Despite the fluorescent lighting, cheerless gray cubicles and confining schedule, I had a good job.
Or so I was told.
The truth is that I actually enjoyed the work that I did. It was purposeful and felt good to do.
I was paid well, enough to live comfortably and buy the things I wanted. And most days, I didn’t get too annoyed with the coworkers I never had a say in choosing to work with.
I was managing an employee recognition program for the largest non-profit healthcare company in the world. Such a place with over 200,000 employees is bound to get political and overly bureaucratic.
Most days, I didn’t let it get to me, though.
It was my job to read the submissions or nominations that came in from one coworker to another, nominating them as an “everyday hero.” Often they were notes of appreciation for the great work they did on a daily basis, but sometimes the stories were feats of truly heroic proportions. Life-risking, miracle-making, story-book stuff.
It was great to be surrounded by that energy regularly. It warmed my heart.
But something still wasn’t quite right. I felt stifled, confined. While I was helping to do good for an organization I believed had good intentions, something kept gnawing at me that I couldn’t ignore.
Why was I so dissatisfied? Why did I feel so guilty for the way I felt?
After all, if I was going to listen to my friends and parents, I should have been thrilled for having such a good, secure job. I should feel lucky that I’m not unem- ployed or struggling to make ends meet.
I should have been grateful, and I was. . . but something was missing.
It wasn’t that I didn’t have clarity on what I didn’t want. I knew that this job, this path that I was on to become a “lifer,” wasn’t for me. I knew that if I stayed there I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.
The only problem was, I didn’t know what to do instead.
Then one day, as I was browsing the web at my assigned work station, trying to distract myself from some of the less-than-awesome tasks I had to complete, I found an article that caused me to rethink everything.
It was Steve Pavlina’s “10 Reasons You Should Never Get a Job,” and it confirmed to me that having a job was not the path for me.
I realized that day that I was meant to work for myself, giving my gifts freely to the world in the way that I designed. I realized that a prefabricated, templated career path wasn’t for me, and it was killing my soul. I wanted to create a fiefdom instead.
More importantly, I realized that I wanted to transform my experience of work from one of drudgery, rigidity and following the rules, to one of freedom, a deep calling and a sense of total control over the direction. I wanted to stop building someone else’s vision, and start building my own.
I knew that it was time for me to become the master of my own time, direction and life.
It was then that I wrote down on a slip of scrap paper that I would quit my job and work for myself full time on June 1st in the year 2009.
A year later, I handed in my resignation letter on May 29th, 2009. I’ve never looked back since.
In the next post, I’ll share with you the fundamental shift I made to make quitting and reclaiming my freedom possible.
Making this shift allowed me to…
- Replace my day job income, before I quit.
- Build a healthy savings to cover expenses as a safety net.
- Quit with confidence and calm.
Until then, I’d like to know from you:
What’s the biggest roadblock for you to reclaiming your freedom? Time, money, stress? Let me know in the comments below.
One person that comments I’ll hook up with an advanced copy of my newest course on the money freedom roadmap.