Today’s post is describing a distinct moment when my life took a turn.
I like to think of a turning point as that moment—that grand, cosmic flash, when suddenly everything you think you know is turned upside down. You can’t go back, the only thing you can do is move forward.
Once upon a time, many moons ago (don’t ask how many), I was a bright-eyed 25-year-old working full-time. It was my second, real adult, full-time job. I had previously been working the night shift and I finally got an opportunity to get a real 9 to 5 job with the land of the living. It was a busy office, with a high volume of work, and a lot of pressure. I worked hard, was eager to please, and was actually pretty good at my job.
There is a cost to everything in life. The cost of being good at your job means you get more work. People come to you because they know you can handle it and you’ll get it done right. So pile it on they did. Add to the fact that I worked for someone who was a newly minted VP, out to prove they could take on the world not caring who the casualties were along the way.
I started to become extremely stressed out. I worked long hours trying to keep up, and no amount of talking to my boss about my work load helped. I was headed for a breakdown, which of course was unavoidable…it was a collision waiting to happen. I ended up taking two weeks of vacation to try to relax and pull myself together. I had originally only scheduled to take one week, but after the week was up I was so scared of going back I called my boss and begged for another week. I returned to work after two weeks a little calmer and more relaxed, but it didn’t stick. Just a week back in the office and I was right back where I started.
Between all the long hours and the stress I was under, I barely had any time to look for another job. I just felt trapped. Shortly after going back to work, I was talking to my dad on the phone, explaining to him how things were still the same and I didn’t know what to do.
“If it’s really that bad, then why don’t you just quit,” he said. “It’s not worth it for you to be so stressed and upset all the time. You’re a smart girl, you’re good at your job. You’ll figure it out and find something else”.
I couldn’t quit…could I? What would I do for money? What if I didn’t find something right away? What if, what if, what if???
Remember earlier when I said you can’t look back, you can only go forward? It’s true. I could only go forward. I could quit. So, I did.
The next morning I went into my boss’ office and handed in my resignation. It was like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders. The sun was shining, bird were singing, and for the first time in a long time I felt good. I was scared to death, but it felt good.
I was out of work for three months. After I couldn’t find a full-time job, I started a temporary job at a government office. It was originally a three-month contract and I ended up staying there for a year. It is to this day one of the best places I ever worked. I worked with such great people and I learned so much. It also gave me contacts that led me to my next full-time position right after that contract ended. If I had stayed where I was, miserable, who knows what would have become of me. Instead I took a chance and it paid off. Big time.