Possibly the two most liberating (and scary) words that have ever come out of my mouth.
Today marks the 1 year anniversary of quitting my old job.
One year ago today, I was not in a good place. I was unhappy, depressed, anxious, and fearful of what the future would hold. Despite these feelings, I knew that I wanted to be happy with my career.
One year ago today was quite possibly one of the lowest moments in my life. After quitting, I walked down the office hallway in shock, literally shaking from what just happened. I sat at my desk in shock. I called Eric on the phone and whispered, ‘You’ll never believe what I finally did’, my hands still shaking.
What was I going to do?
Despite all of this, there was a small, glowing flame inside me that started to light up. It burned a bit brighter the day that I quit my job. Each day thereafter, it burned brighter and brighter. After 7 years in university and a few unfulfilling research jobs, I was finally able to sit down, take a deep breath, and really think about what makes me happy.
All of this time, this was the one crucial thing that I had not done. Yes I had written the exams, the GRE’s, gotten letters of recommendations, and straight A’s, but the one thing I did not do is stop to think about what I wanted.
I always did what I thought was expected of me or what career I thought would pay the most money. Both of which, would never make me a happy person, but kill that glowing flame inside my heart until it is no longer burning at all.
I have grown up a lot in the past year. I have struggled with self-doubt and worries that have almost paralyzed me from moving forward with my dreams. There were several times when I almost called it off because I was scared. There have been a lot of tears over the past year, but there have also been many more smiles and exciting moments than I have had in the past 7 years combined.
The past year has really shown me that I can choose a life that I will be happy with. I can make choices every single day to create happiness in myself. I can work my ass off at something I love and feel extremely rewarded.
And most of all, I never have to settle for something that isn’t a right fit for me.
Sometimes it takes us to experience a career field before we know that it just isn’t right for us. Or, we go to law school when we really secretly have always wanted to open up a cupcake shop. Most of the time, we figure out things as we go. There aren’t really any ‘mistakes’, but experiences and the key is to make them learning experiences.
We make the best choice that we can at the time.
When we lost a family friend, Chris, to cancer just prior to our wedding in 2008, I started to question a lot of things in my life. Chris was the same age as Eric and he grew up with Eric. Losing someone so young made me question my own life, choices, happiness, and goals. I decided that I would do something to change my situation. I realized that my time on the earth was not something to take for granted any longer.
While it took me another 6 months to finally get the courage to leave my job, once I said those two words, it was instantly a new beginning for me.
I don’t want to think about what my life would be like today, had I not had the courage to take a leap of faith.
Today I celebrate stepping outside my comfort zone, challenging myself as a person, and deciding that I deserve to be happy.
Have you ever decided to leave a bad situation or a job/college major because it wasn’t a good fit for you?
For a full recap of how I changed careers, check out my ‘A Year Can Change A Lot’ Series:
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, and Part 9
Reach for the stars, even if you have to stand on a cactus.
Your entry today really is the most inspiring one of them all. I actually just quit my job last week becasue it just wasn’t for me. For the last six months, I have not been happy with who I was. I was lazy and moody and not the cheerful person I always was. I started to look at my life. If I stayed at my job, I was scared that I would turn into a misrable person who I did not want to be. When I put my notice in to work, everyone in the office thought that it was so strange that I was leaving a great job to go back to retail. I felt like I was breaking up with my job becasue I kept saying, “It’s not you, it’s me”. I think you have to do things that are right for you and that make you happy. My brother said to me one day, “You never have to work another day in your life if you love your job.” And now I will live by that.
I just started reading you blog and I am hooked!! I think you are awesome!!! Your daily entries have really made a difference in my life. I started to incorporate healthy eatting and workouts into my life and I feel great. Thanks for everything!
“You never have to work another day in your life if you love your job.” — I love that!
Hiiiiiiiii! I have been reading your blog but just realized that these past few days I haven’t been commenting! So I just wanted to say hello!
