I remember the morning all so clearly, nearly two months ago, when I finally admitted to myself that I was burning out. It was 6:27 a.m. and I had just finished packing my lunch and getting my things together before I set off on my 40-minute commute to work. True to our routine, I went back to the bedroom, shuffled through the dark and wrapped my arms around my sleeping husband and kissed him goodbye. Only this time when he rolled over and returned the smooch and said, “Okay, sweet pea! I love you, have a good day.” I didn’t respond with the usual, “You too, babe!” Instead, I stayed draped over his body a few seconds longer, my thoughts heavy, my back and hips aching, my body rebelling and I said, “This job is killing me.”
Dramatics aside, what I was really trying to say was that my current ‘lifestyle’ was no longer working and was surely going to do me in if I didn’t make a change and soon! I began to develop a bad habit of falling asleep every night at 8:00 p.m. on the couch until two in the morning before finally limping off to bed only to get up three hours later to get ready for work. Five days a week. Repeating the same cycle everyday. I was also snacking on processed treats, salty goodies, and bingeing on buttloads of sugar every single day because they were convenient and tasted pretty damn good in my moments of not giving a damn brought on by fatigue. Not to mention my new addiction to Crumbl Cookies and my weekly visits were starting to add up on the bathroom scale and financially.
I was too tired to think about making another sensible decision even for my own good. In fact, I was too tired to think at all. I made decisions all day for my work. I walked miles and miles every week on concrete between four different warehouses. I tested different shoes and inserts to help relieve the back and hip pain, but the relief was only temporary. Finally, I began to recognize this daily and weekly pattern as being toxic to my well being and I began to ask myself what exactly was I getting out of this other than a paycheck? Not that I don’t need the money and am ungrateful for the opportunity to have a job during these crazy times, but there has to be another way to get it. Right?
I absolutely enjoyed my job, problem solving, working with great people, supporting an up and coming business that has the potential to take over the world, but there was still no denying that I felt like crap most days. Again, I asked myself, what am I getting out of this? A pay raise? A promotion? I pleaded my case to my superiors only to be told simply, “No” and “No, but we do appreciate everything you’re doing for us.” That is when my body spoke to me, “Yo, chic! You putting me through all of this for that amount of money? Is the commute and lack of opportunity really worth it? My dear, you’ve served them well, now it’s time to go. Put you first for once!”
By no means do I advise anyone to quit their job just for the fun of it or because you had a bad day. There are consequences to every choice and you should have some sort of plan. Strangely, while working my last two weeks at that job, I felt my creativity coming back, hence me writing this blog (my first post since August 26, 2017). I was inspired to write again, to do more around my house, to finish projects I started months ago. I was even more productive at the job itself. It felt good to finally let go of something that was no longer serving me. It felt empowering to say ‘no,’ I deserve more. It’s not going to be easy starting over during a pandemic when viruses are taking over the world, companies are shutting down and the path ahead seems scary and nearly impossible to meander. But I believe it is in moments like this when our bodies and minds say enough is enough and we take a moment to slow down and regroup, that we truly experience growth. That we learn who really are. And although my exit from corporate America may come across as poetic and bad ass to some, the reality is this girl still has bills to pay. Just to clarify, I didn’t quit my job without having another one lined up. Something closer to home that while it paid a little less, there were less responsibilities, less gas to buy (And man has gas prices gone up!), less wear and tear on my car and most importantly allowed me time to physically and mentally recover.
I now have mental space to focus on projects that mean more to me and will hopefully put me on the career path I’ve been putting off for so long in lieu of putting other people’s dreams first. One of the hardest lessons that I’ve had to learn so far in my life is that there’s nothing wrong with helping or working for others…just as long as you don’t lose yourself in the process.