Four weeks ago, I made what is the biggest, bravest decision of my life. Yes, this decision was even bigger than getting married.
I walked into my manager’s office, and told her that I had made the decision to leave my current role without any plan of comes next for me. It was not for another role, it wasn’t to go back to school; it was that I’d rather be doing nothing than than be in this job. It was one of the most liberating moments of my life. It was as if, after weeks, I had finally been able to take a breath. I don’t think I’ve spoken with this much conviction ever! So much, that each person I spoke to about my decision knew that there wasn’t a way to change my mind. I was determined to make a change, and this was step one!
After that I did my duty. I spent four weeks wrapping my responsibilities at work, and transitioning my role to various team members so that there wasn’t a gap in knowledge. The last few weeks at work, I had a glow about me, a spring in my step, a smile I couldn’t hide as much as I tried. And now, this is my first week of voluntary unemployment!
I’ve spent the last five days doing whatever it is that I feel like. Things I never made a time for, because they were not a priority. So far, this week, I’ve gone swimming a few times, done some yoga, got a new library card, made a reading list, started reading from said list, cooked and ate many meals from scratch at home, cooked for others, planned a few baking projects, and cleaned my house top to bottom. Phew! And I feel way more productive and alive than I did in a month’s worth of my corporate job.
I am reflecting on what made me take this step. A side step if you will – from my well progressing corporate career. I have many reasons that justify this decision. Some reasons are very convincing, others I haven’t even formulated into a complete thought for myself. Those will come out in the next few weeks.
Here are a few, that I can think of that were the most convincing in my decision.
Firstly, it was a quarter life crisis I never grew out of. For years I told myself one of these days, I would get used to the routine. That one day it Monday to Friday wouldn’t feel like a chore. I was good at what I did. It’s early in my career, but I never met a challenge I couldn’t fulfill. It was just that these challenges did not fulfill me. I needed to find something that I was passionate about. Yes, it all sounds like fluffy millennial talk to find your passions. I secretly used to thrive on the knowledge that I was doing better than “those millennials” you read about on the news. I had no debt, I had health benefits, job security, money for rent, food, and a downpayment. But this felt bigger. It felt like a good reason to give it all up.
Secondly, I spent a lot of time at work or thinking about work. Work was not a place I checked out of at 5pm (more on my thoughts on what I think is wrong with the corporate culture to come). It took a toll on me physically, and mentally, especially when I was not enjoying what I did. I was too young to feel burnt out – I had years of being a productive member of society to come. Oftentimes the advice I got, was to start something on the side, and then leave your job. I am one of those people who cannot just leave work at work, and then explore hobbies at home. Unfortunately, I have to give a 100% to any job or commitment, and I felt that I would not be able to commit to work, nor 100% to trying to explore my hobbies. So I owed it to myself to take this step. At work, I just didn’t like what I was doing. My head wasn’t in it, not only on a daily basis, but I wasn’t looking forward to what was coming for the next few weeks or months. Not one ounce of it seemed exciting to me. Of course there are aspects in every job/business that you don’t enjoy but if there wasn’t a thing I could think of as being enjoyable or fulfilling that was starting to look like a bigger problem. I would come home, and not want to share anything about my day, because being at work was not at all exciting to me!
And then of course, came the final push. This year was tough! 2018 was supposed to be my year, we bought a condo, planned a 300+ person multi-day wedding, got married, and all of those are big milestones! It was a lot of things to juggle all at once! And finally after all those things we done and dusted, I could breathe. I could breathe, but I didn’t like the variety of air I was breathing at work; I just didn’t like what I was doing. During my time off for the wedding, I was more anxious about work than about the 300+ person party. And that was ultimately my wake up call – that this whole accounting thing was not my calling (which I subconsciously always knew), and that I had to do something about it! It was a thought that I had pushed all the way to the back of my mind, and now it had surfaced again. And then there was this thought that if I loved myself, I had to do something about it!
I do have to say that I am quite lucky to be able to make this decision. Most people my age probably couldn’t dream of giving up their jobs just to figure out themselves. I am very lucky that I have this opportunity to do so.
One of the biggest reasons I was able to make this decision, is because I have a solid support system, in my husband, my family, and my friends. My husband has been very supportive of my decision despite knowing that I have only ever earned an income due to my accounting education. Of course, he now has to stay in his job as we are now a single source of income household (more on the feminist thoughts of this decision later). Many would joke that since we just got married six weeks ago, I must have married rich. I assure you this is not true, and there have been and will be many sacrifices from my husband to allow me to do this for myself.
My family and friends have also been very supportive of my decision, knowing that I am ultimately not happy at work, where I did spend more time than I spent at home.
Ultimately, I am excited. I have no idea what I will do next – and that for me is part of the self-challenge; to live in the moment, enjoy what I am doing, and not worry so much about what to do next! Eventually, I will have to think about that. But I can only hope it is something that I enjoy doing day in, day out. I want to wake up most mornings and be excited about my day – a feeling that was lost for me Monday to Friday.
Or it’ll be something I need to get out of my system, but at least I’ll go back into my accounting/finance job knowing that I chose to be here. Not because it is the only thing I could think to do!
Tune back in for updates on this journey whose path is yet to be determined!