CONGRATS on making that huge decision 1 year ago. I truly believe that we aren’t given anything that we can’t handle, so even though quitting was hard and scary, good has come of it. And congrats on being an inspiration to so many. I know there are plenty of people who are unhappy in their current situations, but are too scared to do anything. Even if they don’t act today or tomorrow or next week, I hope that your story will inspire them to one day take control of their happiness! :)
I think you should celebrate by baking… wait, um no… by NOT baking for the evening! :)
Angela, what a timely post!! I’ve been struggling with a career related issue for some time. Thank you for reminding me of that the most important thing to take into consideration while making my final decision is myself and what will truly make ME happy!!
Have a fabulous weekend :)
What a great post. I too made that very hard decision about a year and a half ago. I thought I’d never stop crying…but slowly realized it was for the better and the decision has increased my happiness by unbelievable levels. Cheers to you for having the courage!
I changed majors my junior year of college and am about to graduate at 25 with a major I love. Sometimes I feel a little behind compared to my peers, but I can’t imagine how miserable I’d be if I stayed with my old major. Good for us!!
Happy Anniversary! Unfortunately, I am now where you were then. Just got back from a week of vacation and am already starting to dread Monday. Good for you to make the change.
Happy Birthday Sketchie!!!
Happy Anniversary! Thanks so much for the inspiring post.
This is so inspiring! It just goes to show you that with a little courage, everything will turn out ok :)
Happy Anniversary!!! I’m currently in a job I hate. I’ve been there for 6 years and I’m still treated like someone who just started where other employees have started and become part of the “group” almost immediately. I’ve never completely felt like I fit in. And you’ve been there 6 years you ask? The flexible schedule allows me to work around my husband’s schedule since we have one car and I kept talking myself out of quitting.
I am in the process of getting ready to leave my job but this year my focus is to finish school (August 2010), save as much as possible since our savings are a little sparse, and try to pay off some of our debt.
You’ve inspired me to work harder so I can make the changes I want to this year. I should have been done with school last February but fear of failure has slowed me down to the point where I’m only a session ahead of where I was last year and very far behind where I should be now. Instead of panicking I’m going to take your advice from your story and work on something small (assignment, reading, review) everyday.
My task this evening is to write my resignation letter with August’s date on it and print it out. I won’t be giving it to my boss yet but I’m also going to put something to the effect of “6 months until you don’t have a job” on my calendar. I’m approaching it as a goal I have to meet and in order to meet it I need to concentrate on school. My way of fighting the fear of failure and change I’ve been combating for a while now.
Happy Birthday to one very cute cat!
this post is awesome! so inspiring!! i’m very happy in my job, but you get me fired up about exploring other ideas i have brewing in my mind! thanks so much. you really rock! : )
Happy birthday Sketchie, from Ninja and Pancakes! And happy change-iversary to you Angela – amazing what can happen in a year!
today is the perfect day for this. I have been studying psychology for the past four years. I graduate college in may and had no idea what I wanted to do. I looked into graduate school in social work because I knew it was one of the only things i could do with my major without going to school for my doctorate. For the longest time i wanted to go into nursing but knew it was too late to change now. well today, i asked not to do my internship that is supposed to start monday, enrolled in a biology class instead..and met with an advisor to do a one year nursing licensing program. I HAVE NEVER FELT BETTER! for the past years i have felt like i was working toward something that i didnt want. today i am excited to work harder than ever in the coming year.
The most liberating thing that one can for themselves is to stand up for who they are..even if they’re not sure. Just saying ‘Nope not doing that anymore’ is empowering.
I was in a mudane job and I knew that it wasn’t going to go anywhere. I went to East Timor in July and decided after going that I was going to go back to school to become a nurse. I am taking on over 60,000/debt and giving up two of my adult yeast to be a nurse. However, one I made the decision I knew that it was the right now.
It’s funny cause there’s all this talk that pops up into your brain–mainly financial–that limits us. However, I know that when it’s the right decision the worry is still there but everything falls into place. It’s almost easy, meaning that it just flows even when roadblocks come about.
