The Day I Quit My Job

Has anything ever happened to you that’s made you realize that you should go not with people’s perception of what’s logical but instead with your own interpretation of what’s right? I don’t mean the kind of right that’s simply intuitive; I mean the kind of right that pulls at you and refuses to let go.

I went to London to disconnect from the routine, from work, from the noise of others and from the thought of quitting my job. While there, I also mourned the unexpected loss of my baby nephew. But, traveling didn’t deter me from wanting to resign. Instead, it amplified my desire to do so. It fueled me with the courage to follow the direction of my dreams, my real dreams, not the kind that are enveloped with a step-by-step roadmap but the kind that require I lay out my own path.

The only thing I know for sure is that I won’t be around forever. So then, what does it matter how hard I work to save up money if there’s no guarantee I’ll get to enjoy it? What difference does it make if I move up from one position to another, if a promotion doesn’t necessarily equate happiness? Sure, a steady paycheck is nice, but is it worth it if I’m investing time, time I’ll never get back, in something I’m not enthusiastic about? I need to do what I’m utterly, profoundly and undeniably crazy about, even if it doesn’t look perfect at all times. I don’t demand, require or expect perfection.

While to some my way of thinking may seem foolish, to me, it makes sense. Whether I fail or succeed – and trust me, I’m not afraid to fail – I’d like to do so on my own terms. I’ve seen the glow in people’s eyes when they speak about their passion, but I’ve also seen the sadness and disappointment in the eyes of those who were too afraid to chase their dreams. This is why, after much deliberation and an attempt to stall, the unceasing feeling that I should be doing something else won, and on Monday, December 9th, against the advice of others, I handed in my letter of resignation.

Shortly thereafter, I stepped out for lunch. To clear my head, and since a few of my closest friends couldn’t talk on the phone, I decided to walk across Union Square Park to Barnes and Noble. Something about bookstores always puts me at ease. Out of all the people I could’ve ran into that day, I ran into one of my favorite writers, Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love.

I thought twice before interrupting what appeared to be an engaging conversation between her and her husband. “Excuse me. Are you Elizabeth Gilbert?” I finally asked.

“Yes, I am,” She said, with a look of bewilderment.

Eat Pray Love is amazing! You’re so inspiring!” I gushed.  She smiled and thanked me.

When I asked her for a picture, she hesitated, confessing that she’d been having a bad day, and I chimed in immediately. “Me too!” I said, referring to the aura at work and not to my decision. “I just quit my job to write…I want to write!” I continued, feeling my throat tighten.

“Bless you, sweetheart!” She said while leaning in to give me a hug. She agreed to a picture, and her husband was nice enough to take it. After blessing me a few times, she wished me luck on the next chapter of my life.

Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert

Earlier that day, I’d asked the universe for an indisputable sign that I was making the right choice, because this hadn’t been an easy choice to make. Had I stepped out a minute later or chosen instead to go straight back to work, I would’ve missed her.

In the days I’d contemplated quitting, I was uneasy, feeling unsure of what my dream job would look like. Meeting Elizabeth Gilbert diminished that uncertainty. Though recognizable and undoubtedly inspiring, Elizabeth Gilbert isn’t so famous that she can’t take an undetected walk down the streets of Manhattan. That’s what I want – to write, to inspire others through my writing and to still be able to enjoy the simple things. Fulfillment, at least in my opinion, doesn’t derive from fame but from the random hugs, smiles and testimonies of those who have been impacted and inspired by one’s work.

I haven’t given up on public relations. I’m still interested in event planning and the communications field. Regardless of where my journey leads, I’m certain I’ll use the PR skills I’ve learned and continue to learn.

I was fortunate to land a job that allowed me the opportunity to try new things and learn in the process. This experience has given me a better sense of what I like and dislike. For years, I thought I wanted an office job and now, I know I want something more interactive. I don’t want an easy job, but I don’t want a stressful one either. I experienced shoulder and chest pains due to stress. My eyes are still paying the price for the endless hours I spent in front of the computer. I didn’t like the feeling of my days blending into one another.

