I had someone ask the other day about leaving my job. In the world of IIN, nearly everyone is hoping to someday leave behind an unfulfilling job and become part of the ripple effect to change the world. I was one of those people. I know a lot of those people. Many of them have told me that my leap of faith has been an inspiration to them. Let’s just say it was a long. time. coming.
Things are about to get real up in here. I’m coming at you today from the depths of my soul to reflect on things that haven’t fully been resolved in my mind. These details are still very raw with me. I’ve written this post about 1,000 times in my head and haven’t gone forward with it, so bare with me.
I don’t want to get into all of the gory details. I’m just about six months out from when I left and I still have nightmares and wake up in a cold sweat. I wasn’t forced to work long hours for unreasonable pay. It was the exact opposite— I rarely worked more than 40 hours a week and I was extremely well compensated. In fact, that’s really why I stuck around for as long as I did. I felt like I was crazy to leave something that was paying me so well. But I realized that money ain’t everything. Seriously.
About a year before I pulled the plug one of my good friends quit. She too was unhappy with the job. She said something that really stuck with me— “your health is not more important than the money.” I didn’t quite understand how a job could be making her sick, but I took her word for it and understood that when the time had come to leave, I’d know it.
I became progressively less happy. I’d break down crying on Sundays at about 4:00 pm (yes, the Sunday Blues are a real thing). Uncontrollably. I’d get physically sick to my stomach during my morning commute. I’d get an email and start crying at my desk, only to run off to the bathroom and try to hide it in one of the stalls. I’d give myself a pep talk, dry the tears, and head back to my desk. During this time I think I spent more time in the bathroom crying and dry heaving than actually going to the bathroom.
It became clear to me that this wasn’t healthy. The job was making me sick. I still thought I would be crazy to leave even with my friend’s words of wisdom ringing in my ears.
I started classes with IIN in January and a few things became extremely clear.
- This was not healthy.
- I could not be healthy with this in my life.
- This job was severely inhibiting my ability to lose weight and was furthermore causing me stress which was causing more weight gain which was making me incredibly unhappy.
I knew something had to give. But these feelings weren’t constant. I’d go a few weeks feeling absolutely miserable. Then for a couple of weeks everything would be glitter and rainbows. I felt competent. I knew how to do my job. I didn’t feel appreciated for the work I did or accomplished at the end of the day. But it wasn’t that bad and it was really good money.
One day shortly after starting school I decided it needed to happen. I couldn’t take it any more and other facets of my life (my relationships, my schooling,etc) were suffering because of it. I decided to stick around for a bit longer, get my finances in order, and then I’d leave. I gave myself an actual deadline. I talked it over with the people that mattered and they were hesitantly on board.
That deadline approached a bit more quickly than I thought. I had my doubts. In fact I straight up thought “eh, things haven’t been so bad lately. I should probably wait it out a bit longer…ya know, save some more money”. I very nearly chickened out.
Fear of the unknown is a very real and scary thing. I think that’s why it took me so long. I needed to find the courage.
One Monday morning I came into work. There was a somewhat scary email waiting for me. In retrospect, I had gotten the same email many times before. But for some reason, this one really shook me to my core. I started having a panic attack. Literally hyperventilating at my desk. I have no idea how none of the other people on my team noticed it. I asked for some courageous thoughts from my classmates. Keep in mind, at this point, I’d only known these people in an online forum for about 2 months. But the friendships that had already sprouted gave me the support I needed.
It took me 30 minutes to compose the “sorry I’m not sorry” email. It took me another 90 minutes to actually hit send. And when I did it, I could suddenly breathe deeper than I had in years.
I smiled more in the days that followed than I had in the 3 plus years that I was there. Not just “smile for the cameras” smiles. Like legit smiles deep from within my soul. I cried. I was terrified. I almost said, “JK, I take it back. I’ll stay,” probably 85,000 times. But that leap of faith was probably the best thing I could have done for myself.
I’ve been told by some people that I’m the strongest person they know. That I have more courage than they could ever have. To that I call bullshit. I was in straight up survival mode. When you reach that point, you know it, and you can move mountains.
Six months have passed and I’m still not fully ok with the way things went down. The way things were handled. N still works there and when I left I said I would not be okay with ever attending an event that involved people from the company again. I’m still not sure that I’m in a place mentally that I could handle it.
I count my blessings daily. Yes, there are struggles. Working from home isn’t all cupcakes and puppies (well I guess actually it is, if the puppies are having accidents all over the place and being all Mr. Need Pants-y). I have my days where I can’t stand sitting here by myself. Where I think I jumped the gun a bit early because financially things aren’t quite where I’d hoped they’d be. But then I count my blessings. I remember that I am not needing to see a therapist. I am not depressed. I’m happy. I’m free.