A Year Can Change A Lot: Part 6

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 Missed Part 1, Part 2, Part 3Part 4, or Part 5?

One might think that I felt this huge sense of relief after I finally got the courage to quit.

Well, I didn’t. At all.

Quitting was very hard, but after the fact I actually felt more anxious than ever. Now I had to tell my coworkers. I had to tell Eric, my family, my friends. And aside from that, I had to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.

It would have been so much more safe to just stay at that job. And that is why it is so hard for many of us to leave a bad situation. Even as crappy as they are, bad situations are SAFE.

I knew what to expect everyday I came into work. Generally, that my day would be stressful. But that is what I got used to. And the days turn into weeks, and the weeks turn into months. I woke up unhappy each morning, but I just went through the motions.

Being someone who loves consistency, my biggest fear has always been not knowing what each day is going to bring. When you quit a job, all sense of consistency is thrown out the window.

After I quit my job and returned to my office, I called Eric. I was so shaken up I could barely get the words out.

He didn’t believe me at first. I mean, I had told him about a thousand times that I was going to quit. And I never found the guts to do it. I think he seriously thought that he was going to have to put up with me being miserable for the rest of our lives.

So when I told him, I did feel relief. I think I may have even smiled.

I just asked Eric what exactly he was thinking when I told him and this is what he said:

“I thought, ‘Bullshit. I’ve heard this before.”

Do I know him or what? ;) He also said that he was really happy for me once he realized I was being serious.

Telling coworkers is always interesting.

Many people were excited for me and I think were living through me vicariously. They told me they couldn’t wait to get out of there too and that I was awesome for standing up for myself.

Then there were the Debbie (or Donald) Downers- the coworkers who look at you with horror in their eyes and gasp, ‘Gee, in today’s economy I sure hope you find a job…’ and then their voice trails off. Try to avoid these people!  Those are most likely the people who will be stuck in that job for the next 30 years and will still be miserable.

After the secret was out, I started to feel a bit more calm. It was still an awkward situation, but I started to feel a sense of relief. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel whereas before all I saw was a big, black hole.

They tried to get me to stay much longer than 2 weeks. I had to stay firm. I knew that the hardest part was over, so I had to stick to my guns.

I’m a Taurus and when I make a decision, I stick to it! Once I make up my mind about something, I will see it through, even if that means I am stubborn. ;) So, no I didn’t waver on my two weeks. That was something that I would not let anyone take away from me. To be quite honest, they were lucky they got the 2 weeks.

And oh were those last two weeks absolute hell.

Do you ever get the feeling that someone is trying to suck you dry and take every last ounce from you while they have you? That is how I felt. Those last two weeks were some of the longest days I put in. I had a huge list of things that I ‘must’ complete before I left (or so I was told). I absolutely could not leave any loose ends. If I didn’t get everything done, I would have to stay longer than 2 weeks (yes, I was actually told that!). I probably would have walked out the door and never came back, but I didn’t want to leave things on a sour note. I held my head up high and worked my ass off those last two weeks. It was stressful because I knew there was no way in hell I had time to tie up everything.

In my job I was responsible for the research, analyses, written reports, and presentations for about 9 different divisions, in addition to managing the internal stuff. I was also given many editing, research, and data analysis tasks each week on top of all of this. The amount that I was responsible for was ridiculously huge and should have been designated to a whole research team. I knew there was no way in hell that I would be able to tie up the ‘loose ends’ in 2 months let alone 2 weeks.

Eric kept reminding me to just put in my 8 hours a day and try not to let it get to me. After all, I was leaving, right? He got me through those last 2 weeks. Eric and my family were my rock during those last 2 weeks.

On my last day, I was mixed with so many emotions. I had become friends with many co-workers and it was really bittersweet to leave. But ultimately, I knew that I was doing what was best for me.

And you know what I realized?

That stressful year really aged me.

I felt much older than I was.

My skin didn’t glow, my hair and nails were brittle, and I just felt plain old tired all the time. I was starting to notice fine lines on my face that hadn’t been there before. I know it was a result of frowning and crinkling up my forehead from the stress. I literally felt like a walking zombie. People at work asked me if I was sick and some of them told me that I needed to gain weight. I knew all of it was a result of the stress. Stress affects every single pore in our body. And I certainly could ‘see’ it when I looked in the mirror. I shuddered to think of what it had done to my insides.

