My job was just another regular corporate job at a decent company. However, I always felt that there was so much more I could do. The daily commutes, the pointless meetings, the high pressure projects drained my energy, my soul, my body and mostly, my mind. In addition to this, over the course of the last few years, I dealt with bullying, dealt with aggressive co-workers, with unrealistic deadlines, under-appreciation of hard work. I overcame each challenge and towards the end of 2019, I started seriously contemplating how I was living life.
The signs were there, I saw them, but the fear held me back. Here are the top 3 signs which helped me understand I was in the wrong place and I needed to do something about it:
Often physically sick
I should have paid more attention to what my body was telling me, but even when I was writing this article, this sign occurred to me the last. While working in my job, I was sick often, with constant flus and was down for weeks at a time. There was a direct correlation between being stressed out at work & being physically sick. Wellness in corporate life is often neglected as we work late hours and handle stressful projects. It is somehow ingrained in us that the work matters more than our health. Taking the steps to put health first, both physical and mental should be a greater priority. I realised that simply knowing this isn’t enough, I had to act on it this year.
The projects I was working on gave me sleepless nights due to a variety of factors — high profile projects, deadlines, issues, strategically wrong decisions being made, not enough capacity. My mind was constantly switched on and I wasn’t able to relax or take time off. Even during weekend breaks, my mind was constantly plotting out this or that task. Some holidays were ruined as I wasn’t able to be in the moment, between beautiful surroundings. No matter how far I went, it seemed like I was still back at work.
No time to pursue what I truly wanted to do
How I wanted to live life and what I wanted to work on didn’t match with what I was doing at the company. I kept telling myself I can pursue my passions while still working. It didn’t pan out that way. Every night I came home drained and exhausted, whatever work I managed to do was of poor quality with a tired brain. Although this should have been the number 1 reason to quit, it wasn’t easy to forgo a steady pay-check and all the associated corporate benefits. Every year, every month I was trying to tell myself there would be time, I would find time to work on what I wanted in the future. Suddenly, years went past and I still haven’t managed to even start what I wanted to do. No more delay and dither, 2020 is the year I wanted to follow my dreams and passions. I know it will be a tough journey but it will be even more tougher to wake up when I’m older and realise life passed me by.
“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”— Gospel of St. Thomas
Stress impacting home life
In the evenings when I came home, the stress seeped out into home life. My partner could feel it and we discussed at length about the negatives in my job. We fought more often, we spent more time being unhappy than enjoying life. Work took over home life. After a while, I noticed what I was saying and I realised that I had become quite negative and pessimistic. I always used to be optimistic and passionate about what I was doing and this was quite a turnaround. I wanted to be myself again, the person I was, before the job wore me down.
My partner also told me many times to “quit the job, at least we will be able to save our relationship”. Even though the signs were all there, it was convenient to stick to old patterns, to live life the way we already know. Why disturb a lifestyle which I knew how to handle, a job which was comfortable in terms of steady pay, and venture into the unknowns.
It wasn’t any easy decision to make. It was excruciating as I wavered from one extreme of staying in the job to the other extreme of leaving the job every day for months. It wasn’t the obvious signs which helped me to make the decision to quit, it was something else.
This story is part of a series: In the next article, I describe how I made the decision to quit and what gave me clarity.
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Michael CJ Fox is an Author, Traveler, Consultant who worked in several companies. If you are interested in reading more, please check out the blog and books.
Books: How to Handle Bullying at Work encompasses practical advice, experiences on how to handle toxic workplaces, bosses, colleagues and helps you make wise decisions.
Decoding Karma is a book which translates Ancient wisdom of Karma to our modern-day lives.