I quit my job and you should too.

Or, learning the importance of putting first things first

The last year of my life dropped me at a crossroads. This has been a special crossroads—one that launched me to chase my dreams and jump into the unknown.

i quit!Quitter!

From an outsider’s perspective, the past year of my life looked comfortable: I was working at a great company, plugging away at my Master’s degree, living in an adorable little studio near downtown Denver and fitting in fun-time with family and friends. But what I was grappling with behind the scenes was less than comfortable.

I have a hard time saying “no.” To that end, I was working far too much. I was taking on extra responsibilities and making commitments I had no business making.

My inability to say “no” gradually turned into falling behind in classes, earning mediocre grades, functioning like a drone at work, failing to deliver good work at my volunteer position, and flaking on plans with friends and family. I began to have minor health issues. My anxiety was unmanageable. Sometimes I was driven by an adrenaline high and other times I was cranky and moody.

So, I quit my job.

You should probably quit your job.

Yes, I quit my stable/good pay/great benefits/excellent coworkers/in-line-with-my-career job. I didn’t have any regular, long-term work to fall back on. My apartment lease ended on the last day I was at my job. I didn’t have another apartment lined up. Why, oh why, would I be so imprudent?

I quit the work that was consuming a rather hefty portion of my time. What I really did in making this decision, though, was reprioritize my life-projects. I realized that graduate school was my passion and my chief priority…and I was de-prioritizing school by saying “yes” to everything else.

So, I think you should quit your job, too. And by “job” I mean whatever commitments that are hedging in your time and keeping you away from what you really want to be doing.

“Blah, blah, blah…” you say?

I know it seems much easier said than done. But think about what you do each day. Is there something—one thing—that could either be relinquished or put on hold?

Could you go to happy hour once instead of three times per week? Could you consolidate your errands into one evening? Could you turn off the intertubes/Facebook/Twitter for one hour? [*clears throat*…I wouldn’t know anything about that…] Even one reshuffling act could allow you more time to work on your bigger goals.

Jumpstarts

"Start" by nickfarr under a Creative Commons license

"Start" by nickfarr under Creative Commons license

I bit the bullet: I quit my job so I could take on less work; I put dance lessons on hold [oof—that was hard]; I paused my volunteer work. It wasn’t easy to backburner any of these activities. I’ll be able to pick these things back up in the near future–when it’s okay to say “yes” again.

Now, as my momentum increases, I know I did right by putting first things first. I’m pouring myself into graduate school and loving every book, paper, project, and late-night-cramming session that it offers. I’m also working on other priorities that will launch me into my future even while I’m reveling in the present.

I quit so I could start. What can you start, today?

  • Found this post via Sarah Bray’s tweet!

    Congrats on making the cut! That’s great! :D If I could cut one “job” out, it would definitely be my fifth class. Luckily, I’ll be taking only 4 classes next semester. I won’t be as stressed out and I’ll be able to work on developing my graphic design business again and start some other projects. :)

    Good luck with EVERYTHING! <3

  • Found this post via Sarah Bray’s tweet!

    Congrats on making the cut! That’s great! :D If I could cut one “job” out, it would definitely be my fifth class. Luckily, I’ll be taking only 4 classes next semester. I won’t be as stressed out and I’ll be able to work on developing my graphic design business again and start some other projects. :)

    Good luck with EVERYTHING! <3

  • Liz

    You have no idea how close to home this hits for me today. Last night I had bad anxiety because I was dreading coming to this crappy job yet, again. If I wasn’t so poor I’d be out of here!

    • Hang in there, Liz. I had to wait for awhile (and some unfolding circumstances) to feel comfortable making my move…but I *know* you’ll get there, you talented thang, you!

  • Liz

    You have no idea how close to home this hits for me today. Last night I had bad anxiety because I was dreading coming to this crappy job yet, again. If I wasn’t so poor I’d be out of here!

    • Hang in there, Liz. I had to wait for awhile (and some unfolding circumstances) to feel comfortable making my move…but I *know* you’ll get there, you talented thang, you!

  • I am a FIRM believer that people are not accidents. And the fact that I just found you prior to my move to Denver/Boulder AFTER I QUIT MY JOB like, three weeks ago and am trying to re-prioritize everything and FIGURE SHIT OUT… well, um… meant to be? Soulmates? Soulsisters? CAN’T WAIT to meet you this weekend :)

    • I’m so glad we met, Doni. Can’t wait for you to move yer butt to Colorado. SOULSISTAS!

  • I am a FIRM believer that people are not accidents. And the fact that I just found you prior to my move to Denver/Boulder AFTER I QUIT MY JOB like, three weeks ago and am trying to re-prioritize everything and FIGURE SHIT OUT… well, um… meant to be? Soulmates? Soulsisters? CAN’T WAIT to meet you this weekend :)

    • I’m so glad we met, Doni. Can’t wait for you to move yer butt to Colorado. SOULSISTAS!

  • I quit my safe and reliable job 11 months ago to make the projects I’d rather be doing my full time job. Probably the best move I’ve ever made.

    Best of luck to ya!

  • I quit my safe and reliable job 11 months ago to make the projects I’d rather be doing my full time job. Probably the best move I’ve ever made.

    Best of luck to ya!

    • That’s really great to hear, David. :)

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  • P.Lo

    Cali, this was a great blog entry. I’m so glad you love life after Leo!

    • PLo! Thank you so much for stopping by. :) I’m loving life after Leo, but missing the fine people I worked with. You, especially! :)

  • P.Lo

    Cali, this was a great blog entry. I’m so glad you love life after Leo!

    • PLo! Thank you so much for stopping by. :) I’m loving life after Leo, but missing the fine people I worked with. You, especially! :)

  • SOOOOO. I’m pretty glad i JUST found your blog via Doniree and I’m pretty glad, we’re going to be friends. period. :)

    • jen

      I’m happy that you have taken the very scary step of quitting and just saying no! Being able to actually focus on school and get as much out of it is something you only get to do once. I fall into the same busy trap, get overwhelmed, and then start revamping. But now I find myself at the opposite end, in a holding pattern unable to engage in most anything. Hmm.

      • That’s a really interesting perspective, Jen. There’s just GOT to be balance in there somewhere, right? ;) I suppose it’s about finding the balance that works for us as individuals…and even THAT varies over time and circumstance, I’m sure.

    • Ummmmm. I’m pretty glad we met. And we need to repeat, soon! :)

  • SOOOOO. I’m pretty glad i JUST found your blog via Doniree and I’m pretty glad, we’re going to be friends. period. :)

    • jen

      I’m happy that you have taken the very scary step of quitting and just saying no! Being able to actually focus on school and get as much out of it is something you only get to do once. I fall into the same busy trap, get overwhelmed, and then start revamping. But now I find myself at the opposite end, in a holding pattern unable to engage in most anything. Hmm.

      • That’s a really interesting perspective, Jen. There’s just GOT to be balance in there somewhere, right? ;) I suppose it’s about finding the balance that works for us as individuals…and even THAT varies over time and circumstance, I’m sure.

    • Ummmmm. I’m pretty glad we met. And we need to repeat, soon! :)

  • I love this post! I’m finished with my masters in 2 weeks:) I would love to use this post on my website http://beautygirlblog.com

  • I love this post! I’m finished with my masters in 2 weeks:) I would love to use this post on my website http://beautygirlblog.com

    • Congrats, Britt! That is so fantastic!

  • great move and way to make the change. I’m in my own version of this currently… sans Grad school, though that might happen too in the near future.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Kendall! Grad school is…FUN! Ha. Will be interested to see what your “own version of this” is!

  • great move and way to make the change. I’m in my own version of this currently… sans Grad school, though that might happen too in the near future.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Kendall! Grad school is…FUN! Ha. Will be interested to see what your “own version of this” is!

  • mrG

    ok, how about disclosing the missing bit? because last I checked, Grad School costs money, students have to leave the lab at night and they don’t feed you. so while the idea is grand and all, isn’t there just a little something that you’re leaving out here?

    • I’d be happy to share the missing bit: It was a brief mention within my blog post… “I quit my job so I could take on less work;” The key word is “less.” I’m still working and seeking out new work…just for fewer hours per week in an effort to put more energy into school. Still need to peddle pennies for ramen. ;) Thanks for stopping by!

      • mrG

        Ah, ok, then yes, I fully endorse the method, I’ve used it myself although I did a bit of a converse, settling into a fixed and stable job that “wasn’t awful” (nice folk, innocent task) so as to have the flexible time and peace of mind to pursue the things that matter. I think it is important to accept that people pay you to do things BECAUSE you don’t want to do them, and that the work you enjoy should be its own reward — at my age (53) I’ve seen a lot of folks get burned out thinking they were “getting paid to do what they love” only to discover that the love affair doesn’t last when others are always calling the shots.

        Charles Ives sold insurance. Johannes Kepler did astrology charts.

        But remove that need to jump for the money and just do it because you love it, and amazing things start to happen, and oftimes that’s worth more than money.

  • mrG

    ok, how about disclosing the missing bit? because last I checked, Grad School costs money, students have to leave the lab at night and they don’t feed you. so while the idea is grand and all, isn’t there just a little something that you’re leaving out here?

    • I’d be happy to share the missing bit: It was a brief mention within my blog post… “I quit my job so I could take on less work;” The key word is “less.” I’m still working and seeking out new work…just for fewer hours per week in an effort to put more energy into school. Still need to peddle pennies for ramen. ;) Thanks for stopping by!

