Hi. I’m Aimee. I’m almost 28.
I have a bachelor’s degree, I’m a homeowner, I’m married and I have two toddlers. I have student loan debt, I have a mortgage, I have car payments, I refuse to carry a balance on my credit card, and I am saving for my kids’ future college expenses. I’m a planner and a hard worker. I have had a job since my freshman year of high school. Ever since then, I have always had a job. Until last week.
On June 7, I turned in my work laptop and my employee badge to my boss. He had security open a gate for me so I could exit the building. We shook hands, I walked to my car, and I never looked back.
This was a big moment for me. It’s right up there with getting my diploma, marrying the only person in the world who I think will ever know me better than I know myself, purchasing a house with my husband, and giving birth to my son and daughter. It was a big moment because I chose to leave my job. I chose to leave my job without having another job lined up. That’s right, I’m unemployed now.
Wait, what the !@#$ did I just do?!?!
Let me explain.
I started my most recent job in late 2010, and for a while it was awesome. I was writing, and I was making decent money doing it. The company offered great benefits, and I was working with many talented and motivated individuals. I thought I hit the jack-pot in terms of jobs. But then things got overwhelming really fast.
I had a second baby. Production goals increased. I was breastfeeding my daughter at all hours of the night and trying to fit in pumping while in the office during the day. Then I started working remotely at home five days a week, which meant I could shower during my lunch break instead of before taking the kids to day care. But then production goals increased again. I started working at night to catch up on the writing I couldn’t finish during the day. I stopped breastfeeding and pumping. I started potty-training my son. I was finally at a point when I was not having to work as much at night after the kids went to bed, but then production goals increased again. My husband started grad school. And I unraveled.
Going back to work after maternity leave with my daughter was a struggle. I wanted to stay home with her and my son, but I also knew that I needed to help support the family financially. I couldn’t make my husband be the only one responsible for making the money to pay the bills. After about three, four or five months of being back at work, I was finally able to get up in the morning without crying about wanting to stay home with my kids. And I was doing fine for a while.
But when production goals increased to the point where I had to start working at night after a full work day just to meet goals, I was miserable again. I kept telling myself that once I was done breastfeeding and pumping, I would have more time during the workday and more energy to get my work done. But by the time that happened, it was only a few months before goals increased again.
By the beginning of this year, I had no time to work on my career development. I was just writing, and writing, and writing. My motivation to advance at the company was gone. Employees who started after me were already advancing far beyond me. My husband also started grad school, which meant he was at night class once a week and also had to study on Saturdays and some Sundays. He is a great father and does so much for our kids, but because he couldn’t help as much as he used to, I started to feel like a single parent. I supported his decision to go to school and made sure he had the time he needed to do well in his first class, but I didn’t expect to get so exhausted so quickly.
I have been drowning. I want to swim again.
Things came crashing down on me pretty hard a couple of months ago. I was exhausted. I knew I needed a new job, or no job at all, but when I was asked what I was interested in or wanted to do, I didn’t have an answer. When I was with my kids, all I could think about was the basket of laundry that I still needed to fold and what I could do to try to accomplish more work in less time so I wouldn’t have to work at night after putting the kids to bed. I was angry at myself for being so miserable. I was angry at myself for wanting to leave my job. I was disgusted with myself for not being able to fully enjoy my time with my kids because I was constantly worrying about everything else. I knew I needed to change something, and I knew that meant quitting my job. But I was scared. So I made an appointment with a psychotherapist.
After a couple of sessions with my psychotherapist, after months of praying to God for clarity, and after numerous discussions with my husband, family and friends, I finally allowed myself to send in my resignation.
I cannot keep my passions caged any longer. It is time to open the cage.
There are so many things I have been wanting to do. I want a job that is fulfilling. I want to further develop skills I haven’t used in a few years, and I want to learn new skills. I want more time to spend with my children, and I want to learn how to play with my kids without constantly worrying. I want to allow myself to indulge in my interests without feeling guilty about it. I want to go on more dates with my husband. I want to write a children’s book. I want to socialize with others more. I want to try bartending. I want to live.
Was it necessary to quit my job? Yes. It was smothering me.
Do I understand that most people don’t just quit their jobs without having another job lined up? Yes, I do. But I have so much more to offer, I have a husband who is willing to support this decision, and I will not let my family down. My husband deserves a happy wife, my kids deserve a brave mom, and I deserve to live life.
Watch out world; here I come.