One of the most common questions I hear through my work is, “Should I quit my job?”
A lot of us are inspired by stories of people who quit their soul-sucking 9-5 lives to travel the world, or start a business, or finally write that novel they’ve been dreaming of for years.
There’s a reason why books and films like Eat, Pray, Love are so popular: many people out there want to pick up and leave their old lives behind, moving toward a clean slate, a lack of routine, and the idea of unlimited possibility.
But of course, picking up and leaving isn’t always so easy. There are bills to pay, groceries to buy, rent to worry about, and if there are kids or other family members who depend on you, then that can complicate the decision even more.
And then there’s the fear about career repercussions: What if things don’t work out as planned? What if the decision leads to regret, burned bridges, or lost career opportunities down the road?
And of course, there’s the question of money.
Aside from the bills being paid, day jobs afford us certain slices of luxury: that new pair of shoes you’ve had your eye on, a dinner out with friends on a Friday night, weekend getaways and yoga classes and concert tickets.
And what about savings? The future? Retirement?
These are all important questions, whether responsible, obligatory, practical, or material. Tarot can’t make a decision for you, but the cards can help you get clearer about how to reach your highest potential, your life’s purpose, and steps you can take to get there.
I can’t tell you what to do, either – that’s your decision to make, but whether I’m with you as a coach or a friend, I will tell you this: deep down inside, you probably already know what you need to do. We are never as stuck in a situation as we might think we are.
First, know what it is you really want.
Before you think through your “what if?” scenarios, it’s important to know what you want to have happen if you do leave your job. Leaping without a net, as they say, can be highly liberating.
But it can feel a little less scary if you know what’s next for you. Getting clear on what action you’ll take once you are jobless will also help if and when the timing of your life really kicks in – more on that later.
For example, I knew I wanted to grow my Tarot business, but I didn’t know how or when I could make that happen when I was still juggling a full-time job and my writing career.
And I wasn’t (and am still not) willing to give up my writing. So I felt stuck, knowing that I needed to invest a significant number of hours into being there for my business but also knowing I would burn myself out in the process.
And I knew I wouldn’t be giving my best readings if I felt tired and torn in different directions, and that wouldn’t be fair to my clients.
When I finally got the opportunity to leave my job, though, there was no stopping me. I knew right away what I wanted to do next, and I didn’t miss a beat in focusing on business.
So knowing what would be next for you, even if you are not planning on leaving your job right this second, can really help alleviate some of the fear.
Sure, any major change is scary, but if you give yourself a road map before you take off, then at least you’ll be giving yourself more control over where you’re headed.
Pay attention to the questions you keep asking yourself.
What are you most worried about? What is your day job keeping you most attached to?
After your basic necessities, what are you afraid you’ll miss out on? And how do those things align with your ultimate goals, your sense of fulfillment, and your values?
Is the job you’re in now worth sticking it out for to get a new pair of shoes every few months? Do you need to go out for dinner as often as you do?
What changes are you willing to make? What are you willing to let go of? What will you sacrifice if you need to?
Write it all down. Make a list of what you need, what you want, and what you’re willing to let go of. Ask yourself whether feeling the way you do now is worth it, and what you’re willing to change for the life you really want.
And then ask yourself: “What if I can still have it all again, but on my own terms?”
Just because some things need to be left behind now doesn’t mean they’ll be gone forever.
Learn to trust in the timing of your life.
I was 14 when I got my first lesson about life’s sense of timing, and how it plays into our destinies. When the time came in Grade 8 to enroll for high school, most of the kids in my class were moving on to the same high school together.
We were all in French immersion, and there was only one French immersion secondary school to choose from in the area. So if you were sticking with the program, you would apply there.
But I didn’t want to stick with the program. I’d had a tough year and felt like I needed a fresh start at a new school where I didn’t know anyone. So I applied to an English school in my neighbourhood and started to wonder about the new friends I might make there, the new experiences I could have and the new identity I could forge for myself.
