a perfectly good job

This morning while cleaning out some old stuff on my computer I found something I wrote last year after I quit my job. There were about six weeks between the day I told my boss I was quitting and the day I finally walked out of there for good, which was just long enough to make me a little crazy.

Even though I’d been planning my escape for months, those six weeks of in-between time gave me plenty of opportunity to reevaluate my decision and reconsider my motivation. It was confusing – once I finally had an end-date on the horizon the job became so much more bearable that I almost enjoyed it. I knew I still wanted to quit, but I couldn’t help but wonder if I was giving up a perfectly good job. I wrote:

It’s not a matter of this job being so awful. I grew out of that a while ago. It’s a matter of it being too easy to stay. It’s a matter of it being a “perfectly good job.”

It’s not challenging. And I don’t have to move around too much. And I can call in sick from time to time. And if I surf the internet for a whole day, or for whole days, I don’t get in trouble. The people are mostly nice and sometimes we get free lunch and I can wear casual clothes and go to the gym on my lunch breaks. So why am I quitting?

I’m quitting because staying might lull me into complacency for the rest of my life. I refuse to be 30 and have a job that I don’t care about. I want to have a career that I love. I want a big, dreamy, crazy, fun, exciting, suitable-for-me career.

I’m not quitting because I hate it, or because it’s torture, or because it’s sucking my soul – it’s really not. I’m quitting because if I don’t leave now, I might stay forever. And that’s not good enough.

I was right. It was a good job, but it wasn’t good enough. As I’ve said dozens of times in the past year, what I’m doing now isn’t perfect either, but it’s so much more ME. I’m more professionally fulfilled than I’ve ever been. Best of all, I’ll never have to wonder what-if…because I’m finding out.


10 thoughts on “a perfectly good job

  1. Very well said, Jen. “Good enough” is rarely good enough. The job I left was more towards the torture end of the scale but I also experienced the same doubts in the last few weeks when work actually became fun. But I knew that I wanted the chance to have that every day, rather than just when the pressure was off. I don’t know if I’ll get it, but I needed to try.

  2. Wow. I just learned of your site from another blogger and I was struck by your reasons for leaving. Two plus years ago I also left a perfectly good job without much of a plan but just knowing that I needed to be doing something else before it was too late. My reasons were your reasons too! I WAS 30 and had a job I didn’t care about enough! Long story short, I went back to school and am now looking for that next gig–one I’m passionate about. I look forward to continuing to read your blog.

  3. I LOVE this post–because it is so true for so many people–me included. I really enjoy your blog and the honesty in how you tell your story. Life isn’t black/white good job/bad job. It is a process that involves constantly asking yourself “do I find passion and joy in what I am doing now and if not how can I start to do that”. Living ‘good enough’ isn’t living!

  4. Wow. I don’t know how you do this. You always seem to write about something that I’m struggling with! I am seriously making moves to change my current “safe” job to another “no-so-safe” job. This is something I’ve wanted to do since, like, forever! Now, all of the sudden, I’m having these thoughts like, geeze, we have really good health benes here. Or, (just like your old job) I can surf the internet as much as I want! Now I’m putting them all into perspective and realizing that yeah, it’s a good job. But not good enough. YES!

    • I hear you, lady. You just have to remember that there are other jobs out there that might make you happier than this job makes you. Why not find out? But it definitely feels nice to have a salary and health insurance too. I miss those things all the time and can’t wait to have that stability back in my life. I just want it on my own terms. 🙂 You get it.

  5. Pingback: What Activities Bring You the Most Energy? « Nancy Jane Smith, Career Counselor

  6. Love it! I’m in a similar situation as an international superstar who is to make it in NYC and I’ve had those same exact thoughts with my various jobs in the city. Glad to have found your blog and look forward to reading more.

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