October is my New Year. Autumn’s first crisp morning brings an awakening that midwinter celebrations and golden glitter confetti don’t provide.
It’s a slow countdown to October’s New Year:
The smell of school supplies, supple pencils and reams of ruled paper, wafts through every store.
Summer’s humidity dissipates, replaced by brisk nights.
The air tastes of smoke even if there’s no fire.
Leaves fall like confetti from the sky.
The natural world quiets and plants return to their soil. Autumn signals when old things must die so new things may grow.
So I quit my job.
Happy New Year.
With shaking breath I sat in a windowless conference room and put in my notice. Not because I didn’t love the people sitting next to me. Not because I was undervalued or had a bad job. I didn’t even have another position lined up to take its place.
I quit because corporate ad tech was a desert for my soul.
I was fortunate to have a full time job with benefits, good people, and free snacks to feed bored bellies. But after nearly three years, I hungered for more growth, more risk, and more meaning. I felt too comfortable at 24. I tumbled through college with a kaleidoscope of curiosities and passions only to find rote ennui in the business world. This is normal, they say.
I found it depressing, in the literal sense. I realized that I didn’t have to stay. I didn’t have to feel guilty and childish for wanting purpose in my days.
I perused open design tech jobs. I saw more muted buildings with the same corporate carpets and cold tile. I could taste the office air that would collapse my lungs and lull my eyes and brain into a foggy sleep. I didn’t want another soporific job. I didn’t want to sleep through my life.
When October arrived and Autumn wove through the trees with its slow New Year countdown, my brain shook off the year’s dust and my eyes cleared. My lungs filled with new air and I decided to finally take the jump. No backup. I quit.
I anticipated doubtful eyes from coworkers and family. I planned to pick up a freelance client or two to supplement my income while I searched for a new job.
Opportunities floated to my doorstep like the leaves on my porch. I picked up multiple clients. I filled my November with a variety of work and people from whom to learn. I took on a mobile startup, business design strategy, and branding communications design.
Suddenly freelance didn’t feel so temporary. It shifted from a bandaid for my bank account and other people’s concerns to something substantial.
October ended, I packed my desk and said my goodbyes. I left the office air and corporate carpet. I left the coworkers I had grown to love. The leaves settled. I’m starting work for my freelance clients this first week of November.
I have a lot to learn. I know this will be hard. But that’s the point.
Let the old things die so new things may grow ~~
Here’s to the new things.