3 Things I Learned After Quitting My Dream Job

I quit my dream job as a Product Designer for Classy two weeks ago without knowing how I would make money (I still don’t). All I knew is I wanted to get off the computer, explore Rio de Janeiro and make videos.

Working for Classy manifested after years of focus, persistence, and envisioning. I took advantage of opportunities as they came and was finally designing for a company with great values making substantial impact in the nonprofit sector.

But, after much internal debate and conflict, I realized I needed to step onto unfamiliar ground to continue growing, learning, and exploring. So, I radically shifted my world perception.

And, after two weeks of unemployment, I’ve learned three critical things about myself.

I crave growth and vulnerability

It’s not that I couldn’t have grown at Classy, I just couldn’t have done it as fast as I wanted. I once envisioned making six-figures working for a company like Classy, and now I envision 10x’ing my life in a myriad of ways.

None of my new goals can be accomplished working 8–12 hours a day with an income ceiling.

Some people are able to work on ‘side’ projects to transition out of their full time jobs. But, if you’re anything like me, you get obsessive about new ideas and need to dive in head first.

It isn’t possible for me to dive into a ‘side’ project head first while I’m trying to be the best I can be for someone else. I’ve tried and the quality of my work suffers.

A keystone marker of growth is vulnerability.

I used to feel vulnerable as a Product Designer, but that has disappeared. Now, a sea of vulnerable emotions flood over me when I think about creating content for friends, family, and strangers to see.

I fear rejection.

So, to put myself in a vulnerable position and grow, I’m publishing daily videos on my YouTube channel. I don’t know the first thing about making good videos, but that’s the kind of challenge I’m looking for.

I am an explorer

I asked Val, my incredible wife, when has she has noticed me full of passion and excitement for life.

She answered with a giggle, as if it was clear as day: “Whenever you’re talking about your ideas!”

I asked other people in my life, and in close second was, “when you’re traveling”.

Thinking of unknown futures, and what could be, excites and energizes me. This life is so vast, with as many possible paths as there are stars. I am not content walking the same line for the rest of my life.

I’ve tried to transform into a person of routine, but it has left me unfulfilled and numb to my true self.

Since I left my job, I have explored more neighborhoods of Rio than I have since I moved here. I’ve come home more exhausted from walking, skateboarding, and navigating the transit system than in recent memory.

I’ve also been the happiest and most content with my life in recent memory.

I’m not as introverted as I thought

Many people interact with me and think I’m an extrovert. Though, for the last five to six years I’ve felt more and more introverted.

It doesn’t matter how collaborative your design team is, or how often they talk to people using your software, designers spend a lot of time working on a computer, in solitude.

Eight to twelve hours per day staring at a screen…no wonder why I’ve felt more and more introverted.

In the last two weeks I’ve felt very connected to other people and I finally see the positive impact being social has on my mood and outlook.

I’ve even made a few new friends!

Take away message: Don’t just quit your job

This is not a case study to convince you to quit your job. It took me months of analysis to know it was the right move.

It’s now been two weeks since I stepped onto unfamiliar ground, and I’ve already learned why all of my ‘side’ projects fail, I’ve produced 15 videos, seen more of Rio than in the previous year, made new friends, and realized things I didn’t know about my true self.

This is simply a reminder that an unexamined life is not worth living.

What would you do if you quit your job? Leave a comment below.