About five months ago I quit my full-time job.
It was the fourth job that I had left within a four year period. I had battled over the decision for many months, knowing very well that I could be making a very poor decision. After all, leaving four jobs in a row after less than a year at each was not exactly what dream resumes are made of. It was becoming harder and harder for me to justify to potential employers my reasons for leaving each individual role; “discovering more about yourself” doesn’t exactly qualify as a legitimate experience.
It was a scary realization but I knew that I had to give it one more shot. Deep down, I still truly believed that the right situation was out there waiting for me… I just had to make it happen.
The beauty of having such a wide array of work experience in my early 20’s was that I gained a lot of valuable insight into what attracted me to something as well as what pushed me away. This type of self-awareness is something that many people never find; I was lucky enough to have discovered it early on in my life. When I decided to take this final leap, I did it confidently knowing what I wanted to get out of it.
You see, the moment that I began to understand what I valued in my life, there was no turning back. I could no longer pretend that my current job fulfilled me in any way. When I took the time to sit back and think about my week, I was horrified that I was spending 50+ hours every week at work (this includes the time spent in the car driving back and forth). I had psychologically trapped myself, convinced that I needed to continue to keep “sucking it up” in order to pay the mortgage for a home that I was only spending less than 50% of my time in.
How ass-backward is that!? [Excuse my language, mom.] There had to be a better way. I soon began imagining ways that I could work less and enjoy the things that I valued in my life more…
Now before you peg me as one of those “lazy, entitled millennials” hear me out. I actually do enjoy working. I see it as the hobby I never had. I like having a purpose – it feels good to have structure and routine during my days… and obviously having money is kind of important.
But when it comes to my highest values, my career isn’t high on the list. Maybe one day it will be but for where I am right now, working was just a necessity. Realizing that was the moment I knew that it was time for me to re-prioritize my life.
And in a society where everyone’s first question is always “what are you doing for work these days?” I knew that the decision that I was making was not going to be easy for others to understand. People just don’t want to hear someone openly admit that they aren’t motivated by a career path. They don’t know how to respond, as if you have just admitted that you are throwing in the towel on life.
Regardless, I had made my decision and was going to stick with it. I knew it would take time for me to accept the judgment of others but that would be well worth the reward: more time spent focusing on my highest values.
Fast forward to today, I am home on a random Tuesday afternoon sitting in the office at my house surrounded by my dogs, writing for my personal blog. And guess what? My world hasn’t imploded. In fact, my world has become really fucking great. My stress levels are way down, I have many more hours in my week that I can spend doing whatever I choose, I am less anxious and sleeping way better….overall my quality of life has improved greatly. I have everything that I want or need right now.
It has definitely required some trial and error (learning two new part-time jobs at the same time was challenging to say the least) but anything that is worth having takes work. At the end of the day, I am incredibly proud of myself for having the courage to take the risk and follow my own path. In my opinion, there is no greater satisfaction in life than finding happiness by staying true to yourself.
I want to end this post by encouraging you all to stop just passively asking people “what are you doing for work these days?”. Be open-minded and recognize that not every person is defined by what their current job is. Be willing to initiate more meaningful conversations about other values in their life. It is so important to learn more about what brings true happiness to the people around you because those are the types of things that will create deeper relationships. We each have our own unique values that make us who we are and help us design our own version of a fulfilled life… every single one beautiful in its own way.