I was the epitome of success to the world from the outside, but deep down, I felt hollow and empty. I had more material things than I knew what to do with — and they brought me zero fulfillment.
Full Name: Janet Burton
City: Bend, OR
Which was why it felt amazingly freeing when I decided to quit my job.
In 2010, I tendered my resignation and bought a business with my husband,
a move that was way out of our comfort zone.
We were doing remarkably well until an abrupt health issue came up. We had to sell our business and move back from the East Coast to the Northwest.
The shoulder devil that told us to sell out, had won.
We told ourselves we would not go back to our 9–5 jobs, but we did. We told ourselves it would only be for a short period of time, but almost two years later, we were still “working for the man”.
The thing I feared the most was that while I was adept and successful at many things, nothing was getting me excited. I didn’t know what I wanted. I was desperately afraid of making a mistake and wasting time and money moving on to the “next bright idea”.
So this was what I did and what helped me make the right decision:
1. Give it a chance
First, I explored what I didn’t like about my current job to see if I could address it first.
2. Set a date
Once I realized that I was not going to find my happiness there, I set a quit date a few months early on and started a countdown calendar without telling my boss.
3. Think about tradeoffs
Because of our financial plight, we found ourselves in a situation where we had to make tradeoffs. This is why my husband is keeping his day job for now. We’re cutting down some of our expenses and exploring more ways to live frugally without penny pinching every day.
4. Get inspired by others
Reading helps, too. I read “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying” by Bronnie Ware and it changed me. It gave me the strength to live my true life — not just the length, but the breadth of my life as well. I’m living everyday without regrets.
5. Be honest with yourself
More importantly, I asked myself: “Am I running away? Or am I running towards it?”
If I’m running away, I need to face that fear before I run any further. Because guess what — it will follow me.
I had to make my reason something I’m running towards to.
Something that lights my fire.
Something that burns a hole in my soul.
I told myself it was okay not knowing. I committed each day exploring opportunities with an open mind and it brought me peace.
If you really think you want to quit your job, it might be worth considering these options.
Since quitting my job, my life has radically changed. It unleashed a huge creativity I knew lay hidden inside me. My husband and I are merging our strengths — he’s the Chief Geek and I’m the Chief Creative Designer.
Even though he’s keeping his day gig for a while, we’re on fire to be collaborating again.
Another beautiful thing we have discovered is that there is a whole worldwide community of people pursuing unconventional lives, thriving and inspiring others. People in Thailand, New Zealand, Australia, Barcelona, among a few.
I’m now focusing on my inner growth and living a dynamic and intentional life — and that, in itself, is awesome.
Edited by Priscilla Tan, a socially anxious writer from Singapore with an irrational fear of swing-sets and see-saws.
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