It's the one thing they always tell you when you say you want to quit your job: "Don't leave unless you have something else lined up."
Well, guess what? I quit my job. I quit my well paying job. And I didn't have anything lined up. No plans. No nest egg.
And yet, it was the best decision I ever made for myself.
Here's a little background for you, so I can knock that "she's probably a slacker" thought right out of your head.
This is the first time in my life that I have been unemployed since I was 14 years old and got my first gig working at a local McDonald's. I wanted a cell phone, guys.
I worked my butt off in college where I studied to be a journalist. Once I graduated college, I landed my first official producer gig working for CBS News. (I know, right? Awesomeness.)
After five years, I walked away from it all. I walked away because it wasn't making me happy. I dreaded going to work for a place where I felt bullied and inadequate more often than I felt like I had a purpose. No matter what I did or how far I moved up the ladder, I never felt satisfied. I always felt like I wasn't where I wanted to be. I wasn't making enough money. I wasn't feeling valued enough. I wasn't getting the opportunities I really wanted for myself.
The list goes on and on.
It's true what they say: Quitting your job with nothing lined up is certainly a financial risk. I don't have health insurance anymore. I don't have a 401k or paid vacations like I used to have. I certainly don't have the big smiles and impressed looks I used to get from people when I told them what I did for a living.
But there is one thing I do have: myself. That was something my job took away from me — something money can't buy
In the book Leap, Tess Vigeland said it best: walking away from my five-year career definitely felt like I was breaking up with a long-term boyfriend. I realized after I did it that my identity was so wrapped up in my career. There was nothing more to me than my job: a clear off-balance that is almost always a sign of an unhealthy relationship.
That "breakup" was the best decision I ever made. Truthfully, having nothing lined up was an even better thing for me. Without jumping into the next big thing, I was able to free my mind to find myself again. Having nothing lined up allowed me to ask myself the important questions like, "What will make me happy?" and "Who exactly do I want to be?"
Having that clear space in my life has given me the opportunity to really explore new ideas, come up with a new game plan and really design my life the way I want to: uniquely and in as creative a way as possible.
I am now finding joy in areas of my life I didn't know were right in front of me all along. I am no longer traveling to an office where I once felt miserable. Instead, I am day dreaming about the amazing possibilities the future holds for me, and I am happy again. I am smiling more, laughing often and feeling inspired almost every minute of every day. I wouldn't change that for all the dollar bills in the world.
My advice? If you are thinking of leaving your job and walking away with nothing lined up, do yourself a solid and ignore the naysayers. Really reflect on what life would look like without your job. Listen to your heart. If your financial insecurities are holding you back from leaving something that is making you incredibly unhappy, stop for a minute and ask yourself what is most important. Money comes and goes, and it always has the same value. But you and your happiness are the most important thing.
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