Ever got so frustrated with your work that you almost quit your job? I hear ya. Long hours, toxic culture, lack of appreciation or sense of purpose. The concept of burnout isn’t exactly new. What’s new is that now we’re hearing about it more and more, and thankfully so. However, there’s still a bit of stigma around calling it what it is and deciding enough is enough. Could be the social conditioning that makes us seek security, lack of knowledge that leaves us unprepared or a simple but timeless fear of what people would say. Along with some more genuine ones like a sense of responsibility towards our families, the pros outweighing the cons and the fear of taking our privilege for granted, these factors can really blur our sense of decision making – potentially leaving us chained to a place we should have moved on from.
Well, I cannot speak for everyone ofcourse, and each person has their own set of unique challenges and situational factors at play. What I CAN do however, is tell you my own experience from a few years ago and hope that helps you navigate a little better. Which brings us to our topic – I quit my Job without a backup offer….. And here’s what I learned.
#Convincing yourself to go through with it is going to be harder than actually doing it:
They say we aren’t afraid of the dark, but of what might be waiting for us there. We’re afraid of the unknown. I know I spent weeks weighing out the pros and cons, speaking with friends and family, trying to make sure that I wasn’t making a mistake. You know what I learnt? That nobody could answer that for me because there wasn’t a correct answer. It all comes down to whether you’re truly unhappy in a place and have you taken all the measures you could have to improve your situation. If you’re sure of that, the the answer is clear – move on.
#People are going to judge your choices and advise you against them:
It’s hard enough convincing yourself to leave a sense of security and the source of your livelihood behind. But convincing others that you’re not a nut case for doing that? Well, that’s a whole other party! I still remember some colleagues and superiors asking me – “Do you have another offer? No? Then why are you quitting? You should wait. It’s not a big deal. This is how corporate is, it’s nothing personal. Look at that other guy”
At one point I had to lay it out for them quite bluntly – “I’m UNHAPPY here. And I’m not the other guy. We make our own unique choices and we’ll live with our consequences. This isn’t an impulsive decision. I’m simply prioritizing my mental health over a paycheck.”
Honestly? Still not sure they got it.
#Your skills are going to come in very handy:
Now that we’re past the hard part of breaking up with your organization, let’s talk about the process of moving on. This is where your skills come in handy. For example, I like to write (big surprise). , which helped me find a few freelance gigs and get by while I worked on myself. Ofcourse, it will take some effort to find these gigs, but you’ll be working on your own schedule and it will also give you some time to figure out your next step. Networking is also going to be your friend.
#You’re going to miss the money:
Remember the feeling of walking into a mall with your friends, spotting a cool pair of sneakers, swiping your card and coming back home happy? Yeah… that’s probably not gonna happen for a while, unless your freelance gigs pay as much as your regular job – the chances of which happening right away are pretty slim.
But here’s a silver lining. Rewind a little more to the time you used to survive on pocket money from your parents. Not a big amount right? And yet you made it work. That pinch you’ll feel is your ego and privilege leaving the room and humility making an entrance. You have plenty of shoes and your savings are to help you sail through healthy and well fed.
Cut back on those Friday club nights and Sunday brunches. You don’t need those. Your friends will either understand or make room for better ones.
#Your family and friends are going to be worried:
Unfortunately, we cannot control this outcome. Your family is going to be worried about you and it’s okay. As long as you understand where you’re going or even what you got out of, they’ll understand.
#You will have self doubt:
And a few sleepless nights. And a bit of stress. And a lot of questioning of your decisions. It’s okay. Keep reminding yourself why you did what you did and keep looking forward. Analyze what wasn’t working for you and what you want differently. That will help you narrow down your decision of where you want to go next.
#This is an opportunity:
Never forget, this is an opportunity to rebuild yourself into anything you want. As long as you keep your vision in mind and are persistent in your pursuit to find out what you want to do with your life, this decision won’t end in regret.
#Lethargy is dangerously comfortable:
And at last I leave you with a word of caution. While you may leave a job for the right reason, it is very easy to slide into the comfort zone of lethargy and “I’ll do it tomorrow’s”. Do not let that happen. These are the days on which you can selfishly invest in yourself without the excuse of the lack of time. Learn, research, start something, grow. Move on to something better.
At the end of the day it is okay to quit your job. For something better. For escaping toxicity. For your work life balance. Or maybe just because you need a break. As long as you understand that and are confident about your capabilities, you’ll be just fine.
That’s all for now Millennials… Till we meet again! Stay well and kick that burnout’s ass!
The Millennial Cult