      • mrG

        Ah, ok, then yes, I fully endorse the method, I’ve used it myself although I did a bit of a converse, settling into a fixed and stable job that “wasn’t awful” (nice folk, innocent task) so as to have the flexible time and peace of mind to pursue the things that matter. I think it is important to accept that people pay you to do things BECAUSE you don’t want to do them, and that the work you enjoy should be its own reward — at my age (53) I’ve seen a lot of folks get burned out thinking they were “getting paid to do what they love” only to discover that the love affair doesn’t last when others are always calling the shots.

        Charles Ives sold insurance. Johannes Kepler did astrology charts.

        But remove that need to jump for the money and just do it because you love it, and amazing things start to happen, and oftimes that’s worth more than money.

  • Last week, a friend of mine back home — the most amazing cook — left her ‘IT’ job of 2 years to start her own pastry shop. Now I read about you doing the same thing. I just *love* hearing such stories. Kudos to you.

    I recently learned the importance of doing what you want, and felt compelled enough to blog about it (and, of course, make it work): http://aviraj.com/you-cant-do-what-you-want-by-doing-something-3. You really should read the article I’ve linked in there. You’ll feel all warm and awesome about yourself. Cheers!

    • I love your blog post, Avi…and you highlighted some nuanced, important points. Thanks for sharing! :)

  • Last week, a friend of mine back home — the most amazing cook — left her ‘IT’ job of 2 years to start her own pastry shop. Now I read about you doing the same thing. I just *love* hearing such stories. Kudos to you.

    I recently learned the importance of doing what you want, and felt compelled enough to blog about it (and, of course, make it work): http://aviraj.com/you-cant-do-what-you-want-by-doing-something-3. You really should read the article I’ve linked in there. You’ll feel all warm and awesome about yourself. Cheers!

    • I love your blog post, Avi…and you highlighted some nuanced, important points. Thanks for sharing! :)

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  • Shana Rank

    hey little lady, rock on with your bad self. Check out what this girl is doing, http://www.etsy.com/storque/spotlight/quit-your-day-job-cicadastudio-6180/.

    What will be your next passion?

    • What will be next passion? Oh my. What shall I pick?! :D

      Actually, many of the “Quit Your Day Job” Etsy stories have been an inspiration. Thanks for sharing that particular one, Shana!

  • Shana Rank

    hey little lady, rock on with your bad self. Check out what this girl is doing, http://www.etsy.com/storque/spotlight/quit-your-day-job-cicadastudio-6180/.

    What will be your next passion?

    • What will be next passion? Oh my. What shall I pick?! :D

      Actually, many of the “Quit Your Day Job” Etsy stories have been an inspiration. Thanks for sharing that particular one, Shana!

  • Nirvank

    Thumbs 6 times up. It’s what is needed sometimes and personally I don’t think enough people take a step back and say enough (at least that is part of what I got from your post).

    I’ve done this twice in varying degrees. I found it tougher to tell people what I was doing, rather than actually doing it. Odd by true.

    As always, you’ll rock it.

    • Thank you so much, Nirvan! That’s really fascinating that you find it tougher to talk to people about it. I understand, though — sometimes you just get those blank stares. :)

  • Nirvank

    Thumbs 6 times up. It’s what is needed sometimes and personally I don’t think enough people take a step back and say enough (at least that is part of what I got from your post).

    I’ve done this twice in varying degrees. I found it tougher to tell people what I was doing, rather than actually doing it. Odd by true.

    As always, you’ll rock it.

    • Thank you so much, Nirvan! That’s really fascinating that you find it tougher to talk to people about it. I understand, though — sometimes you just get those blank stares. :)

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  • Yes,I to quit my job as a dog groomer for someone else. And started up this company CLassyk9.com and my own grooming company Posh Pets, it was the best choice i ever made. I got tired of working harder so i started to work smarter! some wise words from a friend of mine said off the cuff one day.

    While there is a slow phase of getting it all together. This is my baby, and will always be my baby. until i sell it or die. and I can’t get fired or layed off

    Some people may not like the choices I made when I quit. But they don’t have to live my life.

    Quit a job ,starting a future!

    • Sounds like you’ve made the important–and difficult–choices, Tina. Kudos to you for pursuing what was best for YOU!

      You make a very good point–we must live our own lives.

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment!

  • Yes,I to quit my job as a dog groomer for someone else. And started up this company CLassyk9.com and my own grooming company Posh Pets, it was the best choice i ever made. I got tired of working harder so i started to work smarter! some wise words from a friend of mine said off the cuff one day.

    While there is a slow phase of getting it all together. This is my baby, and will always be my baby. until i sell it or die. and I can’t get fired or layed off

    Some people may not like the choices I made when I quit. But they don’t have to live my life.

    Quit a job ,starting a future!

    • Sounds like you’ve made the important–and difficult–choices, Tina. Kudos to you for pursuing what was best for YOU!

      You make a very good point–we must live our own lives.

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment!

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