But as summer crept closer and Grade 8 grad was looming, I was starting to second guess myself. Some of my friends started telling me to stick with French so we could all move on to Grade 9 together.
I gave in, caving at the last minute.
My first year of high school was terrible. Now, that isn’t an uncommon experience for new students, but for me, nothing felt like it was going right that year. My grades took a serious nosedive.
As a young goth kid in a school that prided itself on prestige, status, and “keeping up appearances” (it was called Richview, afterall) I was often bullied or made to feel unwelcome, including by some of the staff. The school newsletter had even allowed a letter from a student to be printed, asking why some kids were allowed to dress in fishnets and black lipstick, questioning what kind of impression it would give of the school. Um, okay – sorry if you seem inclusive or something.
Even my art and English teachers singled me out constantly, which hurt, as they had always been my best and favourite subjects. One time, my English teacher had actually taken my arm and walked me out of her classroom because she thought my clothing didn’t match her Christian values. Seriously. (And yes, it was a public school.)
I did make some new friends, but as my Grade 9 year wore on, I felt more and more hopeless about my future there. Then, one day on my way to school, I was looking at the early morning sky and I decided right then that I was going to go to a different school next year.
I enrolled in the English school I’d originally planned on going to and that was that. It felt like a weight had been lifted. It felt right.
And then a strange thing started to happen: I began to notice other kids – mostly boys – in my neighbourhood or on public transit and I wondered who they were. That summer, I took a remedial math class and it happened even more: I saw boys and girls who caught my eye, and I felt so drawn to them, though I was too shy to actually talk to them. But I knew I wanted to be their friend.
When I got to my new school on my first day of Grade 10, I was surprised to see all of those same kids there. The boys who I’d quietly crushed on from a distance that spring and summer were there. I ended up dating some of them later. The girls I’d seen at summer school were people I ended up meeting, and I did become friends with some of the people I’d hoped to get to know. I took it all as a sign that I’d done the right thing, confirmation that I was finally in the right place.
But I couldn’t help think of how funny it was that I ended up making the same decision I’d flaked out on a year before. It was though I’d known what I needed to do back in Grade 8, but when I second-guessed myself, life put up obstacles in my way to make sure I got bounced back onto the path I was meant to be on.
Sure, my high school years weren’t perfect – whose are? But I do feel that everything I lived through then happened for a reason, because it gave me so many experiences and points of inspiration for my work later that I couldn’t imagine my life being any different.
So remember that even if you feel like you’re in the wrong job, or you’re spinning your wheels, that something is going to come along to make sure you get back on the path you need to be on. Sometimes, when we procrastinate on making a move, that’s actually our instinct telling us that it’s not the right time. You might need to wait.
But if you wait too long, then life will surely let you know that it’s time to go. So be ready with your action plan, because you never know what’s just around the corner, and if you can be the one in charge of making the decision when the time feels right, then it will probably not feel quite as jarring as it would be if all of a sudden you were promptly bumped off your path through something like a job loss.
It might help for you now to look at what you feel are the obstacles you face in your job: do you mesh well with your coworkers or do you feel like you would rather not have these people in your life at all?
How does your body feel when you are at work? Is there a lump of anxiety in your chest? Are you injured from the type of work you do?
Do you feel strung out or constantly exhausted, either mentally or physically, without any sense of exhilaration as a pay-off?
Does it feel like things are constantly going wrong for you at work? Are your projects always meeting roadblocks? Are you ignored or invalidated, or surrounded by people who take credit for your ideas? If so, why do you continue to surround yourself day after day with people like this? Where will it get you?
Now, think about a time when you feel that life bumped you off a wrong path. What is your relationship to timing and destiny? Where can you restore your trust in the universe?
Once you have your lists made, ask yourself now how you feel about quitting your job, and start to think about what step you might need to take next to get yourself to where you would rather be.
Until next time,