I recently quit my job.
My last day is in about 2 weeks. (I was incredibly generous and gave 90 days notice… so I guess I uh, quit my job a few months ago.) When I gave my notice, I did not have a solid follow up plan, and I had no money saved up. (My house renovations went about $5,000 over budget… this is why you don’t get lazy and start tracking your spending halfway through the remodel kids.)
Me not having a plan has never happened before.
I’ve had a plan since kindergarden. I even have the scrapbook to prove it. (Thanks mom!) Sure it changed a little over the years, but the general theme stayed the same. Basically, all I am trying to convey is that I was freaking out. Me? Without a plan?! Will I survive?! (This outcome has yet to be determined.) Not only was I without a plan, but I was also without enough dollars to pay my bills the following month. This is where my 90 days came into play. In 90 days I could save enough of my income to cover my butt for 90 jobless days. Thankfully, they accepted my incredibly long request. (I also think they appreciated the time to find my replacement as it took them 5 months to hire me.)
Now to the whole point of this post. Why did I quit?
Short answer: I was unhappy.
Unhappy enough where most days involved me shaking with anxiety, and usually ending in stress tears. Nothing bad ever happed at work. In fact, my boss is amazing, the job is pretty easy, low stress, outside all day with beautiful scenery, and the pay is amazing (compared to others in my position at least). This is what made everything so difficult. If this job is so nice, wonderful, and easy, then why on earth do I want to leave? It got so bad that my boss sat me down to talk about it. The conversation went something like this;
Boss: Hey! You're clearly very unhappy. You're way to extraverted to be working alone all day every day, and unfortunately, we wont be hiring more people for you to be around every day to help you with that. Me: Oh! Boss: You are really great at what you do, but it's clear that this environment is not conducive to your growth and development as a person. So have you thought about what you'd like to do instead? Me: Ohh.....
I was gently nudged out the door, but for my own well being. My boss actually cares about me as a person and has cared about me as a person since day one (see earlier where I mentioned “my boss is amazing”). So this was all delivered with the best intentions.
What does this mean for you my dear reader?
What it means is no matter how many people tell you otherwise, if you are unhappy somewhere, change it. I had known for a while I wanted to leave. But I felt trapped by not knowing where to go next. I thought maybe if I bought an investment property I could just casually buy more until I could live off the passive income in 3-5 years. But I only thought that because people told me not to quit.
People: It's such a great gig, you can easily stick it out.
Yeah… crying most days and anxiously laying awake at night are NOT worth “sticking it out” sorry people.
I knew how I felt, and the fear of not having a plan kept me frozen in place. Then the lack of money forced me to stay in that place. It was a horrible feeling.
Save your money. Save enough so you can live off your savings for at least a month or two (more is better!). That way, if you find yourself feeling more and more drained and unhappy every day, you can take that money and run (like a big F U to the man!). Yes, you probably should have a plan. But I spent 12 months trying to “come up with a plan.” I learned it is very hard for me to do this when I feel upset, anxious, trapped, and sad. So instead, I saved up enough money to take some time off, refresh, recharge, and come up with a plan. I do wish that pool of money was a bit larger, (6 months of travel sure would be lovely), but 3 months is more then enough to take some time for myself. An entire career change doesn’t come easy. Especially when your degree and basically everything you’ve ever done lines up with an industry that you no longer want to be in…
Always save your money. Even if you love your job. Call it an emergency fund, call it savings, call it an F U fund. You never know when your feelings will change, when a new horrible boss or co-worker may move in, or when you might be laid off. Don’t be like me and feel trapped because you can’t afford to leave.
If you need a break, take it.
Find yourself, find your friends, find a new bird species in your backward you’ve never noticed before, but most of all, put yourself first. You can’t help others until you can help yourself, and if you’re not happy, change something!