Here’s the Thing…
If you have read any amount of my posts, you probably know that a few months ago I quit my job to pursue a digital nomad / freelance lifestyle. While I have definitely talked about it in passing, I have never really laid out why I finally quit my job. And since it has been about five months since I actually took the leap, I thought I would also share the lessons I have learned along the way from this crazy / amazing life shift.
Apparently, I am really getting to the point with this post — no fluffy stuff here!
Here are 3 Reasons Why I Finally Quit my Job
#1. The work I was doing did not ignite my passions, I wasn’t growing professionally or as a person, and I didn’t feel like I was actually helping people / making any sort of impact
I would consider myself a multi-passionate person. According to mymarketability.com, “Multi-passionate people are those that are interested in everything. They have a wide range of skills and sometimes have trouble narrowing down exactly what it is they want out of life.”
With that definition in mind, you would think there would be something in my old job description that got me out of bed each morning. Unfortunately, that was not the case.
Instead, each day I was met with repetitive emails, pointless meetings & eight long hours.
To be fair to my company, I don’t think it was really anybody’s fault. I was the receptionist for three companies & each company had their respective leaders who were available for mentorship, development & support. Essentially, I worked for every company, so what that meant was, I didn’t feel like I truly belonged to any company.
An added layer to that is I didn’t feel like the work I was doing was helping people in a greater way. This is a long story for a later time, but all through college I was heavily involved in the Honduras Water Project & I was constantly working for a cause that was greater than myself. Since then, I have a constant desire to make an impact & help others.
Unfortunately, I truly can’t think of an instance where the work I did helped make an impact in other people’s lives. I don’t necessarily think this is a reflection of the company, but rather the nature of my position. There were many employees already in place in each department to make a positive impact, so the chances of something trickling all the way down to me were slim.
After five months of going to work each day without a purpose, I knew something needed to change. And once I realized nothing would be changing with my company, I knew I had to initiate the changes I wished to see.
#2. I Felt Like I was Missing Out on Life
At the time of getting my full-time job, I was working at Red Lobster, which consisted of night & weekend shifts and having a lot of flexibility in my schedule. All of a sudden, I was thrust into working 9-6, Monday through Friday. Thinking that was just what everyone did when they started their adulting journey, I was surprised to find how much of life I was missing out on.
I couldn’t attend my siblings sporting events. I couldn’t travel. Each day literally looked identical to the last.
Have you ever seen the episode of Spongebob where Squidward moves to a private community that is supposed to be the “perfect” place for others like him and he ends up hating it because it’s the same thing day in and day out? If you haven’t, you will have to check it out.
(I just watched that video & I was cracking up because it is the most accurate depiction of what my life looked like for five months.)
I was terrified that I would wake up one day and realize that I had wasted my life in a cubicle doing mundane tasks just to pay the bills. When I really thought about it, I was essentially giving up the important / meaningful aspects of life because it was what I thought I was supposed to be doing.
One day I made the decision that I would not give up happiness in my life for money & a job that I didn’t like.
#3. I knew if I quit my job, I could get realigned with my passions, show up for life AND get paid while living in a more wholesome way
I’m not sure how, I’m not sure why, but I knew down to my core that if I had the time to pursue my passions & the things that truly mattered to me, I could make this crazy idea work. A big issue I had was I would come home after being gone for 12 hours and just be plain exhausted. I didn’t have the strength to exert the necessary energy to build the life I wanted to live.
As terrifying as it was, I knew I just had to take the leap in order to have the space & the time to figure out how I would make this life work. At the end of the day, this wasn’t possible while working for such a draining job.
Perhaps had it only been one of these factors, things would have turned out differently, but having all three of them constantly weighing on me, I knew the decision I had to make.
It has now been five months since I took the leap, and I know now more than ever that I made the right decision.
Here are 5 Lessons I Learned Along the Way:
#1. Have Faith in Yourself
It was actually the strangest thing: I just knew I could do it.
I’m a huge planner / overthinking, and so to have taken the leap without a solid plan in place, was a little out of character for me. BUT I just had so much faith in myself. Which, maybe was a little naive but that is what fueled me each day: the fact that I just knew I could do it.
Do not underestimate yourself. If you have a goal you want to achieve, just go for it! Being realistic and rational is definitely a good thing, but sometimes your gut just knows.
