You know how everyone fantasizes about quitting their job? To do something crazy, like open a bakery in Maine or more generally, pursue their so-called “passions”? Well, I tried that route once…. and, like a lot of things, it didn’t quite turn out as I’d hoped. BUT it didn’t end up horribly, either. So for any semi-normal, semi-sane person thinking of taking the plunge, here’s what to expect:
1. You’ll spend a lot of time at Starbucks.
It may seem like a weird place to start, but it’s kind of the perfect place for the lost or wandering. Or anyone, really. Starbucks is kind of like a beacon of cozy, welcoming light during what will likely become a very unsure couple of months. All sorts of people are welcome at here: homeless guys waiting for the train, Suburban driving mothers with 5 kids, businessmen in white linen shirts and etc. As long as you have your laptop open and a half-drunk coffee in front of you, it’s acceptable to hang out most mornings and do what you need to do… whether it’s browsing for new jobs, writing or even studying.
2. You’ll second-guess yourself, a lot.
While hanging out at Starbucks all day might not seem like a bad gig, after a while your contentment will wax and wane, like…. the moon on steroids. Or something. One day, you might feel like a more substantially sized Carrie Bradshaw (or whoever the male equivalent may be), typing away on your little laptop and sipping coffee– then the next day, more like Hannah Horvath in the middle of a nervous breakdown. Just be prepared for your perspective to change at the drop of a hat. Or Q-tip, maybe.
3. You’ll begin to bleed money.
Like Cinderella’s coach turned back into a pumpkin, you’re caramel macchiato will devolve back into a plain cup of coffee. You’re bank account will begin to remind you why you were working full-time real quick. You’ll start to think about the cost of EVERYTHING. You’ll go to somewhat elaborate lengths to save or earn a dollar– signing up for a checking account because of the $150 bonus that comes with it, selling clothes to those self-esteem shattering resale shops for 1/16 of what you paid for them, or dipping into almost every account you own. Either way, you’ll start to remember why people stay at jobs they hate for so long.
4. …and because you’re bleeding money, you’ll pick up some interesting odd jobs.
Hostess at a craft beer establishment? Sure. Freelance for a suburban newspaper? Why not? Analyze urine samples at a doctor’s office? Ew, fine. Whatever your odd job may be, just be thankful for it. It will get you through your rough financial situation for at least a little bit.
5. You’ll start to hide things from friends and family (so as not to freak them out).
While we’d like to think we could fully lean on family and close friends during rough times, I don’t think many of us want to be seen as failures or dependent people either. Because in reality, after leaving a job without a solid plan, most people you tell will either silently or not so silently judge the crap out of you– close family or not. No one wants to worry their probably aging parents nowadays either. So that being said, you’ll probably go to somewhat elaborate lengths to keep up the charade of your 9-5pm workday. Whether it’s leaving the house at the same time you normally would or having an excuse ready as to why you’ve been posting so many IG pics mid-day, be prepared to feel a bit like a fugitive.
6. …but you’ll eventually freak out your friends and family anyway.
Whether or not you decide to actually tell your friends and family or they happen to find out in a not-so-savory way, once they do, shit gets real… real quick. Be prepared for instantly feel like your 5 years old again and super guilty.
However, all this being said, you, and everyone else, will eventually get over it. If you’re truly stuck, doing something like this might just be the colossal kick in the pants you need. You might end up eventually finding a workplace where you feel more at home than ever before. Or you might end up applying to the grad school program you’ve been thinking about for the past 3 years. Or… you might do something completely different. It’s your life. Just know what you’re in for.