Sometimes You Have to Leap

Aaron keeps asking me “When are you going to announce it? When are you going to announce it?”. I told my mom I had “big news” and she immediately said, “You’re pregnant.” Ummm, no. That’s barely a speck on the radar.

Driveway

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while (or at least for the last month), you’ll know that my work life has been making me miserable. For those of you who are newer to Pickles & Honey, I first got into SEO because I enjoyed the challenge of learning something new and saw it as an opportunity to secure a very in-demand skill set and a substantial paycheck. I loved my first job – I worked extremely hard building a team for an exciting start-up, and I was proud of my work. More than anything though, I loved the people. Unfortunately, things turned sour rather fast. A couple of years into that job, the economy tanked, revenue took a hit, people were laid off, morale plummeted, and my closest friends gave notice one after another when a new (awful) VP was brought in to manage our department.

When I started looking for other jobs, I kept searching for “soul-satisfying” work. I wanted to do something that mattered, above and beyond growing revenue for companies that were far from altruistic. In the end, though, I accepted a higher paying job with a search marketing agency. You know that sick feeling you get deep in your stomach where it feels like every fiber of your being is telling you “don’t do this”?Β Β I knew in my gut that this job wasn’t the right fit for me, but I accepted it anyway, convincing myself it was a stepping stone (for what? I don’t know). I had zero connection with the work or the people.

I started planning my exit two weeks into the job, searching for positions with non-profits, spending nights drafting compelling cover letters and interviewing several times a week. With no good prospects on the horizon, Aaron and I plotted our move to San Francisco. I won’t go into detail (you can read more about that hereΒ and here), but I started working from home. I tried to convince myself that this would be enough – just getting out of that office – but again, my gut was telling me otherwise.

When we moved back to Boston the following year, I felt more empowered and made a bunch of life changes. However, I yet again convinced myself that I could make this job work if I just switched to freelance work instead of working from home as an employee. Some weeks were okay, others I felt that same sense of sickness in the pit of my stomach creep back in.

Rocks
Ultimately, I spent a terrible year at that start-up and nearly four years with my last company. Finally, a couple of weeks ago, that particularly frustrating day was my tipping point.

I QUIT.

 

It takes an incredible amount of energy to fight who you are to do work that’s not your passion for people you don’t respect.

Those baby steps I’ve been taking finally gave me the courage to take a giant leap. For the first time in my life, I don’t have a plan for what’s next. I am simply focused on trying new things and staying open to the possibilities. This mentality is so insanely far out of my comfort zone, it’s likely exactly what I need.

For the first time in five years, I feel light and energized and hopeful in all aspects of my life.

Thank you for reading, commenting, emailing, tweeting, and inspiring me.

xo
Amanda

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  1. Heather says

    This is me right now, although I quit at the beginning of July for almost exactly the same reasons. Exhausted, exasperated, unchallenged, unhealthy, sad. I made the break and am now working on opening a private practice of my own. It was a horrifying step for me, and continues to be a struggle knowing that I’m not currently “earning my keep” or “supporting” my family monetarily, but it will come in due time, and I am all the happier and healthier for it. Bravo, you for making the change, and all the best! Cheers.

    1. Amanda says

      Thank you, Heather! I had similar thoughts about not “earning my keep” monetarily, but Aaron reminded me that I help us in other ways (taking care of household things, for example) and he’s been my biggest supporter. Also, you’re right – the money thing is temporary.
      Congrats on working towards opening your own practice! That’s really exciting!

      1. Heather says

        He is so right, and while I know it’s true, it’s occasionally something I forget. My husband is also playing the role of head cheerleader, with gentle reminders as often as possible (he’s been deployed for this whole experience). Having that “other half” in our lives is such a blessing, isn’t it?!

      2. Amanda says

        Totally! I imagine having your husband deployed might make it especially challenging too. I’m wishing you and your family all the best. πŸ™‚

      3. Heather says

        Thanks. Same to you and yours!

  2. Kierstan says

    Very brave! I think I am about 3 months behind you in the process (and more so my husband). We are very strategically planning our exits from work, from jobs that no longer motivate us. It is really quite sad actually, that is has come to this. We used to love our jobs, the people we work with, etc, but we are quickly becoming stuck in a rut and need to shake things up before we get so stuck we can’t move.

    So BRAVO! I hope you feel compelled to continue to write about this new stage in life – excited to see where it takes you.

    1. Amanda says

      It is sad, although I suppose it’s just part of life. Things are constantly changing (sometimes for the better, sometimes not). It sounds like you’re handling it the best you can though. Both Aaron and I have been there – he left his job last fall to work on his own business full-time. It takes time, but you will get there! Keep at it.
      And yes, I am planning to continue to write about my journey, with a balance of recipe posts in there too. πŸ™‚

  3. That’s a big step, but taking it was the only way to get to the next one. Good luck with whatever the future holds, and congrats on being so bold! πŸ™‚

    1. Amanda says

      Thanks, Tiff! I really like how you phrased that – I suppose it is necessary to take a big step to get to the next one!

