A New Year

A little over a year ago I wrote this post talking about how much I disliked my job at the time and how I could not wait to escape the doldrums of life I was in. Needless to say, I didn’t end up going to Spain last fall, for a variety of reasons, but will be going this fall. As I prepare to leave my job now, much has changed over the last year.

First, I got a new position with a new boss and new responsibilities. It’s kind of amazing how much can change with just a little shift. Now, I actually feel respected at my place of employment, have tons of responsibilities, and kind of enjoy the work I’m doing…for now. I feel valued and can see that I am actually making a difference with my daily work.

In my previous position, I was analyzing data–spreadsheets, monthly reports, financial statements, etc. Doesn’t quite fit with who I am, what I enjoy, and where I want to be. As I wrote in that post, my life was stuck in a doldrum. Everything seemed to be the same day in and day out. Nothing changed, nothing new happened, and nothing was forcing me out of where I was. I could have stayed in that doldrum forever, going around and around and around. Many people do this, but many people also escape. Luckily for me, I chose to escape.

The pension, 401k, and comfy salary could have easily kept me there well into my 60’s where I could retire and then see the world after not enjoying my 9 to 5 for the past 40 years. However, it wasn’t going to keep me there. Today, I’m in a better position within the company, one with more security, more people-to-people connections, and more responsibility. A part of me choosing not to go to Spain last year had to do with me receiving with promotion. I wanted to give it a chance.

Where I would have been teaching in Almuñécar

Where I would have been teaching in Almuñécar

This was my big boy job out of college – salary, benefits, vacation (only 1 day my first year though!), and business cards. I enjoyed my first position, hated my second, and wanted to give the third a try. Well, it’s been a year, and while I like the position it’s definitely not something I want to do forever as I don’t see any higher up positions within the company that I really want to be at someday. To me, that’s a sign to start looking elsewhere, and for this job, that was just one sign.

Overall, as you can tell if you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, I want to travel, adventure, and see the world – experience it all. Maybe it’s cliché. Maybe it’s not. Either way, I wanted to say that I will be leaving a job that I enjoy (for now) to go live in Spain, something I’ve always dreamt of. I am not quitting a godforsaken job that is eating my soul and using teaching abroad as an escape or easy way out. I will be leaving good friends, great mentors, and a job that I relatively enjoy for a chance to experience the world.

Experiencing the world, seeing how others live, learning from cultures different from your own, and taking a chance on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is what I am doing by quitting my job to teach in Spain. This opportunity may never come up again and I surely do not want to find myself in another 40 years sitting in that same office building wondering “What if?” and regretting not taking this chance. Plus, I can tell you right now that I will not be content doing all my traveling after I’ve “put in my time” and retire.

As I’ve relayed before from the documentary 180° South:

If I don’t get on that boat, I know exactly what I’m going home to. If I do, my future is unwritten.

This is a quote that I wholeheartedly believe, other then that I’m not taking a boat to Spain. It may take me years to regain the high salary I’m missing out on, but that salary did not make me feel alive. In the last month leading up to my departure to Spain, I have not felt as alive as I do now over the last 3 years of post-college employment. There are so many emotions going through me. It’s weird and different. It’s scary, almost as if I had gotten used to the doldrums of life, of moving about without having to think because day-in and day-out was the same–mindless.

Regardless, I am leaving my job, where mind you, I am basically set up to become the future director and have been told that, because I want to experience the world and see what else is out there. The beauty of it is that there is no wrong reason to make a move like this. It could be because of a quarter-life (mid) crisis, you hate your job, just ended a relationship, an adult gap year, post-college experience, resumé builder, or some other reason. It can be anything. I am doing it because I want to, and to me, that is what’s the most important. I’m following my dreams, living in the present, and experiencing all this beautiful world has to offer.

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7 responses to “A New Year

  1. Great post – I’ve given up steady long-term jobs twice now, first to travel and the second time to go freelance – and never regretted it. It can be scary to break away from the norm and the safe option, but I always found it much more scary to think about still being doing the same old thing 30 years later!

    • Thank you, Lucy! I completely agree with you about it being more scary thinking about being where I’m at in 30 years and never having jumped at this opportunity.

    • Yes, it is! It’s been great bouncing ideas and thoughts off you, Danielle, especially because we are going into this from very similar places. Well, except the whole NYC and Wisconsin part of it. Haha.

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