Good on you.
I think everyone goes through this. We’re forced to pick a career path when we’re 16 and then stay on the trail because we’ve already invested so much time into it… it’s a vicious, never ending cycle.
I’m definitely going through this, to a certain extent right now. It’s such a comfort that others have felt the same way and now have such a great success!!
Congrats on everything you have done in the past year! It was 13 months ago I quit a job that was making me miserable. I was terrified, because I had no back-up job, but now I’m focusing full-time on nursing school and I love it so much. It’s hard and occasionally, I think “man, things used to be easier,” but I’m so much happier now!
Congratulations, happy anniversary, and thank goodness you started Oh She Glows! It’s very difficult to leave a path that is certain (even if it’s certainly miserable) for the unknown.
PS-Happy birthday, Sketchie!
Yayyy!! Congrats Angela!! What a perfect way to celebrate :D As you know, I recently left a job that was oh-so-wrong for me to be a personal trainer. Training isn’t the be-all-end-all for me, but it’s a step in the right direction. The first of many positive steps I hope :)
Great post Angela and happy 1 year anniversary of happiness! I think too often we equate quitting with failure, or taking the easy way out, when it can actually be the hardest yet best thing to do.
I’m stubborn and always had the mentality that you had to stick with whatever you start so I understand how scary it is to identify when you need to make a change. Congrats!
I can’t help it! You’ve inspired me to blog! I am seeking clarity and balance with a seaside flare. Trying to avoid food as a focus, but we’ve already installed the BBQ on the back railing. Check out our 25″ sailboat adventure!
Congratulations!! You are such an inspiration – I cannot begin to tell you how much reading your blog has changed my life. I only came across it a few weeks ago but your Road to Health series has already started me off on my journey. I hadn’t yet read the “A Year Can Change A Lot” and I am now only on Part 6 but SO MUCH is resonating (as well as keeping me on the edge of my seat!) I have literally just now applied for a savings account because of your post about how savings gives you choice (same old story – in a job I hate but have dreams of something happier!) I have thrown out my scale and started to eat more and more healthily. From helping me with my eating disordered thoughts (the post I just read about “default thinking” is AMAZING and filled with practical advice, as is all the advice about binge eating) to career guidance and inspiring me to save money – your blog has helped me so much.
I feel so lucky to have found it – I can’t beleive it is only a year old and has so many stellar posts that are touching and relatable and helpful. Thank you so much for posting your journey xxx
This was very nicely composed. I immediately started thinking of my “anniversaries”. . .
My “quitting” my job was strategic, I had planned in for months, and everything figured out for the next year, and this worked well. But finally getting to a career that I love and can see myself for the long-term was something of a leap of faith. Everything was perfect about the job except the field: I didn’t know anything about aviation a year ago. I remember telling myself, “OK, just try this for a year, give it all you have, and then you can leave if it doesn’t suit you.” Wow — I’m so glad I was willing to try new options!
Angela, your posts are amazing. I am in that place where you were last year, and reading about your journey gives me such inspiration to keep striving for a better situation. I am a lawyer now, and it is a career that has felt completely wrong from day 1. However, due to student loans I managed to stick with it for 5 years out of financial necessity. Now that I’ve dug myself out of that hole, every day I think to myself, “I must find a way out.” I have no idea where my future will take me, but reading your blog makes me feel a little less trapped, and reminds me that it is possible forge my own path despite life’s challenges. Thank you.
Wow. . . only a year! I must tell you that I think you are sooooo fabulous at this blog-thing you got going! You seem like a seasoned pro at it all! Everything is so well-written and your personality shines through (and that is a GOOD thing!). An ‘air-toast’ to you to many more years of success with your business-and I hope you never give up the blogging!
Congrats on your one year anniversary of turning your life around in the direction that makes you happy! You are such an inspiration to me. And you help me to know that even if my goals right now don’t work out as planned(what ever does), that I WILL find happiness one day if I listen to myself.