  4. Wow, that’s so awesome!! That must feel so liberating! Having some free time will help you explore the things that really interest you and you’ll be able to find a career that you’re passionate about and love! Can’t wait to hear all about it!

    1. Amanda says

      Thanks, Mai-Lis! It feels weird, not gonna lie. haha It will be very nice to have the time to do things I enjoy.

  5. Rhona says

    Good for you! This is a brave but excellent step. Take it from me, I know all about that sick feeling in your stomach when you should not do something but do it anyway. It is wonderful that you embraced your gut and stuck to what makes you happy. Taking the time you need to re-energize and re-focus will be great for you. I know your next steps will prove to be positive and wonderful. Keep us posted.

    1. Amanda says

      Thanks for the encouragement! You always leave such thoughtful comments. xo

  6. Colette says

    Congrats, Amanda!
    I know it took a lot for you to take this risk, but sometimes creating a necessity to find the perfect job is the only way to actually do it. And you did that by quitting!
    We spend most of our time at work. You have to enjoy it and feel accomplished at the end of the day. Otherwise you’re wasting your life away.
    I know you’ll land in a great place soon.
    xo

    1. Amanda says

      Thanks so much, Colette! I couldn’t agree more about needing to feel accomplished at the end of the day. That’s so important to being happy!

  7. Woo hoo!!! You go girl! I feel the exact same way many days and I can’t wait until I reach the point when I can take the leap. Good luck!

    1. Amanda says

      Thank you, Abby!! I hope you can take that leap soon!

  8. WOOOHOOOOOOOOOO!

    Like, Aaron, I was wondering when you’d share, too (if only so I could publicly ‘woohoo’ you πŸ˜‰ ). Such an amazing thing you’ve done and I’m so excited for you! Also, seconding all the comments above about having a supportive partnerβ€”well done on that front, Aaron! πŸ˜‰

    You know how I feel about this topic, so I won’t bother to re-write here, but big, no HUGE, kudos to you for getting closer to making the joy of doing what you love the focus of your days, instead of just the cherry on top.

    XOXO,
    J.

    PS. Ha to: “…she immediately said, β€œYou’re pregnant.” Ummm, no. That’s barely a speck on the radar.” (Also, ditto!).

    1. Amanda says

      haha It took me a little while to hit “publish” on this one. I wanted to make sure I was completely done with my projects, and I also like to re-read these types of posts after some time has passed to make sure I’m not saying things I will later want to take back!
      Thanks for all the support (and “gentler day” tips) along the way, J! xo
      P.S. I think we’re at that age where everyone expects us to announce babies at any moment. They’re going to be waiting a while… πŸ˜‰

  9. Congrats! That’s so awesome. I really really relate to what you said about how much energy it takes to be doing something that just isn’t the right fit. I hope that someday I can join the ranks of the liberated :-). Even if that means working much harder, but at something I love!

    1. Amanda says

      I completely agree – working hard at something you love feels good! I’m definitely looking for a new challenge that’s in line with my passions.

  10. Congratulations! I just took the leap myself and I’m switching states to go with it. A terrifying and thrilling time for everyone involved. Enjoy your freedom!

    1. Amanda says

      I know that feeling! I remember when Aaron and I got into our car to drive from Boston to SF (crazy), we both had that “OMG, what did we just do?!” moment. Congrats on all of your big life changes. It’s an exciting time!

  11. Alla says

    Firstly CONGRATULATIONS! I hope you slammed the door Sofia Loren style when you left!
    Secondly, I know someone who was adamant in proclaiming KIDS!??? NOT EVEN THINKING ABOUT IT! the next thing that followed was an adorable baby! (talking abt me…) Just saying, tomorrow you can be of a completely different opinion. Don’t worry Amanda’s Mom!

    1. Amanda says

      hahaha Your comment totally cracked me up, and assuming my mom reads this, it will make her happy! πŸ™‚ I actually was just thinking the other day about how rewarding it could be to have a big family – something I’ve never even considered. So, it’s safe to say I have no idea what the future holds, kids or career-wise. πŸ™‚

  12. Carrie says

    Good for you, Amanda! I am blessed to have found my perfect part-time job at a Public Library. It’s only three days a week, but I love working there – my co-workers, the library patrons, everything about it. Wishing you peace, and hoping you find your “perfect” work!

