How can I go months without health insurance?
Will I be able to get another job with an employment gap?
Am I doing the right thing by quitting?
These are all the questions I had in my mind as I made the decision to quit my job.
I didn’t plan ahead. I didn’t have a backup plan. I simply walked into office and couldn’t keep going anymore.
After about a year into the corporate world, I felt suffocated. Even though I had a great job, was making more than enough money to lead a comfortable life, and was learning new things every day, I felt I was in auto-pilot. I felt that I never gave myself enough space to decide what I wanted to do in my life. I heard stories of experienced professionals taking sabbatical leaves and career breaks to give themselves the chance to think about their future. They told me it was a chance for them to assess if what they were doing was truly what they wanted to do for the rest of their lives. This made me think, “Do I have to wait till mid-career to do this? Why not take the time out when I’m young and take a break now?” I thought if I really gave myself a chance to think about what I wanted to do with my life at a relatively early stage in my career, it would set me up for success and give me a solid foundation on which I could build my career.
So, I took the bold move of quitting my job. I didn’t plan ahead. I didn’t have a backup plan. I simply walked into office and couldn’t keep going anymore. I told my boss that I had to give myself a break and I did not want to continue working at the company. I told him that I would be doing injustice to myself, my clients, and ultimately the company’s mission if I kept working there. My heart told me to give myself a break and really think about what I wanted to do. Was I in the corporate world just because it was the easiest thing to do? Was I in it for the wrong reasons? I needed some space to think about this and contemplate my next moves which is why I quit.
During the first three weeks or so, I wasted more time than I should have, excessively socializing and probably even thinking too hard about my next move. I realized this was the time for myself to do the things I loved to do. I had ten hours back in my day which I could use to be the best version of myself. I wasn’t going to waste it. I started to meditate more and work out twice a day. I spent more time with my loved ones and even began to cook more, something I couldn’t find the time to do before. I spent 20-30 minutes every morning reading a book I enjoyed which helped me set the tone for the day. Most of these were simple things but I felt the joy in doing them. After two months of having a strong routine of doing just what I wanted to do, a true sense of purpose crept into my life. What really mattered to me was clear and right in front of me. I gradually developed a stronger direction and vision of what I wanted to do in the near future.
I eventually decided to step back into the corporate world three months after I had quit my job. What was scary at first turned into a blessing in disguise. I took time out to find the company and role that really resonated with my values. Even the smaller mundane things that I did when I was on break stuck with me and became strong components of my daily routine once I started my new job. The biggest lesson this journey taught me was that it’s okay to be honest with myself and pause my life for a moment to reflect on my career.
Many a times, we live our lives in auto-pilot. We get stuck in the rat race of bagging a job after college, marrying the person of our dreams, getting a big house with a green lawn, then raising a family, and you know the rest. Nothing is wrong in this but the crime I was committing was not asking myself if every move in my life had a purpose and a conscious motive behind it.
Now, every few months, I make an effort to retreat from the daily rigors and responsibilities so I can reflect on what I am doing and ask myself if they align with my goals and aspirations. Am I doing this in auto- pilot mood or is it something I truly want to do?