Three weeks ago today, I walked into my office on the 25th floor in downtown Chicago. An hour later, I walked out without a job.
I spent two and a half months there. I worked 50 hours a week and spent another 24 hours commuting to and from work. I left at 5:45a.m. and got home around 8:15p.m. I also took a ginormous pay cut. All of this would be fine and dandy, except for one small fact. I didn’t like my job. It has nothing to do with the company (a great company, just not great for me), and everything to do with what I did for ten hours a day. The job was everything I hated wrapped into one package. For many people, I’m sure it would be a great job. For me, it was making me absolutely miserable. It went against everything that drives me emotionally, intellectually, and it was nowhere near my personality. The cherry on top of my miserable pie was the fact I had no life, the pay was atrociously low, I could no longer afford living expenses-let alone fun-, and I was exhausted from sheer boredom.
I had a review a month ago. In that review, there was nothing but glowing remarks from HR and the VP. There were also predictions of a successful career within the company. Who doesn’t like hearing good things about their work? I sure do; I just knew I had no future there. I was barely engaged in the present.
In the two and a half months I had worked there, I very rarely saw anyone in my personal life. The few times I did see people, the one thing everyone commented on was how miserable I looked. I’ve not been the happiest of people, but I always LOOK happy. I have worked a milieu of horrible jobs. Nothing tore at my spirit like this did. It was mundane.
Three weeks ago, I gave my two weeks notice. They let me go that day. I walked into downtown Chicago with absolutely no job and enough money to last a month and a half. I chose to quit. Actually I didn’t choose to quit. I chose to be happy; they were just one-and-the-same.
I grew up hearing get a job that makes you happy. What I saw was my parents and other adults working jobs they didn’t really like but they didn’t dislike enough to leave. Jobs are to support yourself and cover your responsibilities, right? It’s called a job because it’s not fun, was a phrase I’d heard a few times. I call bullshit. Maybe I’m naive to think I can enjoy my job, but for once in my life, I am going to be the optimist. I WILL do something that makes me happy. Three weeks later… I already am.
Sometimes I sit and think about my life. I’m 24. What have I done with my life? A whole lot of not much. Being unhappy tops the chart in the one thing I have done successfully. I’ll take some responsibility as to not having done something sooner about it… Then again, I haven’t necessarily been served the caviar of life opportunities. I’m 24. I haven’t done much. I’m going to change that. If I don’t do it now, when will I?
Four weeks ago, the weekend before I quit, I was sitting on a plane flying home from San Diego. During the four hour flight, I made a tentative plan. It’s fairly simple. Be happy. Screw traditional. I don’t want traditional. I want to blaze my own trail. I don’t want to sit in an office from 9-5 (or 8-6 like I was doing). I want something challenging, new, exciting, stimulating, something. The first step in my plan was to quit my job. I immediately was happier, excessively happier. I started freelance editing and writing and translating. Again so much happier. Sure I’m not making enough to support myself yet. But every week I have more jobs! Step 3-completion are secret. You’ll find out as they come. In the next year, I am making HUGE changes in my life. And I could not be more excited.
I’ve had a pretty rough go the past 24 years. And I’m tired of it. I’m ready to be happy. I’m going to keep up my story telling and secret divulging because, hell, I’m doing something good. I think, without even realizing it, this was the very first step in my plan to be happy. I want to do good, and this is the best way I know how. I also have realized: I don’t need to be rich. More than anything I want to travel, have fun, make memories, be with the people I love, experience everything, and be happy. I’m betting on myself this next year; hopefully it pays off.
I’m going to take the dirt road to success.