So, I quit my job.
Yep, you read that right. I quit my job, again.
If you’re new here, the job I’m referring to is my third in a year. Yeah… I know what you’re probably thinking. Holy cow! That’s a lot of jobs, and a lot of quitting. What a lame gal. What does that say about your character? Your attitude? Your ambition? Who’s going to hire you after that kind of track record? Don’t you know how to tough something out?
At least, that’s what I told myself you’d be saying. In fact, that’s what I had told myself as truth: If I left this job, after this short amount of time, I would be a failure. I had so much difficulty coming to terms with the thought of it, that I believed it wasn’t an option. I didn’t even really consider leaving until I had two medical professionals, and my husband, and one of my best friends, and my mom, tell me that I needed to quit … to which I finally agreed.
Did you read that? I agreed?!
I agreed to quit my job. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like that sentence sounds a little funny. For someone who prides herself in being confident, independent, and ambitious, having a decision as big as leaving a job be one you’re “talked into” doing, just seems odd.
A variety of factors resulted in this decision, a large one being our recent move that tripled my commute. I knew about two weeks after we had moved, that keeping this job was unsustainable, at least without any other aspects of the job, or my life, changing. So WHY did it take all these people telling me what I already knew for me to finally believe that I could take the step to do it?
There are quite a few factors that compounded it, but ultimately, it’s pretty simple. I didn’t trust myself.
In fact, I didn’t trust myself so much, that I found myself trying to justify to those who were trying to convince me otherwise, of all the reasons that I needed to stay. Regardless of the fact that the position wasn’t healthy for me on multiple levels, I felt like I owed it to my employer to “tough it out.”
I’ve realized, thanks to a support system that encourages accountability, that this is a common trend for me. I have a pattern of emotionally investing myself in situations that don’t deserve emotional investment. As a result, I attach myself to the position so much that I am unable to recognize when there’s a disparity between what is an appropriate level of commitment, and when unhealthiness begins.
Ever since I gave my notice (of five weeks, mind you), I’ve been on somewhat of a “self-empowerment” kick. This experience has really been eye-opening for me…which seems a little silly, to be honest. I just don’t think I realized how frequently I felt guilty about doing things that inconvenience others, even when they’re not in my own best interest, or even are in my disinterest. Listening to Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis has been a fantastic little kick in my side. I got it on Audible, and because of that little commute, and the fact that part of my usual route was closed last Thursday and Friday, I started and finished the entire book just during drive time over those two days. Yes, that means I spent eight hours in the car, in case you’re wondering.
Rachel’s words, along with a few podcasts and a meeting with my therapist, really spoke truth to me and opened my eyes to a different way of thinking. I really struggled with this concept of “quitting,” because I don’t like to feel like a quitter. Plus, my track record isn’t exactly strong in this area. I also know that my generation is often mocked for an inability to follow through on commitment, and lack of “thick skin.” I don’t like being lumped into that group.
But, you know what I also don’t like being? Unhappy. Discontent. Lacking motivation. And quite frankly, I was all those things every. single. day.
Albert Einstein said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” I’ve used this quote repeatedly in my life, and frankly, I use it on other people, too. It drives me absolutely insane when someone complains about something, over and over, yet does nothing to change it.
And then I realized that person was me.
I bucked up, and had a tough conversation with my boss. It actually ended up going way better than I anticipated, which was an unexpected bonus, but that’s not what this is about. It’s about taking ownership of your life, and not falling into the, “I need to do this because of WHATEVER reason, even though it’s making me miserable” trap.
People are either going to judge you, or they’re going to accept you. At the end of the day, do you really want the people who are negatively judging you to be in your life, anyway?
Other people’s opinion of you are NONE of your business.-Rachel Hollis
Life is short. I do not want to look back on my twenties, or any of my years, for that matter, and have major regrets about wasting valuable chunks of time, because I was afraid of inconveniencing somebody.
