On a cold January morning in 2011 I walked into my work place after winter break and sat down at my desk. It was the first Monday back to work after the Christmas & New Years holidays. It was slightly before 8 AM so few people were in the office. Prior to the winter break I had been very unhappy with my job. In fact I was hating it. I didn’t want to be there any more. The week or so vacation really hadn’t changed my feelings about it.
As I sat at my desk staring out the window at 8 AM on a Monday I knew I didn’t want to be there. I acknowledged to myself the truth that I didn’t have to be there. I had chosen to drive myself to this place so I could walk across the campus, through the door, up the stairs and to this spot were I was now sitting. By choosing to do all of that I had chosen to extend this misery I felt for being there. I had to accept the responsibility for this situation and this unhappiness.
You should never say you have to do something. You might feel obligated to do something. You may have the responsibility to do something. All of this does not mean you HAVE to do it. You can protest, you can fight, you can scream and run…When you get up every morning to go to a job you hate you don’t HAVE to do it. You chose to be there.
Acknowledging that I had made this choice was empowering! If I had chosen to be there I could chose to leave. I did just that! I opened my email and wrote a quick resignation to my manager before packing up my few belongings and walking right out of the building without saying goodbye. It was exciting! It was scary! It was a whole new beginning!
This was the first real job I’d ever walked away from without notice. I’d worked there for 3 years and had been promoted three times. I was well liked and it was a cushy job. I knew it wasn’t where I belonged. Taking that first step into the unknown was frightening! I had some money saved but I also had a mortgage! There was a feeling of panic! I needed money coming in didn’t I? I immediately start scrambling and applying for new jobs.
After a few weeks of unemployment it started feeling normal sleeping in every morning. I started finding new ways to fill all those empty hours work had taken up. I applied for my passport and considered going to Korea to teach English as my friend had. By the end of the first month all the panic wore off. I still didn’t have steady income but I discovered just how awesome I was financially.
One thing my parents had managed to teach me was good money habits. I’ve always liked to keep my mortgage at least one month ahead on payments just in case. After quitting my job I was excited to find at some point I’d managed to get my mortgage two months ahead! Go me! This was one little things you don’t appreciate it till you need it. With several thousand in the bank, my bills all paid up, and plenty of free time I decided to travel!
In 2011 I was 27 and had never left the USA. I’d seen around 35 states, NYC, LA, Chicago…but I hadn’t left the country itself. It was a Sunday when I made the decision to go. After a quick visit to Expedia I had a one way ticket out of Kansas City MCI to Cancun, Mexico. My flight was on Wednesday!
I had three days to pack and scramble for a ride to airport. It was done! I took only a carry on messenger bag with about a week of clothes and a laptop. My flight was early in the morning so the plane landed in Quintana Roo a little after 1pm. Now this was the first flight I’d ever taken anywhere to which I had no where to be after I landed. If you haven’t done that give it a try!
As I exited the airport in Mexico I had no idea where to go or what to do. I hadn’t reserved a ride anywhere because I hadn’t booked a place to stay. Like many airports Cancun arrivals is a bustle of people trying to find transportation into town and a plethora of locals offering it. I wasn’t sure which bus to pick so I simply watch the crowd of new arrivals for a few minutes. Eventually I saw a Canadian couple boarding a bus with their two sleeping toddlers to Cancun. I decided to follow them.
This bus took me to the central bus station in Cancun. There I fired up my laptop and looked for hostels in the area. Thank the Gods for interwebs! I found one within walking distance and headed out in that direction. Cancun was bright, sunny, and warm which seems like heaven after leaving cold wintery Missouri.
On my walk a local man stopped me and asked what I was looking for. I easily recognized him as a head hunter type. Sure enough he quickly started telling me about places I could stay. I wasn’t having any luck finding my hostel so I followed him to the one he suggested. Looking around it was good enough and I decided to stay.
I was very tired from the days travel & bad night sleep so I turned in early that night. The next morning I took advantage of the hostels small free breakfast. There I met an American woman also staying at the hostel and young man who had dual citizenship with Mexico & USA. Thanks to hosting couch surfers, I knew from experience he was probably the nomadic homeless type. His self declared expertise of the area hinted at a hustler lifestyle.
Some times these people can be useful. Sure enough he was. He took the two of us on a little tour around Cancun. He shared a wealth of knowledge about the bus routes, local customs, and locations of useful places. It was from him that I learned more of Playa Del Carmen. He suggested we should go there. From his stories of the place I decided to take the trip down there solo. In the end I’m pretty sure he stole $100 from me but I shrugged it off. The knowledge & experience I received was certainly worth it.
The next day I took a bus to Playa Del Carmen. It was in this awesome town that I had the time of my life! Not only that but I found the best job I ever had. I’ll leave those for another posting. ^_^
SHORT: Took a brave step by walking out of a job I hated into the unknown. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made.