Why I Quit My Job

In January 2009, I knew I wanted to quit my boring desk job in pursuit of something that would make me happier.

I had an acting degree from one of the best art schools in the country, and I was performing and writing sketch and improv comedy with some of the most talented people in New York City. But by age 28 I found myself in an accidental career as an executive assistant at a music law firm. I was totally miserable.

Sometimes I talked to famous people. The rest of the time, I answered phones, made photocopies, updated spreadsheets, filed papers and fetched eating utensils for my boss. I didn’t like it. It hurt my body. It made me crave sunshine, fresh air, and something more stimulating. I couldn’t stand the idea of settling for what might be the perfect life for someone else. It wasn’t perfect for me. The work was monotonous, I was always grouchy and irritable, working a day job AND doing shows at night was exhausting me, and I wanted to collect all the message pads in my office and make a bonfire in the ladies room.

I hadn’t yet figured out that my own perspective was part of the problem. But I did know I had to make a change. Before I could pull the plug on the office assistant career, I spent nine months planning, saving and laying the foundation for my next adventure. And blogging all about it as I went.

Then I officially gave notice at my desk job on September 2, 2009. I was shaking when I walked into my manager’s office, but it turned out better than I expected.

Here is the post I wrote the day I quit.

My last day was about a month later – October 16, 2009 to be precise – and it was one of the best days of my life. I’m not sure I would have had the courage to quit that job without the support of my amazing readers.

Growing up, I was always taught how important it was to work. I was encouraged to put my nose to the grindstone no matter the task, to pull my bootstraps up and get the job done. I was also regularly told it would be impossible to make a living as an actor and artist. Naturally, I believed that for a very long time.

Ultimately, I couldn’t stay away from the entertainment industry, and quitting that boring desk job helped me realize that.

Some of my favorite posts about the experience of leaving my office assistant career are here, here, here and here. In short, choosing to shake up my life like that was one of the smartest things I ever did for myself.

Here’s a link to my popular post, “how to quit your job – 5 steps.”

After quitting, I spent a year as a self-employed baker, writer, actor, comedian and candlestick maker (no). Then, much to my dismay, I took another office job! A few months later, I quit THAT job! What! It actually wasn’t a terrible experience. More on all that here.

Today, I’m focused on performing, writing, teaching, and pursuing a career in comedy. I spend my days as the Managing Director of the Peoples Improv Theater (the PIT) and I’m more clear about what I want than I’ve ever been before. It hasn’t been easy to figure out which of my skills and interests are worth turning into a career, and which are best left as hobbies, but I’m discovering more every single day, and when I’m old and gray and hanging out with my grandkids, I know I’ll be able to say I pulled up my boot straps and got the job done on my own terms.


8 thoughts on “Why I Quit My Job

  1. Pingback: some immediate pros and cons of quitting my job « follow my bliss

  2. Pingback: stupid brain « follow my bliss

  3. I just quit my job, 3 hours ago. I just did it. I knew it need it to happen, I knew it was going to happen, I just tough I was not going to do it, but I did it. I feel a lot guilty because I can be helping my husband with my income, that is my only regret, but I just couldn’t do it anymore. I just got a good reason, to said Good Bye, and jump into the unknown. I am more concern about not being anymore an income provider than the idea of quitting that job. There is total understanding from my husband, but I have being always a good worker, always responsible, and I have the strange feeling that I just fail to him.
    Anyway, I wont change what I just did. I send an email telling I am leaving, my supervisor wasn’t there, and I just wanted to leave, it got to that point. Explain the reasons, appreciated him hiring me, and just took my stuff and walk out that place. It is nice, and scary to jump into the unknown, it is, but sometimes you just have to do it.

  4. I wanted to let you know I did the same thing. I quit my job around June 2007. I was the marketing director and music director for a restaurant corporation in Baltimore. It was a great job, but it was also very stressful. I decided to quit to pursue artistic and creative endeavors in a virtual world (yes, really, a virtual world. http://money.cnn.com/video/news/2010/02/23/n_second_life_dj_virtual_work.cnnmoney/ ).

    That lasted all the way until December 2009, when I decided to become employed again.

    Quitting to go entirely imaginatively creative was awesome!

  5. Hi Jen my name is Erick and i don’t know how i start to read you history but is the same situation that i have right now.
    I quit from my boring job in New Jersey, now i living in New York, i tried to do my dream can true.
    I’m comedian, writer and actor. I’m knocking doors and i’m very sure some day those doors gonna get open.

  6. “It hasn’t been easy to figure out which of my skills and interests are worth turning into a career”

    If you want to make it happen you must make a decision and commit to it with all of your heart and never give up. In order for things to happen and take momentum we must commit to a single purpose and not change our mind about it. The greatest power in the universe is our power to choose. Once we choose and commit everything else begins to move in the direction of our dream but nothing will happen until we choose, commit, and persist. Think of the thing you want most and take a leap of faith on it, drop all else and focus on that and pay attention to your present moment for clues and exciting opportunities no matter how small. You committed to doing what you love by quitting your job, now you need to commit again to what you want to do! God bless!

  7. Do not know how you feel about astrology, but 28 to 30 years of age is the time of the first Saturn Return. Arguably the first Saturn Return is when we “become an adult” and (sometimes) start doing what is our life calling. Loved your piece, and linked to it in a reply to one of my readers.

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