And why, overall, I came back to the working world.
Over a year ago I decided it was time to quit my job. I had a lot of reasons to leave; lack of growth opportunities, little to no work to actually do, and a need to see what else was out there for me. I had a lot of reasons to stay, too; amazing students who kept me going day in and day out, stellar co-workers who quickly became friends, and a city I knew and loved dearly. One would say the reasons to stay were good enough, yet I knew in my then 23-year old heart, I had to go. Then an opportunity presented itself: a trip to Italy, Germany, and Switzerland in July.
I was afraid to tell my boss at the time the real reasons I wanted to leave. I didn’t feel comfortable explaining myself in a way that didn’t sound at times spiteful, angry, or disappointed. I needed a way out that made sense and wouldn’t be questioned too heavily.
I was (still am) young. I have a full life ahead of me. I lived in the same place for 6 years. I was desperate to see the world. This was it. To quit my job, I booked a trip and never looked back and not one person questioned why I was quitting when they heard I was going to be traveling.
This step made sense for me.
Usually, when someone decides to quit their job, they have another job lined up. They have a plan. They know when and where their money will be coming from. Not me…I knew where and when I would be spending money, but I had no idea how I’d be making it back. My plan was to lean on my savings I had been building for years. My plan was to thank God every day for not having student loans to pay off. My plan was to enjoy every moment of this plan-free working hiatus, until it was time to go back to the “real-world”.
And that plan worked…at first.
The first few months of my “funemployment” was enjoyable. I traveled around to see friends almost every weekend, I went abroad, and I stood alongside my best friend as she said “I do” in beautiful Colorado. I was living, loving, and thriving.
I decided by September 1, I’d be employed again. Unlike a lot of people, my plan was never to quit my job forever and travel full-time. So if that’s why you’re reading this, I’m sorry to have misled you. I’m not self-disciplined enough to earn money from blogging or posting glorious instagram pictures. I knew I needed to go back to the working 9-5 world and I thought I knew when.
September 1 rolled around and I was still funemployed, without a single prospect. I was being picky. I wasn’t applying to jobs just to apply to jobs. I was selective in my search process and I wasn’t going to allow myself to fall into another job where in a years time I ended up unhappy, stressed, and constantly anxious. So I stayed patient. It was okay, I could have a job by October 1.
I think you can see where this is going.
The holidays rolled around, I was still jobless. I was one of the lucky ones who at Thanksgiving got to explain to my relatives why I was unemployed and what types of jobs I was hoping to get, and then patiently sat through all of the advice they had to share. It was just SO much fun.
I ended up not getting a job until January 18, with a start date of January 29. And it couldn’t have turned out better for me. I now work at the American Cancer Society, absolutely loving what I do on a daily basis (who wouldn’t love working toward a world without cancer?), and feeling like my six months of employment and time for travel gave me everything I needed for a fresh start.
I recognize not everyone is as fortunate as I am to take six months off from working to travel and figure out exactly what you want to do. I had saved my money (and burned through over half of it), I was able to live at home rent free, and I had a support system behind me every step of the way.
If you’re able and need to leave a job because it’s toxic, not what you were hoping to do, or just can’t see a future — I encourage you to do it, AFTER you’ve made sure you have enough money and have a support system. I was thoughtful in my transition, even though it may not seem like it.
If you’re in a place now where you left your job to travel for a bit and now you’re ready to get back on the work horse, but don’t quite know how or are feeling a little defeated, I’m here for you. I’d love to chat with you about next steps, where you’re currently at, or even your journey to this point. Quitting your job is scary, traveling without a plan is scary, and beginning the job search again is scary.
But have faith in yourself. You’ve got this.
P.S. If you’re ever interested to read about my travels or other posts talking about this kind of topic, check these ones out: