the last day

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This post has been over a year in the making.

Today’s the day. The big day. The last day at my desk job. I’ve anticipated this day more than I’ve anticipated my birthday this year. (And I love birthdays.)

But I’m feeling some unexpected things!

I’m feeling scared.

Now, I consider myself a brave young lady. I’ve been through some complicated, grown up stuff in my life, all of which has taught me to be courageous in the face of almost anything. So I’m shocked, frankly, to feel scared today.

Maybe scared is the wrong word. Maybe I’m anxious. Anticipating. Questioning. Feeling nervous.

A million questions have been running through my mind in the last 48 hours: Was this the right decision? Is this the right timing? Am I going to miss my coworkers? I only really enjoy the company of a few of them! Is that only because of my attitude? Am I going to miss the busy work? Maybe it’s good for me to have busy work! How am I going to KNOW what to DO?! Why didn’t I figure it out more specifically? What progress have I made in the last year that makes today a more logical day to quit than this day last year? Why didn’t I stay on through the holidays? What if I end up in another office job? NO. THAT CAN’T HAPPEN.

Madness. I know. And I also know that these feelings of mine will shift, change and grow and in the next few weeks, days, and even hours. So I’m not genuinely worried that I’ve made a terrible mistake.

But change can be very scary.

I’ve said before that I didn’t start writing this blog to share only the wonderful, exciting parts of making a huge life change. I started this blog to share the journey. And journeys are, by their very nature, all over the map. So here we are.

Earlier this week, I was very fortunate to have so many of you warmly receive my article about Kath Younger from Kath Eats Real Food. And after I posted it, I ended up “meeting” a few insightful people who I may not have otherwise met, including a popular blogger named Angela, who writes a beautiful, inspiring blog called Oh She Glows. Oh She Glows is about Angela’s journey to pursue a lifelong dream of starting her own healthy bakery and also about her passion for healthy living. I discovered her lovely blog just in time.

Today, she’s written a post that is subtitled “Knowing Yourself Is The Beginning of All Wisdom,” which is a quote that her mother had inscribed on the outside of a beautiful time capsule she gave to Angela as a graduation present. Inside the gorgeous wooden box, there were pictures, notes and a letter from her mother, all about how important it is to stay true to yourself and to live a life that fulfills you, while never taking for granted the simple joys of being human. It was a lovely gift from her mother and I’m so glad Angela shared it today.

Near the end of today’s post, Angela writes:

When I first read (the letter from my mom), I didn’t really know how to apply it to my current situation. I felt stuck in a job where I was unhappy and I felt like I was destined to do work that I didn’t really enjoy. Perhaps, this letter planted the seed for me though.

Reading it over last night, everything sort of clicked for me.

Over the past 8 months, I have learned these lessons. I have learned that money doesn’t bring happiness and it sure as hell won’t give you self-esteem or character. I have learned that being true to myself is possibly one of the most beneficial things that I could ever achieve. I have learned that if you do something you love and are passionate about, the money will eventually follow.

She then goes on to describe how she used to be a guarded person, because she felt that showing her true, sensitive side was discouraged by other people, especially in a workplace atmosphere. She explains that she finally felt free when she decided to take her walls down, let herself be vulnerable and use her strengths and abilities to her advantage, instead of hiding them. She says:

I now believe that one of the keys to pursuing your dreams is to let go of all those walls. Stop hiding who you are because society is telling you to be someone who you are not. Each and every one of us has some unique ability to share with others. A way that we can contribute and feel that our purpose for life is fulfilled.

This was exactly what I needed to read this morning. In a rush, the reason I decided long ago to leave this job and find a lifestyle and a career more suitable to who I am came flooding back to me.

Sure, I could work at this company for years, for the rest of my life if I wanted to. And I’d be financially comfortable, I’d have health insurance and I’d take my two weeks of vacation every year, chat with my coworkers from time to time, and immerse myself in my hobbies during my free time. And there is nothing wrong with that path. That might be the perfect life for someone. It sounds quite content, in many respects.

It just doesn’t appeal to me, personally. I hate sitting in one place all day, I like to be creative, to be innovative, to have new experiences all the time, to stretch myself and grow and learn and change. And I want my career, where I spend the bulk of my waking hours, to reflect those interests. Unfortunately, this job, and others like it, can’t offer me that. Angela wrote, “Stop hiding who you are because society is telling you to be someone you are not.”

Thank you for writing that post today, Angela. It helped me shake myself out of my nervous place.

I decided long ago to embrace that I’m not meant to be an office worker. It might offend some people. It might not be the easiest thing I’ve ever done. It might not be the most financially safe thing I’ve ever done.

But the choice to embrace precisely who I am is the greatest gift I could give myself right now. Nothing else in this world will make me happier than being myself. That is one thing I know for sure. Knowing that, and being reminded of it by Angela’s post, has taken some of my fear away this morning.

