On January 25, 2023, I quit my job.
I had been talking about quitting for years (threatening, really…but that’s a shadow for another day).
But the plan was to leave two years from now. To keep climbing the ladder in the meantime. To do my job, disassociate as needed, and power through until I reached the finish line.
Until it wasn’t the plan. Until I left the office one afternoon and every cell in my body screamed: fuck timelines. And fear. And “should.”
It was time.
Yet as empowering as this decision was, there were a few hard lessons the universe gifted me with along the way. I am sharing these with you today to inspire you to be, well, you.
Click here to join the waitlist for my upcoming “Cultivating Autonomy” webinar.
Why I quit my job: trading sturdy for free
Before I dive into why I left my job, I think it’s important to first touch on why I stayed well after it no longer served me.
(Because it’s not a unique tale. We all follow the same pattern at some point in one area of our lives or another).
I stayed because it was safer to prioritize sturdiness than autonomy. To have a consistent paycheck rather than an emboldened lifestyle. To play the victim rather than take ownership. To be a cog in someone else’s wheel than the whole damn machine.
I left once that safety no longer felt comfortable but stifling. When limits were placed on my ability to grow and create, vital parts of my core essence since I was a child spending my summer vacations reading in the overgrown bush in our backyard and riding my bike through the neighborhood, making up songs that I was convinced would be on the Billboard Top 100.
So I quit my job.
3 life lessons I learned when I quit my job
After I gave my boss notice, I had 15 days until I was officially out.
And boy, did I learn a lot in that short period. But I’m beyond grateful for each lesson – as much as some of them stung.
1. On courtesy
When I gave my notice, I offered to stay for four months to help with the transition and to get a few projects done and dusted in the hopes that it would save someone else from getting my leftovers dumped onto their plate.
This was well beyond the standard two weeks’ notice in the United States. I thought I was beyond courteous.
But my employer decided to go with the standard two weeks, which was fine with me…until they proceeded to treat me as if I gave one day’s notice. At first, this was confusing and hurtful. I felt like a petulant child rather than an empowered adult.
Ultimately though, this was a gift as it enabled me to almost immediately cut my energy ties from an environment that was no longer conducive to my well-being. I can only imagine how exhausted I would have been had I stayed for four more months.
Lesson learned: Being courteous as you transition out of your job may not make for a smooth landing. Don’t take it personally. Emotions are high on all fronts, and the only reaction and actions you can control are your own.
2. On guilt
After I gave my notice, people I had great relationships with turned cold. I was now “a disappointment.”
I felt guilty. Like I had let everyone down.
I started questioning my decision. If it was selfish. Ungrateful.
But then I received a message stating that I was incapable of “conforming” to what was, in their view, a pretty low bar but was “obviously too high for [me].”
And my guilt flew out the window.
Of course, I’m not conforming, especially to low expectations. That’s boring as hell.
You don’t make an impact on the world by conforming. Instead, you make an impact by sharing your unique approach to life, by being alive, not a robot.
Lesson learned: Just as an employer does not owe you a job, you do not owe an employer your loyalty or commitment. And you’re not a disappointment for prioritizing yourself over the job. After all, most employers will prioritize profit and volume over individual employees.
3. On worth
On a conscious level, it’s easy to pump my fist and act like I’m entirely on board with the idea that things like productivity and “success” don’t define my worthiness.
But on a subconscious level, and for as long as I can remember, my worth was tied to my grade point average. The name of my employer. My job title…and how fast I could get to the next level.
Hell, when swiping through dating apps, I would repeatedly see profiles of men stating that they wanted a woman that “loved her career” or was “career driven.” Now I’m questioning my worth as a productive member of society and my worthiness of being loved.
This was the final barrier I had to overcome before I quit my job.
So how’d I clear the hurdle? By facing my fear and openly telling people my plan. And you know what? I was showered with support and admiration, not judgment.
It turns out no one cared but me.
Lesson learned: Your job title, or lack thereof, is, in no way, correlated to your worth. I’ll say it again: a made-up, arbitrary title does NOT equal your worth. No one gives a rat’s ass.
Dreaming of the day you say, “I quit my job!”?
Don’t let that dream dim. Take control of your future.
Join the waitlist for my upcoming “Cultivating Autonomy” webinar, and take the next step towards severing ties with what no longer serves you.
One response to “I Quit My Job: Why I Traded Sturdy for Free (&3 Life Lessons)”
Dude, this is phenomenal! (I know, blast from the past)
I’m so glad you were able to get away from what wasn’t working for you. I’m not there currently, but I’m assuming I will be within the next 5-10 years with my main gig. I’ll be sure to look you up if/when that happens. 🤘🏼