Escaping the Doldrums

A common theme on my blog that you may have noticed has been that I’m bored at my current job, in my beige cubicle, working on spreadsheets, and that will be leaving that job (barring a teaching placement in Spain). Currently, I have a safe, stable – can you say boring? – job that pays well. However, my life is rather mundane. Every day is routine, and I know what to expect each and every day. Nothing new. Nothing exciting. Nothing challenging. I’m living in the doldrums.

Now, if you’ve ever read The Phantom Tollbooth – one of my favorite books – you’d know what the doldrums are. The book is about a boy named Milo who is bored by the world and thinks everything is a waste of time. He comes home one day to find a package that has a map, small tollbooth, and a note: “FOR MILO WHO HAS PLENTY OF TIME.” He puts together the tollbooth and drives his toy car into it. He finds himself on the Road to Expectations, but quickly gets lost in the Doldrums because he wasn’t paying attention to where he was going. The Doldrums are a colorless place inhabited by the Lethargarians. There you are not allowed to think or laugh and they follow the same list of activities day in and day out. Milo is later rescued and continues on his journey, in case anyone was wondering.

At my current place of employment, I feel stuck. Every day is a monotony of spreadsheets and data that doesn’t mean much to me. I understand why it’s important to the company, but it’s of no importance to me other than to analyze and turn into my supervisor and keep my job. It’s not inspiring, doesn’t make me feel like I’m truly contributing to society, and completely kills any ounce of creativity.

Maybe I was naïve to actually think a job should offer me this after I graduated college and to continue thinking one should. Maybe I need to realize that no job will give me all of this and that I’m living in a fantasy world where doing something I love that inspires me and those around me day in and day out is simply unattainable. However, as of now, I simply refuse to give that dream up. I believe that job, lifestyle, or whatever it may be is out there for me somewhere, and that it’s out there for everyone. It just takes some courage to take the jump and step away from the “norm” that may be right for some, but definitely isn’t right for me, and maybe you too.

Murcia, Spain

Murcia, Spain

 I fully realize that teaching English in Spain may not be my true calling and something I will want to do for the rest of my life, but I do know that I want to travel, teach, experience new things, and get out of my comfort zone. The Doldrums I’ve been living in of a beige cubicle, spreadsheets, and 9 to 5 hours have to end. Yes, the stable and sizable paychecks are nice and comfortable, especially in this economy. However, I do not feel alive.

I know I don’t because I have felt alive before. I know this is not truly living, and I need to live. For the past two years, I have twisted and turned and tried my absolute hardest to make this job into my dream job, but it hasn’t worked. I saw Nicholas Chirls’ post that so eloquently expressed my feelings every morning as walk into the office: “Would you rather have someone shit on your face, but then be able to spend the day as you please, or would you rather go into work today?” Overtime, my answer has significantly leaned towards one answer.

I want to be excited to go to work. I want to know that what I am doing is making a difference and to be able to see and feel the impact of my work. I need to be inspired and to inspire others. I need to make full use of my creativity. I do NOT need, nor want, monotony where the value of me and my work is not palpable. I want to be challenged and feel alive. That is why I will be escaping the Doldrums to seek out new adventure and uncertainty and go teach in Spain.

Granada, Spain

Granada, Spain

Living abroad is something I have always wanted to do. I saw the opportunity and have grabbed a hold of it. A few people think I’m making a mistake, but I know that for me I am doing what I need to do. I’ve made excuses the last two years to not go do this, and now it’s time. I am going to live adventurously and embrace the challenges that lie ahead of me. There will always be the naysayers and those who believe the Doldrums are what we should all strive to achieve. Everyone will try to do what’s right for them. I’m doing what is right for me, and you should too. I’m following my dream and living – outside of the Doldrums.

Have you quit a job before to chase a dream? Are you considering doing it? What advice to do have for those who are thinking about leaving their comfortable jobs for a life of adventure?

14 responses to “Escaping the Doldrums

  1. Congrats. So excited for Spain! It’s so crucial that we stay true to ourselves and our hearts and become fundamentally happy. Each individual’s happiness is absolutely vital and can have a huge impact.
    “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Howard Thurman

  2. Yes, I’ve done it too, Mike. I sacked my boss and moved to southern Spain eight years ago.

    Follow your dreams whilst you are still young and healthy 🙂

    Good luck!

  3. Congrats! Those memes are definitely how I feel at my desk job right now! I can’t wait to quit and be free to travel! Have an amazing time in Spain!

    • I love the Office Space memes, even though its how I unfortunately feel day in and day out at my job. When are you quitting and where are you traveling to?

  4. Mike! I am so proud of you for having the courage to follow your dreams!! Good for you! So many people feel exactly like you do, bored in the mundane routine at a job that has very little meaning and doesn’t challenge or excite them…yet so few people do anything about it because of the fear of failing or some other thing they’ve come up with as an excuse! Sounds like you have an extraordinary year ahead of you! Congrats on your placement in Spain! I studied there too, and would return in a heartbeat!!

  5. Do you know what your calling or passion is? I’m struggling to find that out and and it sucks. I want to be out of this awkward stage of not knowing. I believe we all have something we are meant to do. We just have to find it. It’s only a fantasy if we don’t find it? Blah. I came across this girl’s blog. Her name is Erika. You might like it.

    • I’m still trying to figure mine out too. I know a few things that I’m passionate about, but it’s trying to put those things together. I’ll check out the website. Thanks!

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