months. I started getting that 'why am I here' feeling again. Tragic. As my luck would have it, multiple factors complicated my job and at about eleven months in, that 'why am I here' feeling swiftly turned into that 'I hate this shit' feeling. It made waking up and going to work extremely difficult and I only had to go in the office three times a week. Sometimes I would wake up, take my shower, get dressed, then call out sick because my heart and head felt heavy as bricks, if that makes sense. Most mornings, I had to drink to get me out the door without crying. I did enough to fly under the radar without major red flags but not enough to care about the quality or timeliness of my work. I was a ticking time bomb.
I ultimately woke up one day and decided that I had to quit - I couldn't live like this. I was 26 and overwhelmed. My depression and anxiety were running wild. I didn't know when or what I would do afterwards, but I knew I couldn't stay there. At this time, I was seeing a therapist and she agreed/pledged to help me work through an exit strategy that worked for me. Since my lease was ending in a couple months, I asked my mom if I could move back home because I was quitting my job with or without their support. I had to make it clear to her and myself that even if I couldn't move back home and had to find another apartment, I was still leaving that job! Luckily for me, my parents always had a room at their house waiting for me and never wanted to feel like I couldn't live there. That's privilege, I can admit. In fact, my parents, best friends, and boyfriend at the time were on board with me leaving my job (eventually), it was just a matter of how, when, and the follow-up. I really could never thank all of them enough! So I moved into my parents house and less than two months later, on March 9th, 2018, I quit my job - much sooner than anyone expected lol. I left on a positive note with my boss' and coworkers-turned-friends' support, as well. It was honestly the best day/night ever!
So, fast forward to now, did quitting my job make me happy? Eh. Initially, I was on cloud 9 for the first few weeks because I was finally free. At the moment, I wouldn't consider myself happy, but I definitely wouldn't consider myself sad either. I'm at a weird stage in my life that I'm finally comfortable with sharing with others - the "figuring things out" stage. I'm painting, freelance writing on and offline, pursing a few creative projects, and completely transitioning my career. I'm more intentional with how I look and handle the kind of work that I want to do. I'm taking a step back, letting things happen organically, and finding myself so I won't need to quit another job OR let anothe job affect my mental health. I have a clean slate, a fresh perspective, and a hell of a weight lifted off my shoulders. Whew! And in that, I can say quitting my job made me happier than what I was before. Quitting my job empowered me to take risks on myself, change my situation on my own accord, and let go of things that served me no purpose. I also found out that money doesn't motivate me. I need purpose in the work that I do. Money might get me to a job (can’t lie) but it will never be the reason that I stay at a job. I realized that both my time talents/skills are valuable and must be utilized. I stopped neglecting certain parts of myself just to stay afloat or within the scope of my resume. I chose me and, ironically, that was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I feel close to invincible now!
I realized that throughout my life, I had been molded for a particular job(s) and lifestyle that catered to other people's expectations of me and guaranteed financial benefits as a byproduct. Within this path, I would always be financially smart, safe, and stable but it would never be what I truly wanted. In fact, I never figured out what I wanted for a career that would make ME happy without considering the approval and validation from others. Of course that's no fault to anyone. Honestly, who wouldn't want their child/sister/friend to be set in life? A part of being an adult is defining your own expectations for who you are, what you want to be, and how you want to leave your mark. Well, that's what I've heard lol. But it makes sense! You have to live in your own truth and purpose.
Now at 27, I'm taking control of my life. Some say I shouldn't have quit my job until I found another one, make my job work for me, only leave after I've saved x amount of money, etc. I've read books, listened to podcasts, and even took a class on it. But for me, there was a defining moment that I had to leave because I knew if I didn't, I would've never left. It's that simple. Plus I had other resources that I could fall back on. So I set a date and followed through. Don't listen to anyone or thing other than your intuition. If you're not happy before you quit your job, you won't be happy afterwards. Period. Happiness is a state of being not a response. It's a constant journey in living with intentionality regardless of your circumstance. So do what works for you, your skills, your health, and circumstance. Figure out what happiness looks like for you, define what motivates you, and go from there. You can plan all you want but 9/10, it's not going to end up exactly as expected. Maybe I'm just altruistic, but I believe we're all strong beings fully capable of overcoming adversity. You're going to have highs and lows. But most importantly, you're going to be alright. You kinda have no choice but to come through in the end. Use your resources, have discipline, and trust the process. I know, I'm tired of hearing the latter too haha. Some days it's hard for me to do any of the three, but tomorrow comes with subtle hints that make life more manageable and lets me know I'm on the right track. So I'm good. I'm making it work and still here. No regrets! :)