Life is about trial and error. Life is about making mistakes and learning from those mistakes. In life, we are constantly experiencing these things, constantly changing, constantly growing and although sometimes it may not feel like it, it’s for the best. Sometimes we have to go out on a million first dates before we meet someone who is actually worth a second one. Sometimes we have to spend a fortune on school, studying different things until we finally find that one thing that ignites our passion (yes that can actually happen in school). Sometimes we have to work different jobs to find one we truly love. In life, we have to take risks, sit back, and see what transpires. Taking risks can mean a great success or it can mean a failure, which can still be a success depending on how you look at it.
Last week I quit my job. I wasn’t planning on quitting so soon but the words just came flowing out of my mouth, “I can’t work here anymore, I think you need to look for someone to replace me”. It happened just like that and as I said it I could feel the weight lifting from my shoulders. I could see the sky opening and the sun shining through for the first time in months. I could feel the first drop of rain after a drought (although that doesn’t go with the sky opening and sun shining through part but whatever just play along with me). I had never felt better. Okay, hold on a second… I make it sound like it was the easiest decision of my life here but that would be a lie. It was one of the hardest. It’s like breaking up with someone, it aint easy.
I had started my job in October and at first I felt so cool, having evenings and weekends free… I was an adult now. I felt like such a grown up going to work Monday to Friday and making important emails and phone calls, I had a ‘big girl job’ after all, that’s what society wanted me to have right? Right Grandma? I loved it at first but that feeling quickly diminished, like a box of doughnuts in an office (I have seen it happen first hand and I probably ate most of them too)… As Christmas crept closer and closer I was starting early and staying late every day. I was bringing work home with me just to ease the stress of how busy I was. Starting right before Christmas in the promotional marketing industry… not recommended in terms of easing yourself into a job. Once the New Year rolled around I was beginning to absolutely hate my job. I worked in customer service and I dealt with issues ALL day long. I had to deal with pushy sales representatives, angry clients, and frustrating, unhelpful, and rude vendors. I don’t have a backbone and I will be the first to admit it. It isn’t something I like about myself but I just literally have no bones in my back (I guess not literally, but you know what I mean). I hated calling clients with bad news and having to let them down. I hated having to argue with nasty vendors over things that were completely their fault. Picture me sitting at my desk with a black cloud of negativity hanging over my head all day long. I tried not to let it get to me but I cared too much about getting in trouble for doing something wrong or making a client or vendor hate me. This particular role was not for me.
Aside from being unfit for the customer service role and not being able to handle how negative and stressful it was, I felt like I was being suffocated by the ‘full-time’ commitment. When traveling is your biggest passion of all time, how can you be tied down to two weeks vacation? YOU CAN’T. I would think about it every single day. You can’t take a full two weeks off at once because then you can’t have any other days off for the rest of the year and what if something important happened on a weekday that you couldn’t miss? You can’t really go very far for a week… not the kind of traveling I want to do anyways. I want to pack a backpack and coast from place to place for months on end, not spend a week at an all-inclusive resort in Cuba (if that’s what you’re into I am not here to judge). This was the biggest struggle of all. Oh, and then there is the money thing. Everyone thinks you will make ‘real’ money when you have a ‘real’ job… well that isn’t necessarily true. I was making a hell of a lot more money when I was a waitress, a hell of a lot more (like I can’t even explain to you how much more).
So there I was… miserable. I was sad and miserable every single day. My head was in a dark place for a long time and I saw no light at the end of the tunnel. I felt like if I left my job I would let people down (my parents, grandparents, coworkers etc.) and I didn’t want to do that. I liked having evenings and weekends free so I didn’t want to give that up either. I was running out the office doors at exactly five pm each day, getting in my car, and crying the whole way home. I would get home, have something to eat, have a bath, and crawl into bed… sad and depressed. I had no money, I hated my negative soul-sucking job, and I could see a sad future for myself, which was the most terrifying thing of all. My life was over, until one day it wasn’t… and that’s the day I quit.
I had been thinking about it for a few months. I had an extra long weekend, with two days booked off and I decided I was going to really think about this decision during that extra long weekend of amazing-ness. I went for lunch with my mom and told her how miserable I was and how broke I was. She said she would quit in a heartbeat and that was ALL I needed to hear. Ideas started spinning through my head, I didn’t have anything else lined up but I wanted to do it right then and there. I decided I was going to quit but I would be responsible and give it time so I could find something else first. That didn’t happen. My manager wanted to sit down with me and go over things that were going well and things I needed to improve on. The second I sat down she said, “What’s wrong? What’s going on with you?” and I burst out crying. Verbal diarrhea happened, a lot of it. I couldn’t control myself. She was easy to talk to and because we are only a few months apart in age, she knew where I was coming from. I think she saw it coming. She reassured me that no one would hate me for letting them down. She let me vent. I told her I would stay for a few weeks while they looked for my replacement and while I looked for another job. It was the best way to let them know how I was feeling and that I would be leaving. When I left work that day I felt like a free bird. I could make travel plans again, real ones. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, a lot of light, like the kind you see when a camera flash blinds you and it takes a few seconds for your eye sight to come back. I had never felt better.
I sat down with my boss the next day, the boss that I was so scared would hate me for wasting his time and only working there for eight whole months. I don’t know what I was so scared of… it was one of the best conversations I have ever had. I told him I thought that joining the corporate world was probably a huge mistake and he said, “It wasn’t a mistake because now you have realized what ISN’T for you!” so wise. He was right… I realized I am not cut out for the corporate lifestyle. I can’t sit behind a desk for my whole life while my body and brain turn to mush. I can’t survive on two weeks vacation, absolutely not; no way in hell is that happening. I don’t like the responsibility of dealing with issues that drag on for weeks or months on end. I want to go into work and leave my issues there when I leave (like a waitress). I want to save as much money as possible (tips) and be able to leave when I want for as long as I want. I want to pursue my travel blog, take it seriously, and actually make something out of it. If other people can do it, why the hell can’t I? Maybe this is my future and the light at the end of the my own tunnel.
The moral of the story is that making mistakes only helps us grow so the word ‘mistake’ isn’t even really appropriate here. Joining the corporate world has taught me more than I thought, whether it is how to deal with people, write a professional email, make a professional phone call, OR that none of the above are for me. I couldn’t be happier knowing that the best is yet to come. I can feel good things in my near future because I decided to respect myself enough to make a decision that was necessary to my core. I am following my dreams, even if it isn’t what society says I should do. I refuse to be another cog in the corporate wheel and that’s mostly because I am not cut out for it not because I think everyone who does it sucks (I promise I don’t think that), it just isn’t for me and I can finally admit it to myself and the world.
Goodbye corporate world, hopefully I’ll see ya never.