Jermaine Warren was down and unmotivated until a drastic move made a huge difference in his mood and outlook.
Jermaine Warren didn’t realized he was depressed. “My friends said I looked miserable,” he said. His life was marked with apathy, inactivity, and staleness. Still, he didn’t realize anything was wrong. He had lived that way for too long to know life could feel different.
A year later, Warren is happy, energized, engaged and active. What made the difference? Warren had been a computer programmer in Houston. Recently, he sold his condo and car, and made the move to New York City to pursue his dream career as a comedian.
He endured excruciatingly dull days in a cubicle working as a programmer. “I was a drone,” he recalled. “It was like Groundhog Day.” Warren was making good money, though. Like many, he also thought he had to grow up, go to college, and get a regular job. “I was on autopilot,” he said.
“There was unspoken pressure in my family to do that,” he shared. “My father escaped poverty. The message was, ‘Don’t go backwards.'”
Graduating from the University of Houston and becoming a computer programmer fulfilled his family’s expectations, but it also began to suck the life out of him. Warren was always interested in comedy, but programming sapped his creativity. “When I’m programming, my comedy dies.”
Finally, it was time for a bold move. After doing comedy as a side job for a few years, Warren decided it was time to pursue his true passion full time. Now, he is a comedian in New York City and finally feels a sense of fulfillment. “I had no idea how down I was until I moved,” he disclosed.
A common cause of depression is career dissatisfaction. It is hard to have a sense of fulfillment when you spend forty hours a week miserable. Should everyone quit their jobs and pursue their true passion? Warren has some advice for those considering a move as bold as his:
Save money, have a plan, and be patient. Staying in the miserable job enabled Warren to formulate a viable plan. He did not decide to be a comedian, quit his job on the spot, and move to New York City, fingers crossed and hoping for the best. He spent a while performing comedy as a side job and stockpiling money.
Keep your real job as long as possible. Warren noted that the arts do not pay well. It can also take a long time to save and formulate a plan. Though you might be miserable, your current job could be your ticket to pursuing your true vocation.
Be prepared for a change in lifestyle. Warren’s bold move involved trading prosperity for passion. “It was definitely worth it,” he said. He has, however, gone from owning a car and his own condo to sharing space with three roommates.
Instead of working a 40-hour week in a cubicle, Warren now performs comedy all over the city. He knew from his first open mic, even though didn’t get a single laugh, that comedy was what he wanted to do. He did not quit his job that day and move to a new city; rather, he formulated a plan, saved money, and waited until it made sense to make that transition.
Now, those preparations have paid off. He is energized and looks forward to each new day instead of dreading it.
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Photo: Jermaine Warren