Happy bday to Sketchie!
That post was so inspiring. Really. I’m at a job right now where I’m *content,* but I don’t know how long that’s going to last. As a recent college grad, I feel like I don’t have the opportunity yet to “chase my dream,” instead I just have to make as much money as I can….
That’s one of the reasons I started my blog. I needed to have something that was *mine*….part of my passion in life. It really has made my 9-5 job much bearable because I know that I have blogging to come home to :) I hope that I have the courage to make changes in my life as soon as I’m unhappy with things. Your honesty and optomism is definitely an encouragement, so thanks :)
yay for you! about 3 yrs ago i had a high stress job with crazy hours…i cried most days, was too stressed to eat (at one point a coworker informed me that i looked like an anemic cancer patient), and was prescribed ambien after being awake for days because my internal clock was so screwed up…then i had my first run-in with a supervisor b/c i refused to stay until 3 am one night (there were many others to ask and i had the most 3rd shifts that week and my dad just had surgery and i was so tired i feared i’d make a mistake and hurt someone- i am a blood banker so it’s a real possibility!)…and the next day i put in my notice. it was the most irresponsible thing i’ve ever done. a week after i left i was offered a higher position elsewhere. it’s hard to decide what we need to be happy, but it’s always worth the struggle when we find out!
Wow- what a great story! And, I’ve loved reading through others’ comments as well.
I agree with others, many of us face situations like you did a year ago.
Your courage is inspiring. It hopefully makes the tears worth it.
You are very courageous and oh so inspiring! I have recently started a journey towards a healthier life and I’ve enjoyed reading your blog and getting ideas and inspiration along the way. I too have started to think about where I am and where I could be if I had the courage to step out of my comfort zone. I can’t wait until I can celebrate my quit-iversary some day.
Happy Belated Anniversary, Angela! I hope to be able to talk to you more about this very soon :) I’m sorry to be so MIA lately – but I will be in touch soon, m’dear!
i just saw this post and i’m so glad i did… first congrats on your anniversary and congrats on taking the leap of faith a year ago to leave your job.. i am going through a very similar transition and it’s not easy.. i have been in graduate school since last year and working a very stressful job and realized that i couldn’t handle both so i decided to take a break from school which was such a hard decision for me.. but i needed to as my stress level was insane… thanks for this post, i needed it..
Hi Angela! I’ve been reading your blog for awhile, but this is my first time leaving a comment. After reading your story about how you changed careers, I just have to let you know that your courage has been a huge inspiration to me! I have found myself coming back to read your story over and over because I have been working up the courage to leave my job and start up my own independent business. I am nervous, anxious, scared etc. but most of all excited to do something new. Just as you were at one time… I have been miserable for well over a year at my current position and finally decided I just can’t it anymore. Your story has definitely inspired me to take this huge leap of faith and has shown me that taking a risk to find happiness is worth more than playing it safe! Thanks a million :)
Like so many others, your blog has been inspirational to me. Tonight specifically I was feeling really anxious about my thesis project. I am going into my second year now, and i am still struggling with making a solid proposal- the politics you described in earlier posts were bang on- what will be most appealing vs. what do i WANT to write? will my supervisor approve? am i asking important questions or am i totally insane?!
I have in the past left jobs that made me unhappy, under-appreciated and worthless, but they were never careers- it was a lot easier to say sayonara to a restaurant manager then to my seemingly destined life path…haha
I would not say that I have reached that point where I want to leave, but I will say that you helped me relax (even if only for tonight) about the outcome of this grueling process. Seeing your graduation pictures were somewhat a foreshadowing of my fate (for i know, like you I will not give up before finishing)! Yet, keeping the bigger picture in mind, I will definitely continue to reconsider the next step of my future (PhD) and nurture the new dreams which have spawned from my current doubts.
