Quitting My Job Without Another One Lined Up Was the Best Risk I Ever Took


It was a risk. A huge risk.

I knew that I should be grateful just to have a job, to be able to pay my bills, and keep food on the table. But there was something missing. No, it wasn’t just that. My current situation was actively making me miserable. I got a tight, anxious feeling in my chest every time I thought about having to go to work. And the misery that I felt during the day carried over into every other aspect of my life. I was short with and unkind to Bryan, I was too tired and angry to do anything that I enjoyed, I started having major sleep problems.

It was becoming increasingly obvious that something had to change. That the current state of my life was not something that could be sustained.

Still, I agonized over it.

But it pays well. And the benefits are good.

But what will my mom think?

But they’ll pay for my classes.

But I’m too afraid.

And that is what it really amounted to. I was afraid. Afraid to take the chance on myself and what I truly wanted.

For a while, I tried looking for a job while still employed, but it was difficult to schedule interviews, and many places seemed turned off by the fact that I would have to give two weeks’ notice. On top of that, my efforts were lackadaisical. I sent out a couple of resumes here and there, but nothing serious. I was too secure.

So I decided to kick my security to the curb.

I handed in my two weeks notice, with nary a job offer in sight.

It was terrifying. And exhilarating. And wonderful. And awful. I panicked a little. Okay, a lot. I revelled in my newfound sense of freedom, and the way that the ever-present knot of anxiety in my chest seemed to loosen, just a little.

Then I got down to work.

At the time, I was reading Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed, and I honestly attribute a lot of my punch and drive at that point to her wonderful words of wisdom. I highly recommend this book to everyone. Ever. It changed the way I view the world, and myself. I was inspired by her gorgeous writing to rewrite my cover letter, to make it punchier, to reflect more of myself, and to demand what I wanted, rather than to timidly ask maybe if I could possibly have it please? I started sending out my resume to ten or twelve different companies each¬†day. I knew what I wanted: to work with kids. And I went after it with a vengeance, something that I haven’t done very often.

My last day of work came, and I went out for drinks with a coworker, his girlfriend, and Bryan. I spent two weeks unemployed, doing yoga, writing, looking for jobs. I went on seven interviews. I found a place that I really loved, that really spoke to me, but it was inconvenient. There were many problems inherent in me taking that job. We are a one care household, and it was in the far northwest, a place that it takes an hour and ten minutes to get to by transit. What was I going to do when Bryan had to take the car for photo jobs? Then I interviewed at a place that was ultra convenient, right near our house, a ten minute walk. But it didn’t speak to me in the way that the other place did. They both offered me jobs, and I took the inconvenient one.

I almost cried with happiness, and the wave of anxiety that crashed over my head immediately following.

I knew I had made the right decision, but then there were all these problems that I thought of, and I started to second guess myself. But I wouldn’t let myself talk myself out of it. My friend Bri said to me, “It’s okay. Your heart makes good decisions.”

And she was right. On my first day of work, Bryan had to take the car to Edmonton. I had to take transit. I woke up at 5 AM, left the house at 5:50, and arrived at my job just before my 7 AM start time. I got home that night at 7:15 PM. I was completely exhausted. But I wasn’t even upset about it.

I went to bed on Friday, and fell into a sleep that was almost as deep as a coma. The week had drained me utterly. But I couldn’t wait to do it all over again.

I took a chance. I risked security and potential financial ruin (sort of) and failure on something I am passionate about. It paid off. Big time. I made room in my life for the thing that I wanted most of all, and here it is.

Quitting your job with nothing else lined up is not the best option for everyone. Before jumping to that decision, I suggest thinking about it long and hard. Maybe get out a yellow legal pad, make a pros and cons list. But it was the best option for me, and at this moment, I couldn’t be happier with my choice.

What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?

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Jessica can most often be found with her nose in a book, or writing her newest short story/screenplay/novel, but she also has a passion for travel, child-care & development, psychology, feminism (and other forms of equality), and making the world a better place in general. Email Me