There is a key element missing here. I never would have quit my job if I hadn’t seen someone else do it first.
The same year I moved back to Maryland, the same year I went to Colorado and had that life changing summer, my sister at heart (because things like this always happen to us at the same time) quit her job and moved to Germany. She chronicles a lot of this over at clickclackgorilla.com. And she got jobs- over the years, she did this and that- but eventually that just kind of came to a halt. Now she works a few days a week, just enough to have some money to spend.
When you decide to leave a job that, to all outside perspectives, looks pretty awesome, you need to have an example to look up to. If I hadn’t seen it done- known that in fact, it could be done- I probably never would have left. By the same means, I never would have gone vegan if a friend hadn’t brought me some ridiculously awesome vegan cookies. It’s part of human nature to imitate. Why would anyone ever get in a car if they hadn’t seen it happen before? What a strange thing to do.
And fortunately for me I have been exposed to many examples of people quitting jobs and getting on just peachy, thanks so much. And not just in books- though there were plenty of those- but my sister and some of her friends. They were all getting along just fine. I should be able to, right?
And like the moment I decided to eat meat again, of course catastrophe had a role to play. I was miserable. I felt like I was falling to pieces. I couldn’t remember what it felt like to be myself. And that was a big push to quitting.
But the moment I really decided, though I had been thinking about it for a long time before hand, was sitting on my sister’s bed in Germany, her new baby sleeping between us, looking at an excel sheet. Not kidding. Or maybe it was when I went to bed a few minutes later. But regardless. I was looking at the numbers. I am far too organized to not have considered the numbers, and I keep excel sheets of all my expenditures, so of course I was combing through them thinking, could I realistically cut my spending to a point where I could live off of sewing in my house? And the answer, especially surrounded by awesome innovations (ha) like heating with candles, seemed clear.
And then there was the moment that I felt good about it. I was listening to this song. And listening and listening and listening and sitting in my office thinking, oh my god, this is so. fucking. true. It is time. It is far past time to reclaim my life for my own. And so I did it. And I kept feeling right. And kept feeling right. And kept feeling right.
So what do you need to do, if you want to quit your job? Here are my simple steps (do not by any means follow these unless you’ve thought this through):
1. Read a lot of books and/or watch a lot of documentaries that talk about the ideas of work and labor and time, particularly those who advocate for time as a very precious commodity that is all your own and should not be traded away just for money.
2. Talk a lot about these ideas with other people who also think these things.
3. Let that all simmer. In the meantime, make sure you have a skill that can be traded at any time for money*. Sewing, for example. But also building websites, or writing, or whatever you, personally, happen to be very good at. I’m trying to convince a friend who is very good at making chocolates to quit his job at the moment, for example.
4. Surround yourself with supportive people, who will say, yeah! You can totally quit your job and everything will be fine! Completely ignore the naysayers who ramble on about health insurance. It’s not that expensive, really.
5. Listen to this song on repeat. Or something similar of your choice.
6. Just fucking quit already. You know you want to. And you will figure it out. I promise. I had no business plan. I had no real plan at all, actually. But now I have more opportunities for work than I have time, which somehow is opposite to all the people I know who have jobs but would like to find new ones.
7. Be happy. Have faith in yourself. Dance. Keep reminding yourself that you made the right choice, even when things get scary and you have no money in your bank account.
8. Rinse and repeat.
*If you can use said skill to put some money by, that’s also helpful. It’s nice to have a cushion in those first few months.