I started Woman in Real Life close to three years ago, when I quit my full-time corporate communications job of over 14 years to work as a freelance writer from home. What makes a person give up a reliable, well-paying job with years of pension contributions under her belt?
You can be sure the decision wasn't easy. It came after weeks of worrying and fluctuating back and forth. But I truly believe that, as Oprah says, the universe sends you messages. And when you ignore those messages, they get louder. Maybe you don't get the raise you want, maybe your boss is constantly critical of the "mistakes" you make, but never notices the great work you do every day. Maybe your co-worker takes credit for your successful project.
For me, feelings of discontent progressed to signs of chronic stress - a twitch under the eye, irritable bowel syndrome, a constant feeling of fatigue - I'm sure many of you are familiar with the symptoms. In the end, what I determined to be the worst symptom of all was that I didn't really like me and my behaviour. Constant complaints are not only irritating for everybody around you, but they also chip away at your soul. If you are unhappy at work, you are sure to be unhappy in the rest of your life.
Yes, people can be cruel and uncaring. It might seem that only the sociopath rises easily to the top. And, under the strain of a critical boss, co-workers can become competitive and friendships can sour. But as much as you are tempted to blame others for your situation (and believe me, I did!), ultimately you are responsible for your own happiness.
The solution that presented itself to me was starting my own freelance writing business - getting back to the kind of creatively fulfilling writing that I did for several years after journalism school. I also started this blog, because, as much as I love technology, I'm an old-fashioned girl at heart and I have to push myself to keep up with the modern world.
Now I surround myself with things that inspire me - old books I loved as a child, bits of meditation from wise folks, family photos and writing instruction books. I'm looking to get back to being the impassioned, enthusiastic person I was straight out of journalism school.
I am also fortunate to connect daily with people who are similarly unveiling and exploring their creativity. Every day is different and some days are less inspired than others, but each day is lived more fully and with less complaints. Best of all, I get to greet my children at the end of their school day.
Pat yourself on the back
I'm not saying that quitting your job is the solution for everybody. I have a husband with a reliable income and great medical benefits. Maybe you're a single mother or a young woman with your own house or apartment to maintain. Until you can find a better place for yourself, be sure to believe in yourself and know that your work has value.
Pat yourself on the back. Find the good in each day, even if it's a warm cup of tea and a muffin.Treat yourself to a midday croissant or a night out with your girlfriends. And pat someone else on the back. Notice something great they did - a successful project, an inspiring piece of writing - if you are suffering in your work environment, you can be sure someone else is too. The best thing I came away with from my job was cherished friends.
I'm not saying I won't go back to the corporate world one day. The temptation of a regular salary is always there. But if I do, I'll make sure I go to a job that I can be passionate about in a place where I'm surrounded by like-minded individuals. Until that time, you'll find me here, typing away at my grandmother's antique serving table-turned-desk with a cup of decaf green tea and a very cute dog at my side.
Take the Feel Something More blog tour!
This post is brought to you by Jody and Ashley, the lovely hosts of the Feel Something More blog tour. Jody and Ashley guide people towards subtle shifts that can transform their lives, both in the kitchen and beyond. One of their fun ways of inspiring others is a 14-day virtual whole food detox, teaching participants how to make their health a priority by preparing and eating only real, unprocessed foods. Whatever the feeling of “more” is for you, whatever that little voice inside you is telling you you’re capable of, their mission is to help you fulfill it. That's why they've put together this blog tour featuring women's experiences with what it is to feel more in their lives. Next up on J+A’s blog tour is Emily McLaughlin, writing about "Managing Hypoglycemia by Seeking ‘More.’” Be sure to click on the image below to read past and future posts on the tour!