    1. Amanda says

      Thanks, Carrie! That’s so great that you’ve found your perfect part-time job. I’d love to find part-time work that’s as rewarding as yours sounds. Sidenote: I worked at a social work library when I was in college, and while it’s not something I see being a career for me, the people were SO nice. Library people are generally pretty awesome. πŸ™‚

  13. Lee says

    Good for you! Life is too short to be stuck in a job that you hate.

    1. Amanda says

      Thanks, Lee!
      P.S. Congrats again to you and Jason! I’m so happy for you guys!

  14. I had a gut feeling this was going to happen..because I go through that feeling every single day but havent been brave enough to just QUIT yet…Im sooooo proud of you and also Aaron for supporting your back on these decisions <3

    1. Amanda says

      Thanks so much, Dixya. Sorry you also know that sick sort of feeling. It sucks! Hopefully you can make some changes in the near future so you can look forward to your weekdays instead of dreading work. In the meantime, hang in there and keep striving to make those small changes (one day at a time). xo

  15. Sonja says

    Hey Amanda,
    I’ve been following your blog for a few months now but this is my first time commenting. I just wanted to say congrats on quitting your job and taking a leap of faith to find your bliss. I just started my blog and spent this evening learning about SEO and all the things it entails (I think my brain exploded). It’s all a vehicle to do what I love, which is sharing food and writing the stories behind it. Good luck to you, and I look forward to seeing where the road takes you!

    1. Amanda says

      Thanks for commenting, Sonja! And congrats on your new blog! I love the name. πŸ™‚ Don’t get too caught up in the SEO – you’re right that it’s a vehicle for sharing your writing, but ultimately, I’m a big believer in the content being most important. That said, if you have a specific SEO question, I’m happy to share what I know.

      1. Sonja says

        Thanks! I’m excited to work on my writing and photography because it really does seem like great content is what attracts people to read your blog. It takes a lot of hard work but it’s so satisfying πŸ™‚

  16. So we’ve talked about this before, but our lives are just so eerily similar. Lets just say I’m in that exact spot now with my job but I haven’t taken the leap yet. I had one foot off the ledge last week but couldn’t do it. I’m so happy for you. I get it. That practical voice that’s telling you to stay, that gut feeling that’s telling you to go and the craziness of the uncertainty if you just do it. I just read this post to Ulysses and was like “this is a sign”. Thank you for writing about it because maybe this is that final push I need.

    1. Amanda says

      It is kind of crazy how similar our lives have been with regard to moving and work. It took me SO long to work up the courage to quit. I debated back and forth for YEARS, always waiting for that “perfect” time. I finally just reached a point the other week where I was pushed far enough that I was like screw it, I’m done. And I felt comfortable with that decision instead of wavering back and forth like I did in the past, trying to justify why I was staying. There’s never a perfect time (and I still struggle with basically cutting our income in half, at least for the immediate future), but I just knew that I was wasting my life at that point. You’ll know when the time is right. It’s this weird sense of calm.

      1. Yeah, I’m going on year number 3 of knowing I need to leave. It’s well past “that time”. The halving income thing….yeah. exactly. That’s a little tough to swallow and honestly, the biggest reason I haven’t done it yet. Going from never thinking about money really to having to make sure mortgages and bills can be paid scares the crap out of me. Anyway..I’ll be on the outlook for that ‘weird sense of calm’ πŸ™‚

  17. Caitlin says

    i’m so happy for you, amanda! i can’t wait to see what’s in store for you!

    1. Amanda says

      Thanks, Caitlin! I’m really excited!

  18. That is cracking fantastic. I help UK freelancers, not US, but most of the principles are the same since I mostly heap with the real life stuff like saving, uneven income, and you know, the things us organised planners get worked up about, hehe.

    Happy to have a chat for free (payment in kind already made via your blog) and I can also send you over to lots of helpful places on the web πŸ™‚

    1. Amanda says

      Thanks for the offer, Rosie! That’s very generous of you. πŸ™‚

  19. Sondi says

    Congratulations Amanda on taking such a huge step. You’re leaving a job and saying yes to happiness. It sounds cheesy, but it’s true. I quit my job three years ago, found a new career, and have absolutely no regrets. You can make anything you want happen. Good luck to you!

    1. Amanda says

      Thanks, Sondi! Always good to hear that someone else made a career change and has no regrets!

  20. Amy says

    That’s wonderful, Amanda! I very much admire (and am envious of) your bravery. I’m looking forward to hearing of your journey, and know that we’re all here for you if you find yourself in need of assistance.

    1. Amanda says

      Thank you, Amy! That’s so sweet of you to offer support. πŸ™‚

  21. Laura S. says

    Phew, what a weight lifted from you, Amanda! I hope you are happy and wish you all the best in your next step. Hope it’s big, exciting, and FUN!!

    1. Amanda says

      Thanks, Laura! I hope so too!

  22. Patrick says

    Couldn’t be written any better. Reading this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

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