Friday, April 18, 2014

This is life. Do what you love.

Remember when The Holstee Manifesto was really popular?

I’ve spent a lot of time pondering this.

If you don’t like something, change it.
If you don’t like your job, quit.

I am currently in the midst of “quitting” my job (but not really – in my line of work there are finite contracts, and I simply let my contract come to an end without doing anything to renew it – ok, that’s quitting).

Thoughts on quitting: it’s terrifying. I mean it’s really terrifying to be so highly trained for a certain line of work, and to be 40-mmmbl and trying to leave that work behind.

  • I’ve been told this is “immature”
  • I’ve been told this is irresponsible (and I agree with this one in a variety of ways)
  • I’ve been told that everyone goes through a period of career questioning – usually in their early 40’s, and equivalent to a mid life crisis – and that the worst thing I could do would be to take it seriously enough to act on it. 

And out of all of those bulleted thoughts, the things I’ve told myself about leaving are even worse. Harsher. And possibly true, too. 

The reality: “if you don’t like your job – quit” sounds like solid logic and common sense, and is easy to tell another person, and is easy to reminisce about if you have done it in the past **and it all worked out for you, and you are now looking back at it from a good place in life** 

...but the reality is SO MUCH DIFFERENT.... 

The reality for me is that leaving my work and reaching for something more meaningful to me is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. 

  • It has me questioning my work ethics, my maturity, my responsibility, my role as a mother, my role as the leader of our family and the support system for my (grown) child.
  • I’ve felt lost. I’ve felt like a failure. I’ve felt like a fool, an idiot, a person who is wasting their life, a person who has been left behind.
  • I’ve worked two jobs for two years now to save money – this has led to me falling asleep while in the act of eating my dinner for the first time in my life since I was in diapers.
  • I’ve worked the equivalent of a third job trying to move more fully into my preferred career (unsuccessfully so far).
  • I’ve taken classes, invested money, time, and SO much energy into trying to make this move.
  • I’ve encountered failure and loss, disappointment and embarrassment, fear and insecurity. Hope and excitement, then loss of hope and regret.  

Six months from now this may turn into an inspirational story. If I succeed, this will be the part of the story where the hero(ine) climbs the mountain, falls, scrambles back to their feet, falls again – all with inspiration music playing the background. 

A year from now I could very well be writing about how leaving my job was the best thing I’ve ever done. I could be a success story. I could be proof that The Holstee Manifesto is totally legit and we should all live our lives this way. 

But I thought I should record for posterity what it actually feels like to live your way into the success story. It’s hard. It’s so, so hard.


  1. I know exactly how you feel. I have been questioning my career choice for a few years now, but wasn't sure what I could do about it. You are brave to make this move. If you did nothing, you'd always be wondering what if? If you try, it's not failing. It's learning.

    I recently made a big change in my life. Quit my job. Moved half way across the country for love. Many people would say that was stupid. I don't care. It's turned out great for me. Now, I just have to find that same bravery for my career. If I can drop everything and find a new life, you can do it too! :)

    Found your site through SITS. Good luck!

    1. Thanks so much Amy! Seriously if you have the bravery to leave your job and move across the country for love, you should be totally primed for the career change! -- edit: I just read your blog entry on leaving your job & moving, and it does sound like such similar fears and excitement ("should I do this? how am I going to do this? --> I just did this!!").

  2. Congratulations on your very brave move. After years of being unhappy in a job my husband has just quit, with no clue of what he'll do next. He stuck it out because it paid well and he wasn't sure what else he could do. However when my Uncle was recently in an accident that has left him a quadriplegic, he realised there's no point to spending that much time doing something that makes you unhappy. Life is too short, you have to follow your dreams. I look forward to reading of your future success.
    Still Just Us

    1. Thanks Tracey! I wish it were easier for adults to allow ourselves to change something about our life that's making us clearly unhappy without a tragedy putting our quality of life in perspective - I think we should talk more about this kind of change as a positive, but it's hard to swim upstream against the things we've been taught about never quitting, and sticking with things you've started.

      I hope your husband finds something he really loves. It's scary and hard, but the payoff is so worth it.