"why don't you just quit?"

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Today's blogtember prompt is: Describe a distinct moment when your life took a turn.

It was a Sunday night in early May 2012.

I was crying in my bed because tomorrow was Monday.  I had gotten to the point where my job, where I  spend more time than anywhere else, was making me pretty miserable.  Being so frustrated and feeling completely lost, the husband made the simplest suggestion and one that never crossed my mind; "Why don't you just quit?"

To take you back a little, I graduated in 2006 with a degree in Psychology from a branch campus of Penn State University.  I landed a job working in an outpatient psychiatric rehabilitation working with adults who live with mental illness, where I also interned my last semester, so I was feeling rather lucky.  I had every intention of continuing my education in the hopes of one day becoming a psychologist.  My coworkers were great and soon became close friends.  However, it wasn't but 6 months of working there that I learned that I no longer had to the desire or passion to continuing working in the mental health field.  Sure, I liked helping people but the rewards were far and very few in between.  Not to mention it was extremely emotionally draining. 

Throughout those 6 years of working I had grandiose plans to get a masters in Exercise Psychology from a school in Miami, FL until I completely bombed the GRE (I am a terrible standardize test taker) then thought going back to become a Special Education Teacher.  I never followed through because if we are being honest, I 1. didn't want it bad enough and 2. was looking to all of the wrong ways to make me happy.

I would go back and forth during those 6 years of hating my job and crying in the bathroom because I was so miserable to choosing to accept where I was and look at the positives I did have in my life.  It didn't start to get really bad until another department within the umbrella of the company moved into our same building.  Soon we were accused of not working but sitting around, drinking coffee, and BSing.  This coming from people who were paid (albeit very little - the curse of working in a nonprofit mental health service) to play corn hole with their clients or spend the day at the Pirate game.  Two different populations with two different expectations.  It was not until the big boss sent out an email encouraging people to report any suspicious behavior from coworkers to her.  Soon enough someone from the new department upstairs had the big boss's ear and told her that all we did was sit around and drink coffee.   What was more frustrating then being accused of not doing your job was that the boss did not come to talk to us or come down to see what we did throughout our day (the big boss made appearances in our department once a year during inspection even though she met with the head of the department from upstairs every Tuesday morning).  I no longer felt I could do my job to the best of my ability if I was being watching and criticized for something I had been - and had been working - for the past 6 years.  That was the final straw.  I had had enough. 

I had a big trip planned to Ireland & Scotland in exactly a month of the husband and my discussion, so I went into the office the very next morning with tears in my eyes to give them my one month notice that I would not be returning after my trip.  It was a funny thing that morning, as I was driving to work I started to second guess myself wondering if I was doing the right thing.  I mean today was a new day and I did feel better.  But then I realized why I had felt better, I had already made the decision to quit so that resulted in me feeling as though the world had been lifted off my shoulders.   And I  have not looked back since.  I will never go back to working in an office environment. Ever.

I took a huge risk, I mean I didn't have another job lined up or anything and we didn't have any savings.  We were going to depend on husbands salary but I wasn't sure how long that would last since he was also pretty miserable where he was too.  I just knew it was the right thing to do.  For years, I had been looking for outside things like going back to school or changing careers to make me happier.  Once I realized it was as easy  - for me at least - to just quit, I just knew everything would be okay.  It's a funny thing, that positive thinking idea.  It can bring you to some pretty amazing places.

 I am now a nanny for two adorable little girls.  I am happy.  I do not cry on nights before I have to be at work.  I laugh every single day.  I am finally in a place where I am truly happy with myself and where my life is going.  All thanks to my ever supportive husband and the sweetest 5 sweet words he has ever said to me; "Why don't you just quit?" 

What drastic changes have you made in your life?
What makes you happy?

Linking up with Ashley, Melissa, Kimberly, and Jenni today! 

Until next time
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  1. I can completely relate to this! I was dreading going back to work after maternity leave so bad that I was making myself sick. It was a very unhealthy working environment and in the end I decided to quit. So glad I did! It's definitely not easy though so cheers to you for being brave!!

  2. Best decision I ever made too!!!Great post! : )

  3. I graduated in 2009 with a degree in Psychology. I started in mental health with plans of going back for a PhD in clinical. And then reality struck. I found myself desperately needing alone time and refilling my emotional reserves at the end of the day was becoming harder and harder. The field itself was becoming more strenuous and demanding too. This time last year, my husband, too, suggested I quit and reassess my career goals and so, I did. :) I'm glad that someone else has done this journey too, and written about it! I always felt alone.


  4. Aw, love this! A year ago when I discovered the effects of TRUE positive thinking (without thinking it was hogwash) my life made a turn for the better :)

    I also have my degree in psych and worked in a similar environment, so I know exactly how you felt.

  5. happy to hear that you made the change for the better!

  6. Thanks for sharing your story! I am a person who loves routine, but has learned to embrace change. There is an awesome Freakonomics podcast called the upside of quitting, super interesting if you want to give it a listen. http://freakonomics.com/2011/09/30/new-freakonomics-radio-podcast-the-upside-of-quitting/

  7. So great Alyson and SO TRUE about positive thinking!!! Life is too short to continue doing something that doesn't make you happy. And YAY for laughing every day!

    Sabrina Nicole

  8. This is such a great post, Alyson. I'm not exactly happy with where I am at this time and reading your story and how you were able to make such a difficult decision and find your happiness is truly inspiring. Thank you for sharing!


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