You Get One. How Leaving my Job Changed my Life.

Exactly one year ago today I quit my job.

We don’t often speak of it that way but that’s what I did. I’ve worked since I was fourteen years old and I’d never quit a job, ever.  I can tell you that no one was as shocked as me (and more than a few people were shocked) and it came as such a surprise that even I was blindsided.

In fairness the job I quit wasn’t really the job I quit, the one I truly quit was the one I gave the appropriate two weeks notice and left for another job.  Unfortunately the job I left for was the wrong job but I took it because I knew the job I was leaving was probably going to kill me.  The job I took had promise and seemed in theory a good fit for me but after about a month I realized I couldn’t have been more wrong. The job seemed to fit all my interests and the people there were nice but the more I talked about it to others the more I realized it wasn’t going to be for me.

Ironically I had just returned to work from a vacation (which was pre-planned and discussed with my boss). During vacation I had restless dreams about the job literally every night and spent the entire vacation looking at people and wondering “what do they do”?  Upon returning home I left for work, got to work, checked my messages and emails (there were none), looked at my computer for about 5 minutes then went in to have the conversation with my boss.

In all honestly prior to that at no point that morning did quitting my job ever cross my mind.

When you quit your job there is that moment of freedom right after it happens, then the realization sets in right around the time the panic sets in.  I pretty much got to work right away on trying to find my next place of employment and by the time I had arrived home to tell my wife I’d already made at least one stop and several phone calls, I wasn’t planning an extended vacation, I wanted to get back to work.

Getting back to work would prove a lot harder than I expected and I spent the next few months making calls, sending out resumes, applying for jobs online, meeting with people and going to interviews.  The hardest part of the process would come when I would offers for jobs that I knew were not for me, the ones that I knew would put me right back to where I was.  There is nothing more painful than saying no to a job offer when you have no job.

Probably the craziest part of not having a job was the fact that during my unemployed stage of life we took off and went to Disney World!  Obviously the trip was planned when I was working at a job paying me a nice salary and we were somewhat prepared for the trip already but it was still crazy.  I had been on vacation prior to quitting and here I was not just on vacation again, but on the biggest vacation we’ve ever been on as a family.

That was the turning point.

In more ways than one it really became a major turning point for me.  We had a wonderful time on vacation,  Disney allows for that to happen completely shutting out the rest of the world for an entire week.  Shortly after returning home I got a job thanks to some good people I had worked with before.  The job was part time seasonal but it was a start and it got me that employed status again. Soon after that job was underway I would get hired for another part time job that would start in the beginning of the new year.  During that time I worked on revamping my personal business and would get some good clients for that as well.

These days I am happily working 50 hours a week making less money than I ever have.

In the past year I have been more happy and relatively healthier than I have been in a long time.  I’m not as stressed out and angry as I was before and the loss of income has been lessened by the fact that I don’t feel the need to constantly buy stuff to try and make myself happy.  I have spent the last year enjoying what I have, enjoying time with my kids and taking things a bit more in stride than I used too.

Most importantly I figured out who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do.

When I was working and not happy people would ask me “what do you want to do?”.  The problem was for 13 years I had a job that let me do the things I wanted to do, I was the marketing person, I got to be creative, use all types of computer programs, develop, host and manage cool events, do social media and be the computer guy; but I was a jack of all trades and became the master of none.

What I discovered during my job search first is what I didn’t want to be, I knew I couldn’t go back to sales, I’m pretty good at low pressure sales but there are two things I’m not fond of; cold calling and business to business.  Knowing that was important because you have to know what you honestly don’t want to do first.  Once I realized that I realized my heart never left marketing.  My heart also never left technology, I love technology (that’s why I started my business after all) so I knew that had to be a part of my future.  Finally I realized that I like helping people, friends, co workers, bosses and clients.  I’ve never been afraid to be the boss or the director but if you need a number two, I’m a pretty good guy to have in your corner.

I also figured out who I wanted to be personally, now I’m more or less speaking for others here but I’m pretty sure I’m much better to be around this past year because I’m not in a constant state of stress.  The day’s are much busier but I enjoy each one because I’m enjoying what I’m doing and I’m learning from and appreciating each and every day.

Just like the movies. Not.

Have you ever watched one of those movies where the person leaves their high paying job to live in a small town and they live happily ever after?  Yeah that doesn’t happen.  I won’t sit here and say the last year has been easy, starting over never is but it’s been manageable.  I’m learning the values of things like, learning new things, being happy, having a job and doing the best I can and liking who I am as a person and those are the things that are going the benefit those people in the last year that took a chance on me.

In closing I’ll say this, I don’t necessarily recommend you quit your job without backup.  BUT.  If you’re not happy and you know that the job you are doing is not what you want to get up every day and do, the best thing you can do for yourself and your employer is to say goodbye. If you don’t want to be there you’re not really helping anyone anyway.  Although if you do happen to leave your job make it count, change your life, make it better, because ultimately you’ll probably make it through and be better off even if it takes awhile.

Just remember you only get one!