I didn’t exactly quit my job to write. Truth be told, I was writing while working; I could’ve continued to write while working. I quit my job because I wasn’t happy and because I want to do more writing. These past few weeks have served as a reminder that life is much too short, too short for me to not be fully dedicated to what I love most. I know hardships lie ahead and in some ways, I’ve brought them upon myself, but I’ve also learned to trust my instincts and the unceasing pull of my dreams.

  • http://trineowens.wordpress.com/ Katrina Owens

    Such an inspiring post Geraldine! I think we often get too caught up in fulfilling the expectations that everyone else creates for us… but if we’re not 100% happy with what we’re doing, than why bother? I’m going through a difficult stage right now because I’m a student – so I feel like I have to stick out any entry level PR job that I can get (so unfortunately I spent 90% of last summer being completely and utterly miserable because I simply did not love my workplace). But I’m hoping one day I have enough experience and knowledge to quit a job if I don’t love it!

    • Geraldine

      Hi, Katrina. Thank you for reading. Quitting was not an easy decision; I doubt it ever is. I am also aware that no job will ever be perfect, but I think a job should add meaning to your days or, at the very least, some excitement. Learning when to step away from something is a part of testing the waters, no? Good luck on future endeavors! :)

  • http://blog.vivian-lee.net Vivian

    Just wanted to say – good for you! It took me such a long time to gather up the courage to quit my job last year (3 months of debating, actually)… throughout college I had aimed to get a job in the financial industry, and once I did… it wasn’t all that I hoped it would be. I knew I was good at it, I knew it was interesting, but it didn’t get me riled up and excited. So I quit.

    And my, what a roller coaster of a ride it has been after that. I still am not 100% sure what I want to do with my life. I know I want to do something with marketing. But what, I don’t know. I guess that’s part of the charm of things – letting life play out before our eyes. I wish you the best of luck wherever your career takes you, whether that’s freelancing or writing for a publication or being a novelist.

    • Geraldine

      Hi, Vivian! Thank you for reading. I love reading about other people’s journeys. Quitting wasn’t something I decided on a whim either. I even traveled to reflect and make sure this was the right choice for me! I’m aware that hardships lie ahead, but I’m also certain it’ll be worth it. Most people only dream of having enough courage to do what we’ve done. I figure now’s the time to take such risks! Best of luck to you! :)

  • Yahaira

    Geraldine,

    Congratulations are your decision. I am in total aggreance with you on life being too short not to follow you dreams. I always enjoy following your chronicles of your path as many times I can empathize with you. May The Lord bless you on your new journey and I look forward to seeing where the chronicles take you. Echa palante que el señor siempre nos guarda y guía en su fortaleza.
    Bendiciones a ti y su familia

    • Geraldine

      Hola, Yahaira. Gracias por leer y por siempre apoyarme. Agradezco tus palabras. My hope is that my journey will inspire others to take the risks they may have otherwise been too afraid to take. Thank you for your blessings! Sending lots of positivity your way! :)

  • http://PRWITHPERSI.WORDPRESS.COM Persida Montanez

    Geraldine,
    Gracias por compartir esto. You have so much courage! I hope you find a path that you are SO passionate about, that it doesn’t feel like work!
    Sinceramente,
    Persida

    • Geraldine

      Persida, muchisimas gracias. I’m certain it won’t be easy to find that path, but I’m determined to find it! Thank you for reading and for your amazing words! :)

  • Kyla

    How inspiring!

    I’m a public relations graduate (graduated in June) and after one internship, I’m wondering “what’s next?” I live in Canada and the PR world just doesn’t excite me here, the industries/places I want to work are all in New York. My dream would be to move to NY to pursue my career but it’s such a big (and expensive) move and the thought of such a change scares me. You have definitely inspired me though, I’d rather take the risk than go through life wondering “what if?”

    Good luck to you!

    • Geraldine

      Hi Kyla,

      Thanks for reading! Change can be scary, but it can also be very exciting! I say take the leap! Most people will tell you that your youth is the time to explore, to figure out what you truly want. Better to take risks now then to live with regret letter, no? Best of luck to you. Happy holidays! :)

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