I’ve decided to quit my job and take a few months off to find myself. I’m not a teenager. I’m not rich. I have a mortgage, a husband, and four pets (but luckily no children).
I’m going to try to blog my experience, because let’s face it – who gets to do this kinda thing? Normal, middle class adults do not get to quit their job without anything else lined up. Luckily, I have a good amount of money in savings. If worse comes to worst it should last me several months. Even more luckily, we can afford to live on my husband’s salary. It will be tight; we won’t get to have any fun, but we can do it.
Regarding money – my husband and I have always paid the bills 50/50. This will be the first time since I got out of college that I haven’t been paying my share. Unlike a lot of married couples, we keep our money separate and approach finances as though we’re roommates. There’s no “our money”. This is obviously going to change that dynamic.
However, my husband owes me a bit of money. Every time he pays a bill for me, I’m going to deduct that amount from what he owes me. If he ends up paying more in bills than what he owes me, I’ll keep a log and start owing him. That’s how we’re going to keep things equal.
Why Did I Decide To Quit?
Despite the fact that my job offered a decent (not great, not terrible) salary, cheap medical benefits, and European levels of vacation, I decided to quit after nine years. If you google “signs you should quit your job” you might get a list like this:
- There’s no hope of advancement
- You don’t get feedback
- You’re not learning
- You’re bored
- You dread going to work
- You have no interest in what you’re doing
- Your dislike of your job is making it hard to enjoy life
- You’re using all your vacation on mental health days
- The work environment is unhealthy
- You’re not “you” anymore
- The stress is making you ill
- You feel like if you stay any longer you’re going to turn into one of those crazy, snappy co-workers who’s always biting people’s heads off, makes a thousand stupid mistakes a day, is constantly venting about how much they hate their job, and is in general a chore to be around. (Ok, this one is mine.)
Now, I am not saying that my job was all doom and gloom, but when I went to write my resignation letter I found a draft resignation letter from three years earlier. There was also one from two years before that. It’s been a long time in coming.
I used to be optimistic and ambitious. I used to feel like I had a lot to offer. Now I just feel broken down and defeated. I feel like I’m in an emotionally abusive relationship with my job (side note – I know what an emotionally abusive relationship feels like so this isn’t just some inane comparison) and it won’t quit playing head games. One second we’re on good terms, the next we’re not. It has convinced me I’m worthless, talentless, have nothing to offer, and I should be grateful it even keeps me around.
Still, quitting isn’t easy. I like the security of having a paycheck. As much as I feel like a coward if I don’t quit, I also feel like an idiot to quit. I can’t win, but I’ve tried a million times to make it work and now it’s time to try something different.
There’s another reason I want to quit my job – because I can. I can take time and focus on me. That is a privilege, and I recognize that. I want to try it. I want to find out if anything will come of it. I want to get off the treadmill of life and look around. I want to diverge from what’s expected.
One reason it’s particularly idiotic for me to quit now is that my company is getting sold, and sometime within the next year or so I’ll either get laid off, have my department restructured, or (this is the most likely scenario based on what my department does) have no changes at all and just have someone new sign my paycheck.
My mental health can’t wait another year to find out.
Well, I say that, and yet as I sit here writing this, still employed, having not yet turned in my notice, I’m so terrified that I’m actually light headed. Will being unemployed also be bad for my mental health?
What Am I Going To Do?
So, what’s my plan for my time off? Sleep. Yoga. Walking the dogs. Jogging. I’m also going to finish some projects around the house that have been put off for the last decade or so. I know that doesn’t sound terribly productive, but that’s kinda the point.
I’m also going to be responsible for all the household chores, except cooking. Since we don’t have a very big house and we’ve always split the chores equally anyway this means that the only time consuming chore I’m picking up is the laundry. With eight extra hours a day on my hands, this shouldn’t be difficult.
What Do I Hope To Gain?
I need to remove myself from the abusive situation in order to see the personality traits of mine that have allowed the situation to continue. I am not blameless in this. I hope to become a better person.
I don’t like the person I’ve become since I’ve been here. I hope to undo some of the damage. Even outside of work I constantly feel defensive and critical. I wasn’t always that way.
Let’s Hear It For The Boy
If you don’t know me, and you’ve been reading this far, you’ve probably noticed by now that I have a husband who pays half the bills, does half the household chores, is a good cook, and cares enough about my happiness to encourage me to go on this crazy sabbatical.
Without him not only would I be drooling in a strait-jacket by now, but I’d never be able to embark on this adventure. He frees me – emotionally, spiritually, and now financially. He’s amazing.