I have been sitting on this post for a while now. I’m not sure why. I think it’s mostly because I’ve been wallowing and trying to identify what to do next and how to pay bills that need to be paid sooner than later.
For those of you who don’t know, I quit my job (of less than a year) earlier this year. In January, to be exact. It wasn’t that big of a deal, yet it was. It required me saying goodbye to the very reason that brought me to New Jersey, although I think there was another reason, but that’s a topic for a later day.
I’ve quit jobs before and have always moved on to bigger and better things and this leave was along the same lines. I have moved on to bigger and better things, although many days it leaves me in a panic and other days, I wonder if I’ve set myself up for failure because my success isn’t happening as quickly as I’d like it. It almost always ebbs when I remember my days sitting in that space wanting to strangle myself and I think, “Thank GOD, I left that place!”
Recalling my reasons for leaving and my sense of fulfillment and dread allow me to live in the present. I know it seems a bit backwards, but there is some truth in recalling the past to bring about gratitude. It also gives me perspective on my reasons for not wanting to work for another company possibly ever again, and my hunger to make S2 and my own growth real and viable.
There are many blog articles on the topic of quitting a job and values and success and here I’m going to add my perspective to the mix. It is true. It is all true. It may be a bit different depending on the person and the experience, but your values are deeply connected to your success. Everyone wants to follow their dream and pursue their passions, and they can as long as they pay heed to their values.
Values are the things your parents and grandparents taught you. They are those little reminders that your gut throws at you when you’re embarking on something. They are what gives you pause, and send you forward. Values don’t necessarily have anything to do with religion or ethnic background. They have everything to do with how you react to the events going on around and inside you as well as your treatment of what is around you during those times. Values have as much to do with how you view an article of clothing, a piece a trash, to how you treat an animal crossing the road and the homeless man/woman begging for money as you walk by. Values also have to do with whether you return the extra money when the cashier is incorrect and whether or not you hold the door for the person behind you or walking out as you get ready to walk in.
Now, I’m not perfect in any way. I yell at people in my car. I curse them out too. Telemarketers almost never receive a calm and fun phone conversation with me. And yet, when I’m about to go off, I tell the person on the other line, “I know this isn’t your fault, but I’m frustrated. It doesn’t allow what I’m about to do, but please know this isn’t personal.” Again, I’m not perfect, but I have values. I feel remorse in many cases where I reacted badly. I want to help the homeless person. In fact, there have been days where I have $2 to my name and I give the homeless man/woman a dollar. I don’t do this to feel better, I do it because it reminds me there are people who don’t have; where as I may be in a state of flux and serious concern, I’m not on the street and that person deserves to feel some sense of hope and care.
How does all of this have anything to do with quitting my job? It’s simple, really. I quit my job because I had different values than those of my bosses. When I think about it, many times I’ve quit my job because my values were different than that of my boss(es). In some cases, that value was monetary, but in most cases it was the quality of the life I was living and the impact I was making not just for me, but for the greater World.
One of the biggest reasons for quitting my most recent job had to do with the wedding of a really good friend of mine. One of my best friends, actually. That wedding coincided with The Super Bowl in the NJ/NY area and one of the largest gift shows in New York City. I knew given past experiences that my bosses were not going to be okay with me not being there for the beginning of the show because of a wedding. In fact, I knew that a “your priorities aren’t in order” conversation would happen, again and it would be thrown in my face that I was being paid “much more money” than anyone else. I simply did not want to hear it. Again. Ever. As I told them once in a conversation, “my friends and family come before work, always.” (Something they can not and will not understand ever, because their business is built around their extramarital relationship.) And so, Without any real hesitation (and after several weeks and months (I had been considering quitting after six months of employment with them) of considering my decision), I quit. I gave a three week notice and my last day was on January 30th. It was refreshing; not to mention the Universe kept throwing me signs that I could take this road. The day after my last day, I drove to Chicago for a wedding in a bloody snow storm. It was liberating, exhausting, and exactly what I needed to heal my soul and my values.
I haven’t looked back; I haven’t wished I were back there and I most definitely know in my heart of hearts that I did the right thing. Leaving a job (because it was never a career) where you sit in the basement of a house where your two bosses are “playing house” with poor internet connection and no natural light, was the right thing to do. As I kept reminding myself as I prepared to tell them I was quitting, “Sara, you didn’t quit one job where you received employee benefits and worked normal hours to go work in a dungeon where you were expected to put in 10 hour days, not make a noise, and feel miserable.”
I share the details of the situation because it’s important to know why values are so important. Why my values are shaping my current (and future) work situation. Many times people feel like they have no choice; as though they have to stay in a horrible situation even if their soul is dying. No one should ever sacrifice who they are for money. Ever. Yes, we need money. Yes, money gives us security, but the truth is it doesn’t. There will always be more money we can make, or more things we can (and feel the need) to buy. Now, I’m not suggesting everyone quit their jobs now because they’re not happy. What I am suggesting though, is that everyone take stock of their values and desires in life and compare whether they are being met in their current job situation. If they’re not then an exit strategy should be figured out. Sooner rather than later.
You’ll be fine when you take the step toward your values. In fact, the entire World might be more than fine if we all conscientiously took a step toward our values and did the work we were meant to do. It might be hard at first, but as my wonderful mother told me while I was in tears a few nights ago, “Sara, you’re following your heart and while that’s a difficult road, you’ll be better off for it.”