And lastly, as if there aren’t enough good vibes flowing around me already today, my darling boyfriend just sent me an amazing email, one that he typed on his blackberry no less, probably while sitting in a busy bagel shop. What a guy. He’s honestly the best guy I know. He wrote:

I love you and am inspired by you, please remind yourself of how many
others you’ve inspired and enjoy this day you’ve given yourself. You
took action in September when you quit, you’re taking action today by
committing to it being your last day and in the coming weeks you will
be taking daily action to produce the working life that you desire. Be
proud, be strong and own it, baby!

I’m so lucky to have him.

Perhaps all my entries leading up to today, and today’s entry, and the big night out with margaritas, Mexican food and great friends that’s happening tonight (YES!), is all together too much fanfare for quitting one’s dumb job. But it’s my fanfare. And I’m so blessed to get to have this awesome experience.

Thank you all for your insight and encouragement. Because of the incredible support I’ve received from all of you through this blog, and in my real life, one of the goals I set out to achieve when I started follow my bliss almost a year ago has been achieved today. And this is only just beginning! Stay tuned to see what happens next. Here we go!

YAAAY!!

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18 thoughts on “the last day

  1. woo hoo!

    yes, it can be really scary to be confronted with the prospect of getting what you want (and maybe people don’t talk about that enough), but today is an exciting day, I hope you get to have fun and celebrate.

    h.x

  2. Thinking of you today Jen!

    Cheers to the rest of your life. Have a great day and do something just for you.

    I love your blog…just discovered it about a week ago and I am hooked. Thanks for your insight and inspiration.

  3. Celebrate today! You’ve made a commitment to finding a life that makes you truly happy & taking the risks to make it happen; something few people ever do. Congratulations!

  4. I once worked the same job for 16 years. The company had excellent pay and benefits but demanded a lot in return. Things like being available 24/7 and having a different schedule every single week. One week I’d be working #1 shifts, the next week #2’s, etc. Sometimes they would schedule you for a #2 followed by a #1 in the same week. (That means you’d get off work at one or two in the morning and have to be back at work by 6:00 AM.) And there was absolutely no reason for doing it that way except that they didn’t want to make the effort to schedule more compassionately. And if you went on vacation you had to be within 24/7 “pager range” in case they needed you for anything at all.

    I mostly liked my job but I was a miserable employee due to the pound of flesh that they exacted in exchange for the privilege of working there.

    One day I was working a #1 shift. A 6:00 AM start. Me and the other #1 guy were told we had to go to an “important” meeting at 5:00 PM. We tried to explain that guaranteed us a 12 hour day but they didn’t care because the meeting was so “important.”

    At 5:00 PM the meeting started. First order of business was birthday cake for one of our peers. Then our managers spent time reading us some memos that had already been distributed. Yes, they literally sat there and read us memos, like we were in kindergarten, word for word. That was it. I understood that some of the team didn’t read their memos but I was one that did.

    Naturally those of us on the 6:00 AM shift were enraged. The company, once again, had forced us to submit, to lay on the ground and show our necks and give them the option of ripping our throats out if they chose to do so. That was the only point of the exercise. It was an alpha-dog type of thing.

    I had finally reached my breaking point. I went right to my desk and whipped out a letter of resignation and it was on my manager’s desk the next morning.

    The point of this story is about how hard it was to leave. The 16 years had really done a number on my head. During the next 30 days I cried and second-guessed my decision to leave many times. Walking away from that job turned out to be one of the hardest things I’d ever done. I have to give credit to my wife who supported me 100 percent and helped me stay strong. At the end, I wavered, but when they called me in to a meeting on the 29th day and made an “offer” to get me to stay, they basically gave me all the fortitude I needed to see it through. Their “offer” was letting me keep my job at my current rate of pay and pretend I’d never resigned. Um, thank you, but no!

    So now I’m out living life on the other side! Be glad you are setting out on a new path and won’t be there 16 years then have to go through something like this.

    I’ll be eagerly following your blog to see where your journey takes you next!

    • Thank you for this comment! It’s amazing the things we will put up with before we finally choose OURSELVES over someone else’s idea of how our lives should be. Good for you for finding the strength to leave that mess. I’m happy that you’ve made it to the “other side.” Thanks for your sharing your story! It’s inspiring.

  5. I had a similiar experience this year when I was laid off. First time in my adult life being out of work. I just had a couple of rules to keep me on the right track:
    1. Wake up on time
    2. No daytime TV
    3. Have a to-do list each morning – finish what you can
    Doing these things kept me sane, and a little productive too. Keep your focus on what you want to accomplish (even if one thing is figuring that out), and you’ll stay sane and get where you want to go. Keep Posting!

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