Last week I resigned from the job that I have held for nearly nine years. This was probably the most difficult decision I made when determining whether I should travel. Who in their right mind walks away from a great job, with amazing co-workers that they genuinely enjoy? Me. It was my time.
I was hired by my company fresh outta college….young and poor. The draw of my very own felt-walled cubicle and all the bad coffee I could drink was more than I could resist. Oh, and the fact that I needed to afford a ski pass and rent helped too. I worked my ass off though and accepted any challenge in order to prove myself. My management saw the potential in me and provided me with so many opportunities to advance. I climbed the ladder, became well respected, and really did enjoy what I was doing. But, over the last couple of years, a lot of changes have been implemented…some good, some more difficult. I started to feel like I needed a change. It had been my only “real” job since college and I wasn’t sure what was going to make me happy at the time, so I continued to slug away.
When I knew it was time
I continued to try and make the most of my two weeks of vacation a year and planned a trip to Africa with a friend last spring. That trip changed me. It was like no other trip I had ever been on. It truly opened my eyes to what happiness was and it didn’t require a big house filled with expensive things. When you see firsthand how little some people have and how truly happy they are, now that’s an amazing moment. I wanted to spend more time there, just travel slowly and immerse myself in the culture, but I couldn’t. I realized I was caught up in the rat race of corporate America and I was putting too much value on things that weren’t important (like big screen TVs and Coach bags). After returning from Africa I was more motivated than ever to see if I could make this long term travel a reality.
Saying the Words
I had rehearsed how I would tell my boss hundreds of times in my head. When it came to actually uttering the words, it was harder than I thought it would be. My boss was saddened and caught off guard by my resignation, but ultimately understood. I had an instant wave of RELIEF once the words came out! Anddddddd, maybe a moment of panic in thinking, “what the hell did I just do!?!” But, I had been planning this trip on a serious level for the last year and this was the final step in order to make this a reality. Plus, I would be able to talk openly about the trip which was huge. No more skirting the issue of when I was going to buy another house, why I wasn’t getting a ski pass, etc. (aka, lying).
I respect my bosses immensely and definitely feel indebted to them. They provided me with opportunities to climb the corporate ladder, become successful, and ultimately they afforded me the ability to take this trip. They let me know that whenever I want to start being “responsible” again, I will always have a job with them! This was exactly what I was hoping for, but you never know what could happen. One of my biggest fears was having to start from ground zero upon my return. I am not 100% certain I will return to my old job, but to know I have an open door, is unbelievably reassuring and just fantastic. I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome!
I have less than six weeks to get everything in order! [Panic starts……now!] I gave myself a two week cushion in between my last day and my official departure. My top priorities include:
- Work my final weeks and transition duties
- Continue to check items off of my 4 page long checklist (I’ll be posting this soon)
- Write up and post more blog entries (can you say backlog??)
- Set up final details for my first stop
- Throw one hell of a going away party!
Ready or not, this trip is happening!!