Why It’s Okay to Be a Quitter
I went to work yesterday with the intention of sticking it out just one more day, like I did the day before and the day before that.
I went to work talking myself out of my own doubts, thinking I should just build a bridge and get over it.
I went to work yesterday with the intention of giving my job another shot, because why not? It’s a secure job.
I went to work feeling like my unhappiness and unfulfillment were a product of my own doing; a manifestation of my lack of resilience.
But despite my best efforts, I left the office without a job—without security, and without a source of income to rely on.
I quit my job yesterday.
And yes, that makes me a quitter.
But before I get ahead of myself, let’s rewind to a mere three months ago, when my mindset was completely different than how I feel right now. Let’s rewind to when I was excited, eager, and ready to embrace opportunity.
Like anyone else starting a new job, I went to work on the first day with great intentions and high hopes of what I would achieve. But like many things in life, this job looked more glamorous on the outside than it turned out to be on the inside.
As a communications graduate, blogger, freelance writer and overall passionate individual, I had hopes that my skills would be put to work at this new job. But as one day rolled into the next, I found myself running errands, taking out the garbage, sending canned e-mails, changing lightbulbs and being micro-managed. I am not one to underestimate the necessity of “earning your keep”, but I couldn’t help but feel like I was in the wrong position, at a company that wasn’t willing to let me do the things that light me up.
I interviewed at this company with the understanding that the work environment was passionate, inclusive and hard working. Even though this was true in some ways, I also realized that it was governed by a subtle sense of fear. No one wanted to be the first to leave the office. No one wanted to say no to more than 50 hours a week of work. Passion was fuelled by a lack of work-life balance and hard work was quickly leading to burnout. No matter how much I wanted to, I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep up.
I should have felt angry, but I felt guilty.
I should have realized it was the wrong job, but I felt like I was doing all the wrong things.
And over the course of three months, I became an expert at talking myself out of my doubts.
I would come home from work crying every other day, but somehow managed to blame myself for the way I felt.
Unhappy emotions quickly turned into depressive thoughts, and a negative reflection of my own self worth.
I was mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted and the stress of it all became too much.
I wasn’t doing what I loved, and I was beating myself up for it.
When the three month mark hit, I battled between the pros and cons of staying and leaving. I wanted os badly to have a fresh start somewhere else, but no matter how much I knew I wanted it, years of structure, predictability, and institutionalized education told me I couldn’t. I told myself that leaving would be nothing short of ludicrous and irresponsible.
Truth be told, years of structure led me to believe that listening to my intuition was wrong.
I was more afraid of not having a job than having one that made me miserable. I was more concerned about what my friends and family might say, than what my own heart was telling me to do. And this, of course, was a recipe for disaster.
You see, because of the way we go through high school, post secondary institutions, and then onward to office jobs, we are programmed to value structure over creativity, security over risk.
And this is exactly the mindset that led me to believe that being unhappy at my job was worth it so long as I was paying my societal dues and earning money.
And oh boy, was I wrong.
Feeling depressed is one thing, but what happens when you actually start to internalize the negative thoughts that manifest as a result of your surroundings?
You lose sight of yourself and your passions—that’s what happens.
So to sum up this entire blog into one sentence: It’s okay to be a quitter if quitting allows you to focus on your happiness, health and mental well being.
It’s okay to take a risk without a Plan B if you have the right intentions and know that you will find something better, regardless of how hard you have to work to get there.
It’s okay not to want structure and rigidity in a work environment if you crave flexibility and the ability to get your work done on your own terms.
It’s okay not to stick out a job for 30 years for the sake of a pension and climbing the financial ladder of “success”.
And most importantly, it’s okay to listen to your intuition when it’s telling you to do something that scares the sh*t out of you.
In fact, if you go with your gut, chances are it will lead you to better places than if you had listened to your head instead.
Until next time,