The Secret to Quitting Your Job and Keeping Your Sanity
Five months before I quit my job, I created a plan for myself. I decided which Friday in October I was going to hand in my two weeks. I thought about how much money I needed to save to live comfortably while I got my life together post-quitation. I began creating a business plan for the company I wanted to start. I wasn't completely sure I was ready to leave the security of my decent paying job but I knew I was ready to struggle for what I wanted - freedom, happiness, ownership.
Everyone asked me if I was nervous or if I had a back up plan. No and no. For some odd reason I wasn't nervous and for some even odder reason I didn't think of a Plan B. This is something that I knew I had to do - go at it alone and figure it out as I went - and whether succeed or fail, at least I could say that I tried.
Despite my seemingly nonchalant attitude toward leaving the position I truly kicked ass in, I still was aware of all the obstacles ahead of me. I was now entering the world of not knowing where my next paycheck was coming from or if it would ever come. I was constantly reminded by the racing clock that I soon would be 26 and no longer under my parent's health insurance. Money, benefits, security. The normal stuff.
But the gag was that no one warned me about all the other "problems" that would hit me like a ton of bricks once I quit. Loneliness and isolation, anxiety and depression, self-worth or lack thereof. To say I was not prepared for all of the feels and emotions is an understatement. I struggled...for months.
Now, about five months in, I've learned - and am still learning - the secret to quitting your job and not losing yourself in the process. In order to save you some tears and frustration, I thought I would pass along the #lifelessonslearned:
Loneliness and Isolation
I was constantly surrounded by people every day, all day at work. Being the introvert that I am, I thought once I quit my job I would enjoy finally getting away from everybody and working in the solitude of my little home office. I made my office an inviting space to be in, one that inspired me and made me want to work. However, after only a few days of sitting in my little corner, I felt extremely isolated from the rest of the world. No human interaction other than the people I very briefly connected with on social media was starting to drive me crazy and make me feel extremely sad. It didn't help that I now live alone, with only my cat to keep me company (where's a cat lady meme when you need one?)
the secret: surround yourself with people
It's a simple fix, and one that may be obvious to some, but it's a crucial one nonetheless: Do not, I repeat, do not isolate yourself day after day after day. No matter what you have planned for that day, make sure one of those activities includes getting outside and talking to someone, anyone. I started going to my favorite library to write one day a week, and then the book store just so I could hear the hustle + bustle of people moving about. Heck, I even found solace in going to Trader Joe's and making small talk with the cashier. Just taking a walk down the street, smiling and saying hi to one of your neighbors, and observing the outside world will do wonders for you. You don't have to make plans with your friends every day or be out constantly, but make sure it's often enough where you don't get stuck in your little bubble that is your home office so that you keep the lonely bug away.
Anxiety and Depression
I've come to the conclusion that freak-outs of some proportion are inevitable once you quit your job and ask yourself, "Now what?". However, my freak-outs were becoming a daily thing, which then led to me being so anxious that I couldn't even get out of bed some days. The depression was too real. I was feeling like a failure because all my friends were getting up in the morning and going somewhere and I was left sitting at my computer (if I even made it out the bed that day) trying to figure out what the heck I'm trying to accomplish and do with my life. I'll get deeper on the topic of anxiety + depression in another post because it's a topic dear to my heart, but just know it was bad, and I don't want you to have to go down the same road.
the secret: remember why you did it
Anxiety and depression have the ability to separate you from reality, rationale, and reasoning. When you're deep in it, it's hard to remember why you took such a big leap like quitting your job in the first place. But you must remind yourself every single day, every single hour if needed, why you left. Remind yourself that your future self deserves to live a more fulfilling life. Remind yourself that your dreams matter. Remind yourself that you're talented, strong, and courageous. Remind yourself that the path that you were on wasn't the right one for you, and you're taking this time to build a new one. If you constantly and consistently remind yourself of your whys then anxiety and depression won't have a place to live because your rationale and reasoning will be at the forefront.
Self-worth + Money
Ahhhh money. The thing that we all need because, well, life. For the first time, I'm broke. My pride as a young adult has always been having money in my checking account. I never had to worry if I had enough money and I never lived check to check. That felt good. But now, as I start this new chapter titled, "No Job and Trying to Figure Out My Life", I feel incredibly anxious because I don't know where my next check is coming from. Insert intense insecurity here, please. I realized I tightly wrapped up my self-worth with how many hours I worked and how much was in my bank account. Now that no one is logging the hours I'm putting in and the amount in my checkings + savings has stayed stagnant while the amount on my credit card has gone up, my self-worth has taken a hit. Why? Because I want to provide for myself. Because I want to relieve my parents of financially still having to help ya girl out. Because I want something to show for myself. You feel where I'm coming from?
the secret: Don't associate your worth with your money
Insecurity leads to low self-worth and low self-worth leads to more insecurity. Money is security, yes, but it's not the only type of security. We always think that if we just had a little bit more money we would be happier and more proud of ourselves. But, what not having much moolah to spare has taught me is to be resourceful. It's taught me to push my creativity even further. It's taught me the importance of diving in fully because I'm already in the thick of it so I might as well make this transition worth it and really build something I'm proud of...because I know the money will come one day. And for that, for learning to be resourceful, and creative, and driven, my self-worth is climbing and it's taking security with it. Having a lack of money sometimes reveals what is abundant in other places in your life.
Nobody tells you about the importance of self-care when it comes to quitting. They tell you that you should have another job lined up before you quit or have enough money saved, but no one talks about the emotional baggage that you'll be picking up and dragging along with you on your journey.
Ultimately, I learned that I am not alone in these feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and straight up panic. It's a pretty natural thing to feel when you choose to take the path that most people around you aren't taking. And if you reading this are on your path to transitioning into a new career/lifestyle just know that you aren't alone, either.
Remind yourself that this is something that you need to do for yourself and your future. It's time that you and I #livefearlessly whether we are absolutely ready or not.
You're going to have that deep, gnawing feeling of maybe I made a mistake/maybe I should of had a more concrete plan/maybe I should have saved up more money/maybe I should have waited a little longer before I quit...
So. Many. Maybes.
But, you can't think about the maybes and what-ifs. Yeah sure, maybe I didn't do this whole quitting my 9-5 thing right, but I'm in it now and there's only one option:
I can't tell you if you should quit your job or how you should do it, but, if you decide to take that leap, I caution you to do so gently. That's the ultimate secret: To treat yourself kind and gently during this transition period.
Take care of yourself. Take time to surround yourself with people. Take time to remember why you quit in the first place. Take time to remember your dreams are worth more than a dollar amount.
xo always, RAE
pssst. I'm writing a follow up to this post, "What It's Really Like To Quit Your Job, Have Dreams of Starting Your Own Business, and Struggle to Get It Together", because I've learned so much more + naturally wanted to share. When it's up I'll let you know!