How To Graciously Quit Your Job With No Regrets
I believe that behind each person who is presently engaged and dissatisfied with their employment, lies a person who flirts with the possibility of stepping out and creating something different. The issue is how to detach from a routine, a pay cheque and a step into the unknown.
There is however a possibility on the horizon only if there is a desire to plough on and do what needs to be done in order to create something new and different.
The secret sauce is the desire and the curiosity to see what lies on the other side of the employment fence.
I coached a client a while back that proved this point so clearly that it made sense to illustrate here in this article. I believe it’s imperative to illustrate not merely as theoretical cases, but as a real, living and breathing example.
Meet Tina (not her real name), she’s creative, smart, tenacious and ambitious whilst working as an Accounts Manager at a Marketing Company in the City.
One issue that continued to plague her daily grind, was her need to cling tightly to her employment as an Accounts manager — A role she absolutely loathed. She had instead been preparing to unleash her talents across the globe for quite some time.
Actually a very long time.
This also came with the added penchant that she lacked confidence and was plagued with anxiety at the very thought of leaving the ‘security’ of employment and ultimately the £3,000 monthly pay cheque that came with it.
She described herself as stuck when she awakened each morning, dreading the day ahead and the myriad of work she will be handed. There was not an end in sight to the endless jobs she had to do for her boss who never so much as whispered a ‘Thank you.’
Lurking underneath her carefully pressed managers uniform, Tina wanted to unleash her creativity and begin showcasing her beautiful portraits she had so carefully crafted and created in the basement of her flat. Long hours after work, nurturing her passion which she had been so desperate to unveil.
So it begged the question, why does she stay?
Why did Tina put herself through this endless misery?
The answer my friend is that Tina relies on security, which is the name used to describe her pay cheque which finances her rent, utilities, food and all monthly costs. She views her job (or rather the money she receives) as this thing called ‘security’, which on the one hand gives her life stability, yet on the other hand is making her miserable.
So what made Tina ditch her concept of security in less than 6 weeks?
First Lightbulb moment.
Tina engaged a coach to support her with getting clarity over what she needed to do next. During this time her assumptions were challenged and she learnt that security as we know it, is not outside of us, but inside each and every one of us.
Her job had nothing to do with security, in the same way that comfort blankets were not capable of giving us security when we were toddlers. If the opposite had been the case, we would all have our security blankets strapped to our sweaters.
We might have grown out of the comfort blanket as toddlers, but have replaced this childhood comfort blanket with a dead end job, bad relationship, and acute anxiety about money.
Tina had used her dead end job as her adult comfort blanket. She was clinging so tightly to it, that she was unable to see what was waiting for her if she would just let go.
Reflecting on what was keeping her in this dead end endeavour of a job, she realised the pay was not conducive to being able to save for her future. The hours were long, uninterrupted, and by the time she got home, her mood was so low, that her creative buzz was sapped.
Second Lightbulb moment.
As she continued to spend more time in self development, she learnt the importance of doing what she loved as regularly as possible. In this space, openness and flow ensues, which brings about insights and transformation. This was a huge moment for her simply because you can’t create out of depression and paralysis, but instead you create out of a space of joy and openness.
Let me introduce a short example to illustrate the above;
In 15th Centrury Morocco, the city was built by the most talented Berber artisans who created sumptious palaces. The interesting fact is that these Artisans could never predict how long their masterpieces would take to create or build.
This is because they only worked when they were in a ‘good feeling’.
The 15th century Moroccan Berbers had discovered the ‘good vibe’ before Tina’s 21st Century Life Coach had.
Third lightbulb moment.
Tina awoke to the fact that a year from now, she no longer wanted to be in this job. So what was stopping her from leaving now? She was aware there were certain stages she needed to get to before signing that resignation letter which she was so looking forward to handing her boss.
Manifesting the Good Vibes
Other than her beloved artwork, Tina had previously loved attending a dance class, but had missed a number of classes due to late working hours. She decided to put her foot down (literally) and stopped the unpaid overtime. Entering the dance class, she was awakened by the south american music which rang in her ears. Before she knew it, her hips were moving and her mouth broke into an excitable smile and laughter ensued.
As the weeks progressed, she ensured she left work on time and attended to both her dance class and artwork. Doing these simultaneously brought an incredible feeling of joy, laughter, positivity, hope and confidence.
She began to feel something she hadn’t felt in a long time;
Passion, excitement and joy.
So how did Tina transition from being employed, to ditching her boss (with no regrets) in 6 weeks?
1) Moving from Passive to Active
The passive (victim) mindset can be absolutely paralysing, and the first thing to do is to unhook from this mindset. Tina changed the phrase ‘I have to’ and replaced it with ‘I choose to’. She was essentially choosing to stay in her job, but in contrast, she could also chose to leave.
Waking up to this fact was huge, somewhat like standing up at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting declaring you’re an Addict. It moves you from confusion to clarity.
This was crucial when attempting to get in touch with what she wanted. Tina began to get clarity about who she was and where she wanted to head to, and it certainly wasn’t towards the Accounts Department she worked at.
2) Moving from paralysis to Manifesting
Leading on from her dance class, Tina began attending art exhibitions as well as joining networking events with people who were doing exactly what she wanted to do. She began stepping into the climate of change and possibility as she saw others doing the same.
3) Moving from Hopelessness to possibility
Tina created a Facebook page showcasing her artwork and by sharing this with friends and contacts, she could really see how much interest she was awakening. In return, this began to build her confidence and she slowly generated and built a following. She even sold a small number of her portraits.
4) Moving from Helplessness to Support
She asked an old friend from University, to prepare a budget sheet for a 6 month time frame, so that she could establish if she had enough money to cover her costs up to this point. She reluctantly involved her father, who agreed to support her beyond those 6 months if need be.
Tina also contacted a gallery owner she had met at a network event and asked if she could work part time at his gallery. This would benefit her twofold, a part time salary and good solid contacts and experience in the art world.
He agreed to give her a 4 week trial.
Janice’s mindset was shifting, and slowly, so was her life.
Having kickstarted the above, her comfort zone began to expand and she became more familiar with this thing called ‘the unknown’. She felt a tingle of excitement. She no longer paraded the Accounts Department floor looking downcast, but instead walked with a different stride. Tina was transforming in front of everyones eyes.
She had prepared for the showdown and finally quit her job.
It had taken a number of lightbulb moments to awaken her to what she was capable of.
The moment of quitting any aspect of life which is just not conducive to our growth, whether it’s a job, smoking, alcohol, gambling or relationships, needs only one factor.
You’re own personal lightbulb moment of insight and 6 weeks to shift the mindset, once this had shifted the possibilities are endless.
This example of a client illustrates the role of a mentor and coaches ability to tap clients on the shoulder metaphorically, and awaken them to the potential and possibilities available. Letting this ferment, brew and filter through. This is the only method that ultimately creates long lasting change and transformation.
It is within this safe space that clients declare they are absolutely ready for transition, transformation and change.