A Story About Paying Off Debt and the Obstacles Along the Way

I Quit My Job A Year Ago - And I Have No Regrets



I just wanted to briefly poke my head in for a rare non-COVID moment to acknowledge the one year anniversary of this event:
That's right: April 18 was my quitiversary! Happy Quitiversary to me!

I have no regrets at all. Not about leaving that job, anyway. Yes, our income dropped by about 40%, and yes, I lost employer-sponsored health insurance. I decided not to return to full-time work, opting instead to spend a few months walking dogs before picking up a part-time adjuncting job that is enjoyable most of the time but that is, admittedly, probably a dead end. I had to buy my own short-term health plan and it was every bit as crappy as I expected it to be. The budgeting has been tricky at times. Not knowing what's next has been stressful, and the COVID pandemic has not helped.

Still no regrets. It turns out no amount of money is worth that level of misery.

There is a part of me that has regrets and maybe a little embarrassment about my overall career path, but that feeling isn't tied specifically to the job from hell. But what can I say, other than it didn't pan out for me? It wasn't for lack of trying. I threw myself into multiple jobs, all of which I appeared to excel in, all of which left me feeling stressed out, exhausted, anxious, and desperate to escape.

What I said in my quitting post still holds true:

"The fact is, I'm not sure that full-time employment is for me. I'm not sure it was ever for me. Between my mental health constraints, my desire to do what I want to do, my hatred for unnecessary meetings, my disdain for pointless tasks, and my resentment of micromanagement, perhaps I'm not a good fit for corporate culture. I did it because I thought it was something I had to do. I did it because I was told that I was above making coffee and selling Goretex... and I believed that, because our culture has brainwashed us into thinking that some jobs are more dignified than others."

And I'm still working hard. Aside from the part-time job, I do plenty of things I don't get paid for: manage the household finances, clean, cook, help the Kiddo with schoolwork, make doctors' appointments, fix things, etc. Not to say that Fortysomething doesn't do household stuff - he does - but obviously, for both of us, there's a lot of work that doesn't bring in a paycheck.

Somehow (miraculously), we've managed to cobble things together on a reduced income. We get by on Fortysomething's full-time salary, Fortysomething's bonuses, and the part-time peanuts that I earn. Some months, we've been able to save. Some months, we've had to dip into savings. We sock away cash whenever we can and try not to feel bad when we can't. We've ultimately been able to grow our savings since I quit.

In a couple of weeks, the Kiddo and I will move onto Fortysomething's health insurance plan (we need something more reliable in the era of COVID), an expense that will translate into an extra $550 or so a month. This will make our current arrangement a little more challenging, but we can make it work through the end of the year thanks to the recent stimulus checks and the afore-mentioned bonuses.

I often wish I had a little more direction - What am I supposed to be doing with my life? What career will perfectly mesh with my experience and abilities? What am I passionate about? - but I've been sitting with those questions for a year, and I'm still not sure. Sometimes that really bothers me. Sometimes I just shrug it off, knock out a few hours at my little part-time gig, bake some bread, wash some dishes, run a few miles, watch some Survivor with the family, and call it good enough. After all, isn't the whole "your career is what gives your life meaning" spiel nothing more than emotionally-veiled capitalistic propaganda designed to encourage all of us worker bees to continue propping up the billionaires? (Not to imply that there's a problem if your work does feel meaningful - if so, that's great. But I don't think that has to be true for everybody.)
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6 comments:

  1. I know there's still complexity and conflict around your decision, but I'm very happy for you that you haven't been spending this past year in that horrible misery. <3

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  2. Good enough is great. It's a solution that works for you and your family at this stage of life! Life is too short to be miserable, and it seems you've found a happy(?)/content(?) medium! Stimulated without being overwhelmed is a nice spot to be. Happy Quitversary!

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  3. I think it's great that you followed your instincts that full-time work is not for you -- and I say that as a career coach! Not everyone is suited for the 9-5. I dropped out of corporate life after a short career in finance, consulting and media (3 glam industries but just not for me). I carved an alternative career in career coaching, which includes writing, speaking, teaching, coaching, etc. My family of four is thriving so it hasn't impeded my family commitments and I'm much happier. Congrats on taking the road less traveled -- it's gutsy and leaves space for you to find what you really want!

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  4. Everyone needs different things in life, and I'm so glad you've found what works for you! Your comment about wanting more direction reminded me of this post from the awesome Captain Awkward (https://captainawkward.com/2020/05/11/1267-how-do-i-set-goals-if-i-dont-want-anything/). You're not the only person (by any means) struggling for direction right now.

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    Replies
    1. Wow, that post really does encompass and dig into why I feel the way I feel. Thank you.

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