About 3 weeks ago, I was sitting at my desk at work taking a call as I did every single day. It wasn’t difficult or complicated or especially annoying. The person on the other line was nicely asking for simple information that was easily accessible. But, for some reason, I started to cry. Right there, at my desk, while on the phone, I silently cried while trying to keep my voice from shaking and exposing the nervous breakdown I was in the midst of. This wasn’t a new feeling, unfortunately. This feeling of everyone around me excelling forward while I sat at a desk doing meaningless work, living check to check, having nothing was not new to me.
I silently cried while trying to keep my voice from shaking and exposing the nervous breakdown I was in the midst of.
In the 2 years that I worked there, I cried in the bathroom about 6 times. I had panic attacks, I was irritable, my anxiety was on overdrive, I was depressed, sad, and just felt like if I didn’t do something drastic to change my life, I wouldn’t be able to live it anymore. I went outside after that call, in the middle of the day, and asked God, the universe, to send me a sign if it was the right choice for me to quit (a tip I’d gotten from Gabrielle Bernstein. This is where it gets a little new age-y so skip if you’re not here for it) I said, “If this is the right choice, show me an elephant and I will know that I should quit. I will know that you are listening and guiding me”.
Walking in, right there in the entryway like it had been dropped from heaven, there was a boxed toy with an elephant on it. We were on our way out but, by chance, we walked into that gift shop and there my sign was.
So, I called my son’s dad, a person that I talk to when I make life altering decisions since it will effect us as a family unit and I told him that I was thinking about giving my 2 weeks on Monday. I didn’t need to explain why because he knew I was teetering on the edge. That weekend, I took my son to the Liberty Science Museum. It was Sunday and I hadn’t seen an elephant anywhere and I was starting to feel like this was not the right move. Just before we left, my son’s dad suddenly had to use the bathroom so we decided to wait for him in the gift shop. Walking in, right there in the entryway like it had been dropped from heaven, there was a boxed toy with an elephant on it. We were on our way out but, by chance, we walked into that gift shop and there my sign was. I have seen elephants almost every single day since.
After the word spread that I was leaving my job, it took about an hour, I was bombarded with “Where are you going?” “What will you be doing?” “How will you make money”. With confidence, I replied “I am quitting to pursue writing on a more full time basis”. The response was a mixture of confusion, disbelief, and pupils that turned into question marks. But let me get real real with you for a quick minute:
- I was mentally and emotionally suffering because I was doing a job that a poorly trained chimp could do. I felt useless, under appreciated, and worthless. I felt like I was not a person my son could aspire to be like. I felt like I was wasting my life. That is a lot of garbage to hold inside with a smile everyday.
- I was living check to check, barely. I live in Northern NJ where the cost of living rivals NY. It is expensive to live in a decent neighborhood and that is just the facts. The average rent for a 1 bedroom apartment is over $1000 in a moderate area. I was making $350 a week after health insurance, 401k, and commuter expenses. Let’s do the math. That is about $1,400 per month. After rent, that would leave me with $400 to pay for daycare, groceries, necessities, and if I dare, fun. Also, there was zero room for advancement or to make more money at my job. My raise for the year last year was 35 cents. Digest that and get back to me.
- The work I was doing was mindless, to be honest. I am a passionate and driven person. I spend a wealth of time worrying about the legacy I will leave behind for my son when I am gone. I want him to speak of me, proudly. I don’t want him to think of me as a woman that gave up on her dreams to make a menial income because that was the safe thing to do. In my time at my 9-5, I saw people leave, get fired, go on medical leave, etc. They disappeared, another person was hired to fill their seat, and they were never thought of again. The years they put in were wiped away like they never existed. I don’t want that to be me. I was born with a passion and talent and I’d be a fool to waste it.
- I have the right to be happy and to have a good fucking life, dammit! You know, I would look at people, Pinterest, my friends and think, why can’t I have those things. Why can’t I have a career to be proud of? Why can’t I be fucking happy? I have the right to happiness too! While happiness is not solely about money, it is about being able to afford to pay my bills each month and not feel like my stomach is going to explode every Sunday night because of the dread suffocating me at the thought of the approaching work week.
Now, I am spending my days writing and building my brand and business. I am creating everyday and working at a part time job 2 days a week for the fun of it. I do what I want. I am in control of my life. I am free and it feels damn good.