Leaving Behind the Known to Discover the Unknown

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I am in my mid-20s, have recently finished my masters and begun my first fulltime job.  The job that I had wanted for the past 5+ years. The one that I thought would be so perfect for me. The one where I had a clear and stable career path. The one where I would be financially secure for the long-term. The one where I knew I would be able to have a really good work/life balance.

Thus what on earth possessed me to decide to leave all that behind and resign from this job?

It was the need to follow my passion and find a job that I actually love to do.  All those reasons mentioned above, which are incredibly important in life, are instantly made insignificant by the lack of enjoyment and fulfillment I was getting from my day to day job.  It wasn’t what I had expected, which to be honest only came from the short summer internships that I had done.  One thing I have realized is that what you see and experience in internships (unless it’s a long one) is not at all what the real day-to-day jobs are like.

It took months of hard times and tough days to come to this decision, and in the end it was my heart that made it for me.  Suddenly the fear of being without a job, the judgment I would receive from people and the lack of certainty in life became superfluous to the desperate need to make a change.  And that was how I saw it, there were no other options, it was either change and be happy or don’t change and stay depressed.

What surprised me most when I started to tell people about my decision to leave my job in search of my true passion was that they told me how brave and courageous I was.  This was the last thing I had expected, which had been disappointment, a lot of judgment, and that look that says, “you’re just stupid for doing that” or “what were you thinking?”  But instead, what I got was unbelievable support and encouragement, as well as a lot of compliments for being so brave.  I was so confused every time I heard this because being brave was the absolute last thing I had been thinking about, since at the time it felt more like desperation. I had felt like I was a failure and just being weak, so bravery didn’t even cross my mind.

That is why the reactions I got from people were so pleasantly surprising and so encouraging.  People didn’t see this as a failure, what they actually saw was the strength and courage to defy the norm, step out of a massive comfort zone and safety net to go after what I really want to do.  This, now that I think about it, does make sense.  None of this is easy and I am giving up certainty in the pursuit of happiness, so I guess they were right.

Thus I have learnt a couple of things from this experience.  Firstly, your expectations of how people will behave or react can sometimes be very far from the truth.  One has to learn not to pre-judge someone’s judgment or opinion and let that decide how you are going to live your life.  Otherwise you may never be able to go after what you really want and you will be letting others control your life.

Secondly, having a good and stable job is important, but so is ones happiness.  What price are you willing to pay?  I know that sometimes the option of quitting isn’t possible because hell, we all live in the same world where money is needed to buy food, water, shelter, etc.  However, if you are financially able to, and feel strong enough, confident in yourself and your abilities, and have a strong feeling you were meant for so much more, then don’t stop yourself!  I don’t know where I am headed or what exactly my passion is yet, but I believe in myself and know that when I put my mind to something I can achieve anything I want, so I trust I will get there in the end and reach my goals in life.

Even though I have only just started in the working world but am already in my mid-twenties, this is in fact the best time in my life to make such a change.  I have zero responsibilities and nothing holding me down, plus wouldn’t one want to figure out what they love to do early on rather than waste years of their life and career doing something they don’t enjoy at all.  I truly believe it’s better to follow your heart and your passion, because if you do, you will become the best version of yourself and you will be unstoppable.

I don’t know what the future has in store, and you know what, for the first time I am actually excited about that!

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