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.
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