I Quit My Job and Never Looked Back

Michelle Jaqua

With every bitter end, there’s a new and beautiful beginning

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Around this time two years ago, I got completely fed up with how my career was going, and on a moment’s notice, I quit my job. I didn’t wait to find another one, I didn’t hold out for more money. I was so frustrated and exhausted with my life and my work, that one day I walked in to the office, and gave my two week notice.

My coworker’s asked me, “Did you find another job?”

No.

“What are you going to do?”

I don’t know.

My friends would say, “Are you sure you want to do this?”

Well, I knew for sure that I couldn’t continue at the pace I was going, being miserable in a job that I hated and not having the energy or motivation to do anything else with my life. I knew I needed a change.

I packed my desk and walked out the double doors on February 5th, 2016, and I never looked back. I was scared and elated at the same time.

Two days after I quit, I was sitting in my friend’s mountain cabin at Fishhawk Lake. I didn’t know what the future held for me. I was truly a free spirit. Once I got there, I was welcomed by a group of girlfriends, given a glass of wine and a hot bubble bath. The bra came off. My hair got messy. The aches in my body started to relax. I took a three hour nap, then stayed up until one o’clock in the morning, coloring a mandala and chatting with one of my girlfriends. I hadn’t done that in forever and I felt alive! This was my new life. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to have all my days like this, but damn! I sure enjoyed that weekend.

Over the next four months, I spent my days taking care of myself. I got my apartment in some order, met up with family and friends. I finally relaxed. I didn’t do anything extravagant, like travel around the world. Instead, I spent my time recovering my soul and reconnecting with the people and things that made me feel more alive.

In the time that I was unemployed, I learned more about what was important for me: self care, connecting with friends and loved ones, exploring what I love and being frugal with how I really spent my time.

A life wasted away doing something we can barely tolerate, wishing and hoping for those small slices of moments that give us joy, is no life at all. I spent a couple of years in that job, in an existence of emotional misery. Why would I do that to myself? Because…money. That job made me a lot of money.

When I got to my crisis point, one huge question I asked myself was, “How much money do I really need?”

We all need money to live, to feed and shelter ourselves, and whatever other desires we have. But how much do we really need? I’d already spent the last five years downsizing, plotting, planning and saving, putting myself into a position to be able to walk away from my job at any time. I worked very hard to minimize my needs, pay off my debt, sell or give away most everything I owned. I wanted (I want) a more fulfilling life. More true to who I am.

However, even when I set myself up financially, I still didn’t pull the trigger. I continued in that miserable existence because I told myself that it was good money, but in actuality, I was afraid to take the leap into the unknown without a plan. I only made the choice to leave my job because the existence I was living was more intolerable than the wages I earned, until I couldn’t stay there for one more day.

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” -Anais Nin

Once I pulled that trigger and walked out the door of my job, I was scared! I was excited! I had no plan. I didn’t know how I’d make a living. But when I walked out that door, I gave myself permission to believe in me. I began to trust that I’d take care of myself. I made a promise to myself that if I didn’t like something, I’d let it go and move on.

What I later realized was how emotionally disturbing and physically unhealthy it was for me to be in that work environment. I didn’t realize until I got out of it and could look back on it. This can be said for anything in life, like a relationship or a living situation. It’s always so much easier to see it once you’re NOT in the middle of it.

If you want to stop causing yourself grief, you must step out of your toxic situation (even for a moment) and look at the big picture. Once you see your situation from a different perspective besides your own, it becomes clear that things need to change. And once that’s decided, there’s no going back.

Change is inevitable. To stay stagnant is to cause pain.

Eventually, I found another day job. One that was more true to how I express myself. I went on my dream vacation and I bought a home. Because I cut those ties to the thing that was dragging me down in my life, I was able to bring in the things that I love. I was able to focus on what I really wanted. It hasn’t all been easy, but looking back, it’s worth it to have jumped off a cliff and fall into my real life.

What was the end for me was also the beginning. Sometimes it’s okay to jump off the cliff. Sometimes you’re shoved. It’s up to you how you want to make your life changes, but to know that in the end, the changes are usually for the better.

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Michelle Jaqua is a freelance writer who lives in the beautiful state of Oregon. She writes about a variety of news and happenings in the Pacific Northwest, along with some PNW history and fun facts. Subscribe to her page and get her posts in your email.

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