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.
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.
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?