I’m proud of myself, because I listened to the wisdom of others, but I also handled the situation in a way that I was at peace with. If I’d done it Cody’s way, or my doctor’s, I would have given my two weeks notice and walked out. But that’s not me, and for whatever reason, I did feel emotionally invested, and I wanted to leave my boss respectfully, and end on good terms. So I stayed just over a month. I explained to him the situation, openly and honestly, and I stayed long enough to train someone else to takeover my position until they hire a new gal, and I have also assisted with the interview process. I also took on the role of setting up an entirely new diagnostic testing software, which has been a huge ordeal, and as a result of that, have, over the last week, been hailed as a “hero.” (LOL). Was that necessary? No. But was it something that I wanted to do? Yes. Here’s the difference, though. Once I stood up for myself, and declared my truth, that this job wasn’t working for me, and that I would not be staying, I felt heard. When my boss asked me if I could stay to help him, I felt respected. When he told me that he would increase my pay for however many extra weeks I agreed to remain in this position and bonus me, I no longer went into work each day begrudging it. Because I was making this decision. As a result leaving this way, I’m ending on the great terms, and my boss has told me numerous times that he will forever give me a glowing recommendation. Now, I’m leaving feeling empowered. I honored my own needs, but I was respectful, staying true to myself.
What is even crazier than the fact that I quit my last job, is that I don’t have a new one yet. Given how much I hate quitting, and the fact that I’m still not sure what the heck I want to do with my life (nursing? athletic training? administrative assistant for Rachel Hollis?), we decided that it would be best for me to take a little bit of time off, before jumping into something new, again. Cody’s rationale for this is that I never took any time off after graduating before jumping into work full-time, and I always wanted to take a gap year. Interestingly enough, I’ve taken time off from school plenty of times, but every time, it was because I was back in intensive treatment for my eating disorder. That time wasn’t my own. Taking a little bit of time off now is a fantastic opportunity, and because of the position we are fortunate enough to be in financially, makes sense. I know it does. But it is very, very counter to my personality.
It’s really hard for me to not be working while Cody is still putting in long hours at his job every day. As I’m writing this, it’s Thursday afternoon of my first week “off.”
I had been feeling incredibly resentful and insecure of the fact that I’m currently not contributing to our bank account, to an unhealthy level. I was constantly feeling like I needed to be doing something productive, to the point of busing myself doing stupid things that didn’t need to be done, just so that I could feel “okay” about myself. Seriously, we’re talking applying to twenty five jobs one day, purely because I felt like I needed to at least “seem like” I was working. I rearranged the furniture in our apartment, reorganized all the kitchen cabinets, vacuumed the floors in the morning and again at night, meal prepped more than either of us could eat, and tried to take care of all of the logistical tasks that we’ve been putting off doing. The first time I overheard Cody tell someone that I was “taking some time off” right now, I immediately tensed up, and got irritated with him for saying such a thing.
To which he responded, “But babe… You are taking some time off. What’s wrong with me saying that?”
I shut down, and that was the end of the conversation. It wasn’t a great few hours.
He didn’t mention it (at least not within earshot of me) again.
And then, yesterday, I realized something.
This time off right now, it’s a gift. It is such a wonderful, incredible gift, that many people don’t have the luxury to experience. The fact that I have a husband who is so generous in his love and the money that he is bringing home to us, the financial provision that God has given us, it’s an abundance of blessings.
There’s a practice in the Christian faith called, “Sabbath.” It’s defined as a day of rest and worship. Yes, a whole, entire day. It’s not mentioned by Jesus in the Bible as a suggestion, but a command. I don’t mean to bash on the church, but we’re pretty hypocritical in this area. The sabbath is the one practice that everyone is expected to break. Taking a full day to rest, in our culture and society, is almost unheard of. I’m incredibly guilty of this, a busybody by nature.
Jesus created me to be the person who loves to be busy, but he also commanded me to rest.
So, I’m telling myself that this time is going to serve not only as a belated “gap year” (but not a year!), but as a sabbath. It is a time to rest and explore, a time to be productive in ways I haven’t been able to, while working nine hour days and a three hour drive on top of that.
Most importantly, it is a gift.
It deserves to be valued as one.