How I quit my job and changed my life– the Millennial Experience
As of late there have been a series of studies regarding millennials and their work habits, some of the most popular suggest:
millennials are the most dissatisfied with their careers than any other generation.
many individuals born between the 1980’s-2000’s will have as many as 7 jobs before they reach the age of 30.
On average, a millennial is thought to leave a job after about 18 months, and spiral into another company.
Millennials suffer from depression more than any other generation
These conclusions got me to thinking, what the hell is going on? Are we really depressed and is it truly because of social media, as some experts suggest? Or, perhaps the baby boomers were right—are we lazy, and distracted? Do we lack the logic and diligence to make it in the real world? Considering these same parties also claim, that I likely live with my parents and refuse to help out, wasting my entire life on the internet, I have decided to use my personal experience in the workplace to provide an alternative answer to those already claimed.
In doing so, I am promptly reminded of a Wednesday afternoon, the day was sunny and the flowers seemed to have bloomed overnight. I had to work that day, and as per usual I showed up to work with a few minutes to spare, when I arrived and noticed the bleakness of the building, — one that I was doomed to spend 12 hours in with no windows and in an ever going state of crises– I cried vehemently; I wished with all of my heart, that I could leave, that I could have more control over my life, the tears came fast and furious, and I knew that day I had to make a change and quickly. I needed to find a way to sustain myself that didn’t bring me to tears at 2 in the afternoon—all because I thought there was no other way.
Those tears haunt me, and I feel it is time I share with you why I quit my job, and how it changed my life for the better.
The story must begin a few years ahead of today, at the time I was only 22, I held hope for being a writer, but unemployed and down on my luck I began to ignore that call in my heart and lent myself to caution and reason.
So, I got a real job!
I met the company–that I will leave unnamed for reasons that shall remain private–which I remained employed with for three years, at a Job fair. I was hired the same day, considering that I had been unemployed for six months by this time and had just depleted my savings, I was excited to have a job with both benefits, and opportunities for growth, in what was described as an employment depression.
More so, the company was a dream, it ran like that of a well-oiled machine. Everyone I met there was both happy and friendly. The company, boasted one of the top benefit packages in the industry, and had mastered the art of company culture, so I suppose it was to be expected, but I still believe on some level that the company did hold true care for their employees. Never the less, I had hit the corporate American jack pot.
Before the orientation video came to a close, I’d decided that I to could go from lowly janitor to CEO. I was inspired by the testimonies and successes of all the staff and personnel; I was completely unaware, as to say blissfully ignorant, that this video and orientation were repeated from company to company, and apparently even the county jail has a version of this horse shit propaganda. Instead, armed with naivety, I convinced myself that with this opportunity I could work full time and finish my last few classes for undergrad, then I hoped to make the transition into a career with the company.
I was gonna be a Company Women!
The plan was simple; I would finish school while paying my dues. Soon after graduation I would be promoted, and begin my climb to success. IT WAS BRILLIANT. So much so in fact, the plan began to flourish even before I expected, after only six months I had been promoted to an entry level management position. When this occurred, I became even more convinced- if it were at all humanly possible- that this was exactly what I wanted to do, as any dumb ass 23-year-old would do.
By this time, my dreams of writing were silenced entirely, in fact school began to take a backseat, the voice in my mind that yearned to explore my creativity, went on a leave of absence and the position was filled with a temp. voice of logic and pragmatism. Nice girl, boring, but solid advice. She would say to me “do it the way of the tried and true,” And so I did. I came early, I stayed late, I sacrificed days off, and tried to maintain to never get sick—at least for a while.
During this time, I can’t say I was miserable, in fact I convinced myself I was happy I had enough for my bills and lifestyle, and although I wasn’t making as much money as I wanted, I had the potential to be promoted. In fact, I received the thinly veiled promise to be the next in line for the move.
All was well, until that faithful day that my temp voice resigned and my fateful voice begging me to aim high and achieve returned to me. Que the Wednesday afternoon crying episode… it was not pretty!
I graduated college…much later than anticipated (as this route called for a lot of sacrifice and flexibility) and was anxious to prove my dedication. I clocked 50 hours a week, took on side projects, helped out my coworkers, found a mentor, did charity work with my colleagues and networked whenever possible. In short I leaned—the fuck—In.