On my last day, I packed up my desk, took down my picture frames, and walked out that door. I didn’t look back.

And that is when it hit me.

I felt free.

I smiled all the way to my car. I smiled all the way home. I had absolutely no idea what tomorrow would bring, but at that point, I didn’t really care. I suddenly, knew everything would work out. I surfed the radio stations because I was desperate to hear ‘Life is a Highway’ so I could rock out to it.

It never came on, but that didn’t stop me from singing it anyways.

I knew that I had to believe in myself. I was on my own. Well, not really since I am married, but in the sense of where I would take my career, it was now up to me. I realized that no one is going to look out for me, but me.

I think my biggest lesson of all was that I had to take control of my own life.

As much as I wanted to be ‘saved’ from my situation, it never would have happened. I secretly hoped that justice would be served and suddenly I would be in a happier position, but it doesn’t tend to work out like that. The truth is, had I not taken action, I would still be in the same situation almost 1 year later. It chills me to think that.

The simple answer to it all is this: If you want to wake up to a happier tomorrow you need to take control of your destiny. You need to take small steps each day to get there. Even if that tiny step is simply applying to 1 new job each night after you get home from work or taking a couple night classes in a subject area that you love. It is much better than doing nothing.

As I drove home that night, I said, “If you got through that, you can get through anything.”

And that has been my motto ever since.

