Several months ago, I left my job in the insurance/financial industry. I won’t get into the reasons of why I left. I am not even sure if I have a concrete reason for why I left. I guess it was a lot little reasons. In a nutshell, I was not happy. I had been there for 4 years and had spent 3 years, 9 months trying to find a reason to leave. Instead of finding a reason to leave, I had a million reasons for why I needed to stay. My husband had been encouraging me to leave for a couple of years, knowing that I was not happy and that my health, both physical and mental were suffering. So, with Eric’s encouragement, I put in my 2 week notice and left my former company on February 28th without a job lined up. I had posted my resume online requesting NO INSURANCE inquiries.
I had been in the insurance industry since before I graduated college. In fact, I worked at an insurance company in high school and worked at that same company for summer vacations. When I graduated college, I naturally found a job at another insurance company. When my kids were born, I stayed home with them and worked in retail part-time for several years. That was strictly spending money, 15 hours per week at Yankee Candle does not pay the bills, but it was a fun place to work and I was happy. When I decided to go back to work 9 years ago, my resume only attracted insurance companies, so back I went. Knowing with 100% certainty that I was going to hate the industry, the job and for the most part, my 8am to 5pm existence. Boy was I right!
When I took the job I recently quit, it came with a 50% pay increase, better benefits and more security. It seemed like a no brainer, but when I accepted, my stomach sank and for 4 years I survived on Tums. I did not listen to my inner voice, that was a huge mistake. For 4 years I went to work, dreading the day ahead of me. Every Sunday night depressed me and I lived for the weekends. When I had a day off, it was like Christmas for me. A coworker once remarked that I loved days off more than anyone she knew. I was more than a little embarrassed, but she spoke the truth. I used to mark every day off of my desk calendar because it marked the end of another day of being there. I told my coworker who asked why I did that, that I marked the days off so that I knew what the date was immediately if asked. It seemed plausible. When I told my kids I left my job, I told them to never stay at a job that makes you so unhappy that you are excited to mark off the days of your life, which is what I was doing. In a nutshell, I was living in a soul sucking environment, I never should have stayed with it as long as I did.
When I think about my departure, the phrase “death by a thousand papercuts” seems like the perfect description. Like I said, I can’t think of one instance, other than the one that finally set me free, that made me so unhappy. There was just a lot of little things, that is no way to live. I would encourage anyone who is reading this that if they feel like this, reexamine your life. We only get one trip on this planet, make it worth it.
I knew I had to find a job that allowed me to live a life that made me happy and allowed me to live my values. I value my family, friends, community, the environment, a free exchange of ideas and living a life with intention. With those ideas in mind, I felt like I hit the jackpot when I saw a job opening at my local library. I will spare the boring details of how I got the job, but I did get the job. I have not had heartburn since March 1st. Seriously, it immediately disappeared when I left. I no longer dread Sunday nights. Yes, I have to work Monday morning, but I enjoy my job and truly enjoy everyone I work with. I am working in my community. What says community more than a local library in a sleepy suburb? I work with people who share the same values I do and we talk about it. I no longer have to pretend I am something I am not or keep my mouth shut so I don’t offend. I have time to pursue the things I want to do. My hours are reduced and while they do not conform to the normal 8-5 workday, I am able to sleep in a bit and spend time with my husband and daughter in the mornings. I have also lost weight. I have more time to exercise and spend a lot more time moving. Being chained to a desk all day is a recipe for weight gain no matter how well take care of yourself. Simply stated, I am happy.