Once the fiscal year renewed itself and the time for promotions approached I noticed that the company began to display signs of downsize. Red flags began to crop up all around me– jobs began to be merged rather than filled, more expectations duties began to be added job duties, hours started to be crunched, and people were being let go at a rapid rate–I looked around and my gut told me to get out of dodge and quickly. My time was done, I was bored and stagnant, I lost hope for a promotion and simply wanted my freedom back. I left that company, whom I must say I loved for a while, after three years to go to a competitor.
The competitor held a reputation for industry best, but It took me less than two weeks to get bored and 6 months to feel my way out of work. But in the short time I was there I became reacquainted with faint and far ambitions. My new position exposed me a women’s group for leadership. The leadership committee for women began by recommending Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean in—if you have not read it, put it on your booklist, seriously it’s amazing. The knowledge the novel was intended to in part was to inspire women to be more assertive and confident in the work place, Sandberg devised that women were not excelling because they failed to get involved and to reach high, it was solid advice and it caused me to reflect a lot. However, for me, the novel left a very different impression, my small and hushed voice began to scream louder and louder ‘find your passion,’ ‘do what you love,’. It dawned on me for all the grunt work I was doing, because it truly was grunt work, I could at least be on the path to reaching my dream. I, however was not, in fact, I was not even in my preferred industry, and the position was dead end with no path to growth. If I was going to work that hard, and sacrifice that much, well then it damn sure better be something I love. Am I right?
I wasn’t sure how It would work, but I applied for writing positions in hopes of landing something even remotely in my area of interest, these attempts served as futile. So, next I decided to find a position with regular hours, outside of the industry I was in. Plan of attack: reach out to old contacts in order to find a position that answered my interests.
This worked, I met with a company that I interviewed for over a year ago, the company was small but seemed nice and easygoing. Offices were huge, breakfast provided, the company even boasted massages and free car washes for employees, but I hated it. I still wasn’t satisfying my inner voice. My relationship with this company was even shorter than my last, and I didn’t make it thru the training program before I was over the time constraints, the commute and work all together.
Luckily, the universe began to answer my desperate calls for change and I was offered a fellowship at the university. The opportunity provided full tuition, and a stipend, as well as a masters in English. As you may imagine, my professors easily convinced me to reenroll in school. True, my bachelors hadn’t provided me much opportunity, but I hoped a masters would open up some doors, and most importantly that voice I had worked so hard to silence was reawakened and screaming at me.
The decision was simple, I received the email at 10 am and had packed up my desk and I walked out of my job at 12:30. I waved and smiled and they looked on dumbstruck by this weird girl, who came late and seemed to have had the soul sucked out of her.
Three years later, and my only regret is that I had not done it sooner. Had I realized how much I missed with my family, friends, and my life…or noticed that the last several years had been consumed by time clocks and business meetings, things would have been different.
These days, I am happier than ever, I am a full time writer and the universe seems to be working with me every step of the way. My purpose is being fulfilled, the call answered; I feel excited to wake in the morning, to write and to share my peace with others. Although I am making less money, I feel more rewarded than ever. I no longer stress about meetings, and work place politics. Now, I spend my days reading, writing, building relationships with individuals I genuinely care about, and taking on projects that speak to me rather than to win brownie points…and yes I still have time to snap a few chats. My life is my own now, I create my own schedule, I choose my own content, I network with those I choose to work with, and all of it lends to directly to my personal benefit.
I know that I will never enter corporate America again, I enjoy the freedom and autonomy self-employment renders. Entrepreneurship is hard, but hard work doesn’t scare me, after all I began working at 17, and haven’t stopped yet! So suck it Generation X!
What scares me is living outside of my purpose for thirty years and retiring to 0$ in social security and a minimal retirement plan. Its working in a place who questions if you are really sick and if anyone else can go to your nephews b-day party. I don’t need to put my phone away, or work until dawn any more. My worst nightmare is over, and after three years it led me back to my divine will. What I do, still lacks logic and practicality to some, but for me it’s the only thing that brings me to peace, and therefore it is the only profession that I am willing to consider. As for all those studies—maybe millennials are just too smart to spend their lives miserable, hell You Only Live Once—YOLO!!