Thinking About Quitting?...Do it. Trust me.
Earlier this year, I constructed two very detailed plans for quitting my job. The first fell through because it was completely illogical and would cost me a final paycheck (it involved just leaving the building and never returning…it was mostly a joke). The second was logical, gave me time to find a new job and ultimately let me walk away with the most money. So it was decided: on May 18th I would put in my two weeks notice and be a free woman by June 1st. I put it on my calendar, so you know I wasn’t kidding. But as the days went by, I saw the reality of my situation. Over the course of two months, I went on a total of four interviews (two of which were for unpaid internships) and I probably applied to at least 100 jobs. The closer I got to May 18th, the more I realized how unrealistic my plan was. I didn’t have a backup plan, I didn’t have any supplemental income and I didn’t have a fucking clue.
So here’s the thing about hating your job: it consumes you. There were weeks when I had to leave the office and cry in the bathroom because I didn’t know any other way to express my feelings. There were days when I couldn’t get out of bed and days when I couldn’t fall asleep. After multiple conversations with friends and family, it became clear to me that the effect that this job had on my mental health wasn’t worth it. So May 18th it was, not because I had a backup plan but because I just couldn’t take it anymore.
May 18th came and I never sent that email. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I got nervous, comfortable and probably disillusioned. I thought, what’s scarier than having the monotonous routine of working 40 hours a week doing something you hate? Having nothing to do. So I pushed it back, convinced myself that I could last three more months and quit two weeks before my one-year anniversary (again, another strategic move). And honestly, I was fine with that. I reached a point in early June where the idea of not having a routine didn’t scare me as much. I was looking forward to working on my passion projects while also searching for a job in an industry I actually cared about. The idea of quitting became a daydream that kept me sane.
And here’s the irony of it all: I was laid off 3 weeks ago. I was never going to reach that one-year anniversary anyway! As someone who has always quit jobs and has never been laid off, I can tell you that there’s something particularly damaging about having your income taken from you. The lack of personal agency in that decision has caused incremental ripples of mental chaos: I don’t remember the last time I ate a vegetable and my anxiety keeps me awake all night and it’s getting harder and harder to get out of bed in the morning. Turns out that some of my mental stability is dependent on control. I wasn’t surprised that I was laid off, I was surprised that I didn’t have a choice in the matter. And if I can’t control the situation, then how can I possibly anticipate and prepare for the outcome?
So why am I telling this story? There’s a part of me that just wants to write it down, that much is true. But there’s also a part of me that wishes I had taken the initiative on May 18th to make a choice. And if you’re thinking about quitting your job for the sake of your mental health, don’t hesitate. Just hit send.