In Part 7, I am going to talk more about the specific things I did that helped me take the leap. A lot of you have been asking for some concrete things you can do in your own situation, so I will tell you what worked for me.

~~~~

Enjoy your Tuesday! :)

Angela Signature thumb9   A Year Can Change A Lot: Part 6

“The first step to getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.” ~unknown

“Making the beginning is one third the work.” ~Irish Proverb

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{ 58 comments… read them below or add one }

Jess (Fit Chick in the City) October 6, 2009

I seriously cannot wait to read part 8! This series of posts totally rocks! Your bravery to do something to make your life better, is the best thing you could share with us. We should all learn that we are empowered to make change!

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Aoife October 6, 2009

I love that you used an Irish proverb at the end ;)

What an inspiring series of posts…seriously, I bet you have struck a chord with so many people! It sounds like you went through pretty much a year of hell to get where you are today, and you should be really proud of yourself. It definitely is easier to take the ‘safe’ option – but it’s not always the best decision, as you’ve proved.
Really looking forward to the next installment!
Thanks for being so honest.
Aoife/Sweetoblivion26

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Jessica @ How Sweet It Is October 6, 2009

Still lovin’ it. Don’t even have words. :)

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Michelle Gay October 6, 2009

I got my acceptance letter into the nursing program that I have been dreaming about for over a year TODAY! WOO HOO! Had I stayed with my job that I’ve been in..I would be longing from the bitter sidelines. I totally know what you mean. Like my mom said ‘honey, it’s like jumping into a cold pool, it’s harsh at first, but then you get used to it and it isn’t so bad’

So, jump in! ~M

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 6, 2009

CONGRATS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! whohoo!!!!

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Emily October 6, 2009

you should write your memoirs!

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Jess October 6, 2009

I’m loving these posts – they are so so so wonderful and I get chills reading them!

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Anne P October 6, 2009

i am LOVING this series! i was reading your blog back then when you were still working, and it’s really interesting to see what was actually going on. good for you :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 6, 2009

Thanks guys! xo

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Lizzie October 6, 2009

Bad situations are SAFE. Wow – that’s it, right there! And bad can be on so many levels. I guess any situation where you aren’t realizing your personal goals or not feeling yourself/happy/satisfied (but not too satisfied :)) is bad. Great post Angela! You really should be writing a book on your experience and the insights you gained from it.

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krissy October 6, 2009

It is amazing what stress can do you. The sad part is there are so many zombies walking around out there just doing the motions to get through the day – if they only knew what it felt like to really LIVE life :) I’m so happy you took the leap and are able to share it with us :)
xooxo

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Rachel October 6, 2009

I love this – it reminds me that all sometimes all we need is to take the first step towards what we want. Just one step can change everything. You’re so motivating!

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Morgan @ Life After Bagels October 6, 2009

I am loving this series of posts. About a month ago I put a quick post up of bullet points comparing my summer 2009 (which was awesome) and my summer 2008 (which was hell). You are right, it’s amazing how much can change in a year.

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kay (eating machine) October 6, 2009

this is fantastic to read! and you’re a lucky lady to have a supportive husband for all of this… i don’t have a job right now (thanks economy!) and i have realized i’m beating myself up about i a whole lot less than my classmates i graduated with… but i also have a fiance who tells me every day that i’m wonderful, that he doesn’t care if i have a job, and that everything will work out fine…

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Claire October 6, 2009

That’s such a great feeling,isn’t it? I’ve been through that before.I actually stayed an extra month(I know, insane)I wanted to help train the new manager.Instead of her trying to learn from me, she tried to guilt me into staying!hahaha…didn’t happen.Thank you for sharing your experience.It’s helps to know we’re not alone in those trials:-) cc

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Jolene October 6, 2009

I want more!!!!! Did you have anything at all planned? Or just some money in the bank?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 6, 2009

PART 7!!! hahaha

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caitlin October 6, 2009

TRUTH TRUTH TRUTH

“If you want to wake up to a happier tomorrow you need to take control of your destiny. You need to take small steps each day to get there. Even if that tiny step is simply applying to 1 new job each night after you get home from work or taking a couple night classes in a subject area that you love. It is much better than doing nothing.”

TRUTH TRUTH TRUTH. SING IT SISTER!!!

Hell, I didn’t even have extra money in the bank LOL!

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Jenna October 6, 2009

This was so inspiring angela! :)

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Alicia October 6, 2009

I’m working on a much slower move, and not out of hating my current job. In fact, I really like my job. I like it so much it makes it very hard to want to leave. And it provides me with fantastic health care and retirement benefits, things I’d have to give up if I get into business for myself.
I’m having a very hard time weighing those against the intangible feeling that I should do what I want to do.
I’d love some advice about how the change to independent business happened in terms of benefits.
Thanks Ange!

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chandra h October 6, 2009

this is sooo motivating and inspiring to read, angela! you are such a talented writer, your words make me feel! lol that sounds corny, but seriously. you’re awesome :) can’t wait to read more

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Rhonda October 6, 2009

Hi Angela! I absolutely love your website. I can’t remember how I found it, but I’m sure glad I did. I just got the courage to quit my job too. Six years ago I thought moving to the city from a small town would be the right thing to do. Present time: I hate my job, hate the city, and I’m almost 80 lbs. overweight. I’m moving back to that same small town to my grandparent’s house and am going to get my life–and my health–back in order. I think by far this series you’re writing now has been my favorite. You should write a book (on top of everything else, LOL).

Thanks so much! Know that you’re loved in Texas,
Rhonda

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Hannah S October 6, 2009

So inspiring! I am a new poster, but having been reading your blog for two+ months. I’m getting ready for a career change myself and just got goosebumps reading how you felt so free.
I will e-mail you shortly to further introduce myself!

