If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s quitting.
Jobs that is.
I’ve quit four in the last two years alone. Well, one I got fired from after five days but they simply beat me to the punch by about a week. The other ones, I managed to hang onto for either months or years but it’s always the same with me. I start out really excited about the potential of a place and then slowly, I become frustrated with the way things are run until I’m completely miserable and not fun at all to be around. At this point I feel it’s my duty to spare my coworkers my horrible attitude and so I move on.
This time was no different.
Regardless of the fact that I actually did like the people I was working for, in fact, my most recent former bosses are the best I’ve ever had, at the end of the day, there were some fundamental differences between us that proved too difficult to overcome, so I split.
In the past, around this time, you could usually find me scouring the internet, looking for a new crappy situation to take the last one’s place. However, I think after seventeen years of never feeling satisfied with where I end up, it’s time for something new. A little while back I wrote a post called How To Have A Productive Day. It was birthed after reaching a breaking point in my “career” where I decided I no longer wanted one.
Careers have never been particularly appealing to me. If ever I pursued one, it’s been because it’s what I was supposed to do, not what I wanted to do. Careers mean working for other people. Paying your dues. Waiting your turn. Hoping for a promotion. Lobbying for a bonus. Years spent climbing your way up one, long, professional ladder for people who don’t care about you and only treat you well enough for you not to leave.
I do not want a career.
First, the idea of only doing one thing for the rest of my life seems somewhat daunting. Life, for me, is about experiences and to limit mine to one particular area of interest would be doing myself a disservice. Especially when that area of interest is removing unwanted hair from people via lasers that cause them a great amount of discomfort. I’m not knocking it. Being an esthetician has allowed me the freedom and financial stability to be able to travel whenever I want and live a considerably cushy lifestyle but recently the amount of pain I put my clients through on a daily basis is wearing on me. I can’t take it anymore. The squirming. The whimpering. At the end of the day I just want to shout at them all to sit still and shut the fuck up! which is really not the state of mind you want to be in when handling the most delicate parts of another person’s body.
Also, and I’ve said this before, but I can’t work for other people anymore. Quitting this last job was not something I did impulsively. I gave it a lot of thought because I knew that if I left this place, I would be leaving the spa business for good. Why? Because I’ve held several jobs in this industry and I’ve never been happy. Finding another one wasn’t going to fix my problem. Quite frankly, the problem isn’t with my employers. They’re all doing what’s best for them, which I can hardly blame them for. The problem is with me. I’ve never been able to fit into the models that my bosses have established for themselves. Which is why I need to establish my own. While I don’t necessarily want a career, I’ve always wanted to work, doing lots of different things. And that was only going to happen if I cut my losses immediately and moved on. However, coming to that conclusion wasn’t easy.
One of the toughest things about quitting my job was the thought of having to curtail my spending. While I’m not a person who’s careless with money, I’m really bad at being poor. The last time I quit my job I was seriously depressed about having to buy the cheap shampoo instead of my fancy brand. Not going to restaurants and having to drink at home instead of out with my friends was making me question whether or not I had made the right decision but over the last couple of months I’ve been doing some reading which has shifted my whole perspective. Thanks to David at Raptitude.com and the early retirement advice of Mr. Money Mustache I started to see things in a different light. For years, I had placed a huge importance on being able to buy expensive makeup or get a massage whenever I wanted to yet all the while I was giving away my most valuable possession day after day:
I had been devoting hours upon hours every week to pursuing someone else’s dream when the whole time, I had plans of my own that were being left unattended. And I was so unhappy doing it. Sunday evenings became the bane of my existence. The dread I would feel over having to go back to work Monday morning became overwhelming to the point where I was having weekly anxiety attacks and drinking just to get to sleep at night. That’s when I asked myself, if someone told you that you didn’t have to go to work tomorrow morning but it meant you couldn’t go out to dinner afterwards, would you stay home? The answer was so simple. I would kill to not have to go to work the following morning. I would do almost anything. Besides work that is. So why was I putting myself through this? So I could shop at Sephora instead of CVS for lip gloss?
And that’s when I quit.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting this is for everyone. I took serious inventory of my financial situation before making this decision and decided that I could get by for a considerable amount of time before seeing what I had done as irresponsible. However, since making the decision to leave my life in the spa business, a surprising amount of doors have opened up and I believe it’s because I’ve more fully committed myself to my own endeavors. I’ve felt more energized, creative and awake than I have in years and it’s led to some pretty exciting prospects. It’s funny, but I didn’t even realize how much my job was draining me until I didn’t have to do it anymore.
I’ve always been proud of my ability to quit a situation that wasn’t working for me. Granted it’s bordered on ridiculous over the years, with my tendency to jump from job to job becoming a source of amusement, if not high blood pressure, for my family. But at the end of the day, I think quitters get a bad rap. Life is too short to be stuck in something that isn’t right for you, especially when you have the opportunity to move onto something that is. In the past I’ve always felt a little scattered when I quit a job. Like I knew it was something I had to do but was still nervous because I wasn’t quite sure what I should do next. This time is different though.
They say luck is where opportunity meets preparation. I’ve spent seventeen years learning that working for other people isn’t for me. The last few, I’ve discovered what’s possible when I invest in myself.
I think I can confidently say, I’m feeling prepared.