Take the leap. Have faith in yourself. And work hard. You will get to where you need to be.
#2. Amount of Pay Does Not Correlate To Quality of Life
This is just a fact: I am not making as much as I was at my full-time job. I’m not working as many hours and sometimes the freelance life can be inconsistent. But the good news is, I am nowhere near my workload capacity and I know I am just getting started.
Despite the fact that I am making less and I have to be more frugal with my expenses, my quality of life has increased drastically.
I can show up for the people I love.
I can enjoy a cup of coffee while easing into my day.
I can go on a spontaneous trip and not worry about taking time off work / losing pay.
If I could shout one thing from the rooftop, it would be this: if accepting a job for the sole reason of the amount of money you will make, run and run fast in the opposite direction.
Let me clarify: if you landed your dream job that also happens to pay well, AMAZING. Go for it & rock it.
If you have a job offer on the table and the most enticing aspect is the paycheck, proceed with caution.
I’m not going to lie. I struggle with money. I’m constantly analyzing my budget spreadsheet, trying to figure out ways to save money. But I am SO happy.
Why is being happy so underrated?
It’s time for us to put happiness above money.
#3. Do Not Underestimate the Power of a Strong Company Culture
I am so SO fortunate to now work for a company that has *amazing* company culture. I have never just felt like another employee and it is a pleasure to show up each day and work hard for my company.
Now that I am immersed in a company with a strong culture, I don’t think I could ever be with a company that lacks culture.
I always knew that culture was important but transitioning out of a company that didn’t have one, to a company that does have one, really showed me the importance of this value.
Having a standard to aim towards and a boss that is constantly pushing you to do better is such an important aspect of working in a thriving environment.
Don’t make the same mistake I did: if in a job interview the interviewer stutters when you ask about their company culture, take that as a huge warning sign.
#4. You Don’t Have to Do What the World Says is the “Right” Thing
All growing up, through high school, college and post-grad, I was under the impression that I had to graduate with a job, work in said job for 40-something years, retire & sit in the house that I had finally paid off for the rest of my life.
But if you have a different definition of success, so what?!?! Who even decided the above scenario was the perfect model of success? I say, it’s time to redefine what success looks like.
If you are willing to work hard on something you are passionate about, works for me!
#5. Embrace Where You Are
In some instances, it can be pretty easy to get what you want. You can eat what you want, buy what you want, go where you want – all with just the click of a button. In a lot of ways, the era we live in is full of instant gratification, which can make it easy to constantly be looking towards your next move.
However, there is something so beautiful about reveling in the season you are currently in. You truly don’t know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.
I absolutely LOVE what I do now, but with each life change, there are still things to be missed from the past. I have to admit, there are things I truly miss about my old job, mostly the people. I didn’t realize how much I would actually miss interacting with people each day. Also, I was able to work with my best friend and there was just something so special about that time in our lives.
Chase your dreams all day long, but don’t forget to continue to be grateful for where you are at. Life will never be the same as it is in this moment, so don’t take that for granted.
So That’s the Thing…
Quitting my job with no backup plan was hands down one of the scariest things I have ever done. BUT it was also one of the most freeing & empowering things I have ever done.
Looking back, everything has turned out better than I could have ever expected and, as my boss kindly reminds me, it wasn’t luck: it was the determination and the hard work I put it that led me to where I am now.
Don’t get me wrong, even though there have been lots of mountain highs, there have been many, many valley lows. Lows where I am sitting in my bedroom crying because I don’t know how I can keep going. Crying because I’m thinking today is the day I have hit my breaking point and I’m clearly not strong enough. Crying because I want my dreams so badly and it is just so so hard.
BUT. Oh ‘but’ – such a beautiful word.
But, my life is so full. I bounce out of bed each day, ready to embrace the day. Of course, some days have varying levels of enthusiasm, but in general, I am excited to take on the day.
As I’m sitting here on a Sunday afternoon, writing this blog post, not dreading Monday morning, excited for the week ahead, I am thinking back on all those days sitting at that office desk. I remember watching the clock slowly tick by and thinking about how much life there is to live out there.
There’s not a day that goes by that I am not immensely grateful for the courage I had to walk away from a life that wasn’t pushing me each day to grow into my potential.
My advice to you: if you’re thinking about making the jump: just do it. You can figure the rest out along the way. Because let’s be honest, nobody has it all figured out.