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Sarah @ The Foodie Diaries October 6, 2009

You are such a great storyteller! I can’t wait for the next part!

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Whitney @ Lettuce Love October 6, 2009

I hope that I can have the ‘quitting experience’ by summer. I know that it is going to happen but I am not sure exactly when. I am excited to read the next installment of your life!

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Cate October 6, 2009

You are so inspiring! I’m actually in a similar situation right now… I’m leaving my job in 9 days with no plan other than a one way ticket out of the country and I couldn’t be happier!

I recently found your blog and I adore it… I only wish I’d seen it sooner! I spent the better part of the weekend reading old posts. You’re amazing!

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Shelly October 6, 2009

I really enjoyed reading parts 5 and 6! I felt so relieved for you! I totally agree with you about the stress making you unhealthy. When I was in grad school, I didn’t have time to take care of myself and I think it really showed in terms of me carrying around a bit of extra weight and having tired, dull skin. My hair and nails grew at a snail’s pace and I was sick all the time. I caught walking pneumonia one semester, then a chest cold right after I got over that. Next it was strep throat. And during all that I never missed work or took a break from studying because I was too afraid to. I refused to rest and it retrospect, it was horrible for me! Having time to take care of myself has made such a difference in my health! It’s wonderful. :)
I don’t know about you, but another thing I remember from that time is that not only was I not taking care of myself physically, I also stopped caring about putting on makeup or paying much attention to what I was wearing. A big sign for me that I’m losing myself is when I stop caring about how I look, because getting dressed up and wearing makeup and doing my hair is something I do for myself that makes me feel good. When that goes, I’m at the point where I don’t have the energy to do anything nice for myself at all. It is a bad place to be and I was definitely there when I was in grad school.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 6, 2009

I wouldnt say that I stopped caring, but I definitely noticed that I didnt look as good as I could…and I felt like there was nothing I could do about it. My skin was sallow looking. I think I actually tried using more makeup to compensate for it, but it didnt work. I had huge undereye circles.

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Stephanie October 6, 2009

Must be so freeing to walk out of such a soul sucking palce.
Congrats on having teh guts to do so.

Question for you… You said you moved into the In-laws place.. Are they still living there with you? Did you buy the house from them?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 6, 2009

I’ll talk about this in my next installment! :)

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Rachel A October 6, 2009

Thank you for sharing your story. You are such an inspiration!

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Maria October 6, 2009

Thanks for sharing. I really need to make a job change in my life. I wish I had your courage. I keep hoping something new will work out for me, but so far I am stuck. I hate that feeling. Again, thanks for sharing! You are amazing!

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Diana October 6, 2009

:)

That’s all I can “say” right now about this post, honestly.
These series are interesting and inspiring. Keep ‘em coming!

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Mo October 6, 2009

AWESOME! How many of us are saying, “…that’s my life…that is how I feel, etc, etc…” And we get to see how you took charge of your life and now are living your dream. It’s amazing! I feel SO lucky to have found your blog so that I can be inspired by you. Congratulations on living such a good life – you rock!

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Dana (www.eatsleepgetfit.com) October 6, 2009

Just wanted to say that I love your site, and you are an inspiration.

In my most recent post, I gave you some link love!

http://www.eatsleepgetfit.com/2009/10/you-can-be-runner.html

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Cynthia (It All Changes) October 6, 2009

That free feeling is awesome! I love that you stuck to it and are much better for it.

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observer October 6, 2009

“‘Gee, in today’s economy I sure hope you find a job…’ and then their voice trails off. Try to avoid these people! Those are most likely the people who will be stuck in that job for the next 30 years and will still be miserable.”

Is that a fair comment to make? Some people have no choice but to stay in their jobs because they have too much debt, family obligations, etc. Even if they are miserable. And as a Canadian, you have privilege of not worrying about your health insurance if you do quit. When you are so far in debt and without a spouse or family to support you, you often do not have the choice of being “happy” – you have to work to live.

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Rachel October 6, 2009

I think Ange’s point is that they’re “stuck” and often envy those who CAN move on.

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caitlin October 6, 2009

angela’s not saying you need to quit your job to be happy, she’s saying you need to find a job that makes you happy.

if you’re just working to pay the bills, you’re not really living. there are millions of jobs you can do and some will make you happier than others.

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Menden @ Skinny Menny October 6, 2009

Hi Angie,

I feel like I’m reading my own story here. Thank you so much for posting this. I’ve been trying to come up with a plan to get out of my own tough work situation, and feel like I’m spinning my wheels. It’s such an inspiration to read about others who came up with that courage to just say “enough is enough.” I’m hoping to be one of those people soon! So thanks again- I know you hear it a lot, but you’re an inspiration to me too :)

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Ali October 6, 2009

Angela:

I love this! Can’t wait for Part 7! Thanks for sharing this story with us, it is super important for a lot of people to read!!!!

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Abby (Abbys Vegan Eats) October 6, 2009

I have been following your blog for awhile and I am LOVING these posts. I am currently in a very similar situation with my job and am planning on not returning after the Christmas break! I appreciate your honesty and cannot wait to keep on reading! :)

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Sana October 6, 2009

Thanks so much for sharing your story with us :)!

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Lynna October 6, 2009

Your point about bad situations being safe is so true and the way you phrased it really hits home. I can also totally relate to what you were saying in Part 5 about how you never thought you would be the one to make a spontaneous life-altering decision because you like to have a plan. I’m the same way, so knowing that someone like myself was able to take small steps that ultimately resulted in a huge change is very inspiring for me!

Thanks again for sharing!

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Ester October 6, 2009

Oh, my…How much this resonates to me!
Greetings from Barcelona!

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Priyanka October 6, 2009

You are a great writer!

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