Ever feel like you stayed somewhere just because you felt obligated? Obligation to something tends to mask any underlying problems. Instead of looking deep into the situation and figuring out what could be changed, we have a tendency of staying still. Partly because we feel obligated and partly because we’re afraid of failing. It’s so comfortable to stay in the same spot, and it generally doesn’t require any extra effort on our part.
I don’t really like standing still. I can hardly sit through a 2 hour movie at the theatre, always growing antsy the closer it gets to the end. Instead I dabble in too many things and have a hard time bringing anything to a close, but occasionally I even get stuck in the bad habit of standing still.
I did this for 8 years at two different jobs. I didn’t particularly like either of them very much and they both made me unhappy. One required a lot of my time, more than I was willing to give up, but instead of changing it I stayed around. I practically became a depressed zombie that just followed through the motions because I felt like I didn’t have any other options. I also didn’t even bother to check any of my other options. When I finally found the courage to leave that job, I didn’t go to a job that I absolutely loved or even had an interest in. Instead I went to a job that I thought society would approve of. I started this new job because I thought it would make me look good, not because it would make me happy.
So of course I experienced the same results. This time it wasn’t time that was an issue, at least not in the same sense as my previous job. At my previous job I didn’t have any time for anything or anyone else because I was working 16-18 hour days 6-7 days a week, but at my new job it was a different experience with time. I was no longer working long hours because I had a 9-5 job with weekends off, instead I was experiencing what it felt like to be WASTING my time. I was sitting around watching the clock or scrolling through the internet anywhere from 4-6 hours a day. Some people’s response to this was “Well at least you’re getting paid to do it!” Sure, I was getting paid (almost minimum wage) to sit around, but I felt like my brain cells were dying. My job wasn’t satisfying me, it was boring me to death, and in return making me unhappy.
I dreamed of leaving my job all the time. Not only was it boring but it required me to do a lot of sales, which I also don’t really like. It felt like I was going against my own personal views to meet the company’s expectations. I didn’t like that, but I still stayed. In fact I stayed for 4 years, while I worked my way through school and got my Bachelors Degree in Music Production. I kept reminding myself of the perks of the job, like paid vacation and weekends off and paid holidays before finally coming to the conclusion that those things didn’t matter to me. I only felt like they did because of my previous experience at a job.
So after careful consideration I decided I would quit my job and pursue a business providing music lessons for kids. Earlier in the year we booked a trip to Thailand for two weeks in July, so I decided to take this opportunity and put my notice in two weeks before I left for my vacation and dive right in.
Honestly, it was the scariest thing I’ve ever done. I wondered about all the typical things, like how I’d pay my bills and feed my kids every month, but I decided the only way to find out if it would work was to dive right in. I made the decision from the very beginning that it didn’t need to be something I was afraid of. Mostly because I wasn’t working anywhere that provided me an income that I couldn’t go out and find again. I wasn’t making a 6 digit income, I was barely even making an income.
The beginning started off slow and the money didn’t flow in right away, but as I waited and put in my best effort the word got around. Each new customer brought in more customers and since then I’ve had full classes. The number one thing I learned from this journey wasn’t about the money or the time, it was about the feeling I got from doing something that I actually enjoyed. I love helping people and I love making an impact in someone’s life.
So I encourage you to take the leap if you’ve been waiting. No, it doesn’t mean you need to quit your job tomorrow, or maybe it does. It’s really up to you and what you want. It’s not about what anyone else wants, or my story, it’s about chasing after something important to you and to stop standing still because it feels comfortable. It’s actually not comfortable at all, because you’re giving up something of yourself every day to something that holds no significance in your life. Find your happy place.