I always used to like the old statement: “just do your best!” But thinking about it more closely, it doesn’t mean working as well as you can at something that disables you in other areas of your life. You can only do your best if you are feeling your best, and in some things we do, that just isn’t possible, is it? You are a great example of doing what makes you your best!
Congratulations and thank you for sharing your insights which are always so helpful and reassuring; I hope that in some indirect way, I can one day return the favor.
Hi Angela, Your story is so inspiring. I stumbled across your blog a few weeks ago and have been hooked ever since. I have been reading it while I”m meant to be studying.. studying for a job that is currently making me extremely depressed and unhappy. When I read your story I started to cry because it just reminds me so much of everything I have been going through and for what?! Unfortunately right at the moment I can not quit however because of money problems but your story really opened my eyes.. wide! Anyway continue blogging I love reading your posts. Thanks, Melissa
Inspiring story! I am still in a job that leaves me empty and bored on good days and leaves me terribly depressed on the bad days. I am faced with lots of student loan debt taken out, ironically, to get me exactly the career I have but now don’t want. I will have to make more of a dent in that before I can utter those sweet words, “I quit!”.
Angela, you are such an inspiration to me. I recently quit my job and debated with this decision for about 6 months. Although, I am currently on rocky grounds, I have never felt happier, optimistic and simply thankful for all the things I have despite not having a job. I ran across your blog by accident looking for a wheat berry recipe lol. I am 25 years old and I refuse to just go with the motions , like so many people I know do, just to secure money and a comfortable living without truly taking time to discover their true callings in life. I am glad I found your blog and your success story.
I’ve just stumbled across your blog as I’m pondering my own blog (but I’m so indecisive it’s unreal!).
I am someone who is currently stuck in a job that has caused me the most crippling anxiety, but I am petrified to leave. I have spent the last 5 years of my life training to do this job, and I just don’t know if I could justify it. It’s awful that I feel my well-being and mental health is second best to my career.
I hope I discover the same courage that so many other people have to leave, get better, and pursue a passion.
Perhaps i was meant to discover this blog today.
This was such a beautiful post! I know I’m pretty past-due on reading it, but that doesn’t stop it from being inspirational.
I accidentally started my family off while I was in the middle of college. I was excited about my daughter, but in the stress of being pregnant and making ends meet, I quit college. On the one hand, it was a terrible waste of money. On the other hand, I wasn’t happy with where I was going anyway, and I wouldn’t have done anything with the degree. With a new daughter to support, though, I ended up making my part-time job a full-time job, and it turned into a career in banking. The truth is, I hated it. Every day, I hated it. Finally, when my daughter was 4, I took the leap of faith and decided to quit my job. My husband supported my decision, because I’d been lamenting about wanting to do it for awhile. I wanted to be a freelance artist.
So one day, in 2012, I did it. I hung up the phone after a particularly nasty phone call with a general contractor who had nothing but terrible things to say to me, and I smiled and said, “That’s the push I’ve been needing. I’m DONE.” I quit. Then, for the next week, I bawled and panicked and kept asking my forever-patient husband, “WHAT HAVE I DONE!?” I was like Rapunzel in my daughter’s favorite scene out of “Tangled” where she goes back and forth between terror and exhilaration after her freedom from the tower.
I tried to be an illustrator, but to be honest, I was afraid. I was afraid of failing, so I never tried very hard. I was afraid of succeeding, too, I think. I gave it a very meager go, and then fell into a hole of depression. I lost my creativity, I lost my will to decorate the house.. even cleaning everything was monumental. 3 years later, I’ve finally decided [with dread,] to suck it up and go back into the work force. We can afford me being home, but if I had an income, we could do so much more. We could travel, buy a new couch, upgrade our old cars…
But gosh, how nice it would have been if I’d actually tried harder..! I am inspired by your vigor and your bravery. This post was only written a year after you quit, but I can see by the website that you’ve turned your hard work into success… it inspires me to maybe give my dream one last go and release the fear of failure….