If the next five years of your life are the same as the last five years, will you be okay with that?
That question grabbed my attention so tightly I nearly choked on my breath. At the time, I had been at my job for exactly five years.
Those five years of my life had been awful, and the thought of doing it over again was too much to even think about.
The answer to the question was… No! I would not be okay with that! Maybe this was a sign?
I was in the wrong place
I started my first real-world job one week after graduating from college. It was okay at first. I made the rounds and earned my paycheck. I did my best to not screw up and pretended I knew what I was doing long enough to actually learn what I was doing.
After about a year, the newness had worn off, and the reality of the situation was clear… I was in the wrong place.
There wasn’t anything wrong with the job, the company, or the people I worked with. It just wasn’t for me. I wasn’t supposed to be there.
Responsible, hardworking, honest people don’t quit their jobs.
When I told those around me that my job was draining me, and I wanted to do something else, I was told to do the responsible thing: stop complaining and suck it up.
I had dreams of starting my own business helping couples with their finances.
At the time, I didn’t know any other entrepreneurs and I didn’t have a support system to encourage me to explore other options. I felt trapped. I felt like I had no options and no way out. So I stayed.
I thought I was doing the right thing by being loyal. I didn’t want to be seen as an irresponsible quitter. I was worried about what people would think about me if I quit my job to start a business. But the stress kept building, and it started to show.
I gained some weight. I wasn’t heading in the right direction health-wise and I was unhappy. Then it got worse.
Stress can kill you.
When stress isn’t dealt with properly, it can manifest and release in physical ways. My entire right leg started hurting all the time. I had a knot in my left shoulder all the time. Let me say that again…
I had a knot in my shoulder all day, every day that didn’t go away for years!
It got worse when the stress from my job increased. It felt like a muscle in my shoulder was on fire.
I even threw out my back on the job. That was a fun week! Maybe the scariest thing that happened was when I developed a case of shingles. Guess what? One of the causes of shingles is STRESS.
(Shingles is a re-emergence of the virus that causes chickenpox. Anyone who had chickenpox as a child carries this virus in their nervous system forever, and a certain number of adults develop shingles. Shingles usually shows up in people who are over fifty.)
I was in my late 20s, and my body was starting to fall apart. It’s scary to think what would have happened had I kept walking down that path.
I wasn’t going to waste the one life that God had given to me.
I knew things had to change.
Things were going to change; that’s a fact. Things were either going to get worse, or I was going to take control of my life and make the changes myself.
The thought of another five, ten, or twenty years in that situation terrified me. The reality was, no one was going to do it for me. I had to pull the trigger myself.
A leap of faith
I was desperate, and I was tired of feeling miserable all the time.
My wife supported my decision and after several months of talking it over we decided enough was enough.
So one day, I put in my two-weeks notice, and that was it.
I’ll never forget the day my wife picked me up from the office, and we left the company car in the parking lot. Looking at the company car in the rear view mirror was a meaningful moment.
Don’t quit your day job
Most people will tell you not to quit your job without a backup plan. That’s good advice that even I believe to be worth listening to.
But at the time it didn’t matter to me what was next. I had to get out of the situation I was in. I was wasting my life; I was miserable, and I was falling apart.
I quit my job with nothing lined up because I couldn’t stand it one more day.
All of my stress related health issues cleared up within a month.
I never saw a doctor. Never got treatment. All of my health issues just disappeared.
It scares me to think how close I was to staying at that job for who knows how many more years. Where would I be today had I not quit? (Probably in the hospital.)
The next five years
If the next five years of your life are the same as the last five, would you be okay with that?
If you’re overdue for making big changes in your life, don’t wait another day. (Or year!) Life is too short to hang on to a job that makes you miserable for all the wrong reasons.
My wife and I are now living out our dream of helping married couples have better conversations on money.
I followed my dream of helping others through starting my own business. Now, my wife and I help others have those–sometimes difficult–conversations about money.
This article originally appeared on KimanziConstable.com.
Are you at a job that makes you miserable?
Derek and his wife Carrie encourage couples to have better conversations about money. Derek and Carrie challenge everything money related on their blog, in their books, and on their podcast. Download the free e-book Four and a Half Conversation Starters from Derek’s website and start having better conversations about money today! If you would like to guest post, hit me up 🙂