And Now For Something Completely Different

Don’t Quit Your Day Job

Last year I made the decision to quit my job. I was miserable there. I was more than miserable, I was constantly burdened by being at work and felt gut wrenching pain while I was there. I felt like my body was trying to tell me something, something that my mind refused to pay attention to. Eventually, I couldn’t stand being sick anymore, I quit. I did it a little more tactfully than walking into my boss’s office and saying “I quit” but by the end of the day I was packing up my desk and leaving for the last time. From what I could tell I was on good terms with the company, however, I’ve never gone back to investigate.

If I could go back and do it all over again I don’t know if I would do the same thing. However, if you’re as miserable as me at your job, bordering depression, I would tell you to do the opposite of me, don’t quit even if you can’t imagine going back to work. I’m not saying that I regret quitting my job, or that I shouldn’t have quit. I just know it could have been done in a more systematic way. I don’t want others to see what I did and think they should do the same, they probably shouldn’t.

In China, they write wishes on the paddles at the bottom and when the wind catches them they ring the bell like wind chimes. Most of the wishes were for the betterment of the world, not just for the betterment of the person making the wish.

Dam My Income Stream

The number one reason I shouldn’t have quit was because it cut off my main and only source of income. Even with significant savings and low expenses I still feel insecurities about my money. Not enough to keep me up at night, but still enough that I notice it. Without income, I am not increasing my savings which is annoying to a natural born saver like me. This stress of not having an income is less than my stress of having to go to work every day but it is still there.

Reduced Nest Egg

Since I’m a natural born saver I have a bit of dread when I take away from that nest egg that I’ve put away. My logical mind can say “that’s what it’s there for” and “you will make the money back eventually”. Sometimes it says “it’s just money. Your health and future happiness are more important” along with a dozen other justifications about why it’s okay to use my saving for this sabbatical. In reality, my logical mind doesn’t always win these arguments and my emotional mind freaks out about how much I’m burning through my savings. Similar to the loss of income problem I get over it and it doesn’t cause too much unneeded stress but it is there and I notice it. However, Others pondering the decision to quit their job might not be as resilient.

New Job Challenge

I hear it is harder to get a job when you just quit your last one and have been out of work for awhile. I haven’t tested this and I’m not completely confident in the claim but I could definitely see it being a challenge. I hope that two factors will make finding a new job easier. First, I am looking to change fields out of engineering. Second, have been doing some interesting travel and writing during my break. I think that these two things will help me when I inevitably go looking for a job. However, there is no doubt that having a job while looking for a new one is the prime position to be in. If anything it gives you confidence that if this interview doesn’t make an offer you will be alright. Moving from a position of power like that is ideal.

Throw Coal on the Depression Fire

All of the above issues culminate together to fuel my depression which then makes it harder for me to take advantage of this time off. This is the biggest reason why I wouldn’t recommend anyone to quit their job if they’re depressed at it. If I could go back I would have told myself to stick with it and get some help while I was still working there and on their health insurance. The job was the one that brought the depression back out, they should help fix it. If you’re depressed at the place you work I recommend you do the following:

Plan of Attack

First, get on medication and/or talk to a professional who can help you. You probably will feel like you can handle this unhappiness on your own. You might think medicine will affect you in ways you don’t want to be affected. I felt the exact same way and used the same arguments. While medication may or may not be the right solution for you, talking to someone is a solution for everyone. When I say someone, I mean a professional, not your mother, aunt, best friend or any other non-certified person you know. Talk to a real psychologist or psychiatrist, I’m sure your mother/aunt/best friend can help you find one if you have trouble finding one on your own, mine did. Once you start fighting against your depression with the help of others you will find new energy for life, I promise. Instead of coming home drained from work, or worse waking up drained in the first place, you will have some energy. It might not be much at first and work will still feel like a pain but it will be an improvement.

After you feel that extra bit of energy start searching for that new job that won’t make you miserable. If you’re like me and your ideal job isn’t in an office start using that extra energy to work on a side business, instead of quitting your job to work on it when you have nothing yet. Use the job security that you currently have to move to a new job without severing your income or having to take from your nest egg.

My original plan of attack when I quit was to move into a van. I like the above plans better.  However, that doesn’t mean moving into a van has to get taken off the table.

Learn From My Mistakes

This opportunity has passed for me, if I was in a clear mind I might have thought of this plan before I quit. Alas, my mind wasn’t thinking straight. So I write this for you. If you are dealing with a job that is fueling your depression and you can use their healthcare to cover treatment, use it. I’ve fought this battle on and off for years now. When you’re in the trenches and feeling depressed it helps when you have a therapist or medication in your corner.
If you are miserable at your day job, and it’s making you depressed to the point you are sick or even unable to enjoy other aspects of your life don’t quit. Quitting will make things worse for you. Seek help and enable yourself to make the best decision possible. Right now I’m doing well, well enough to see my mistakes, and I’m hopeful about my future. If you’re in the trenches right now reach out to someone. Talk to a professional but maybe start by talking to a family member, a close friend, or even me if you want.
You will feel better. When you do feel better you can make even better decisions for yourself. Whatever you do, don’t make any major life decisions right now because your head is lying to you. People gave me all the same advice, I still didn’t listen. I don’t know why I didn’t listen but I didn’t… I know why it was because my depression was lying to me.

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