Alright y’all. I did something scary last week.
I gave my three weeks’ notice at my “day job.” I put that in quotations because it’s really an early morning, day, and evening job. A life-and-soul-sucking job.
Okay, it’s really not as bad as I’m making it out to be – if you have the right mindset about it – but I don’t. The workplace is a community mental health agency funded almost entirely through Medicaid. I do therapy with kids and families in their schools and homes. I truly love all of my clients there, and thinking about leaving them makes me so sad. But it is SO difficult for me to work in the kind of environment that is wrought with agency and government mandated regulations, service hour quotas, and office politics. I was driving for 1-2.5 hours per day to and from client appointments as a community-based therapist. I was not feeling motivated or excited about going to work, and it was difficult for me to make myself go see my clients. The clients were amazing – but I was burnt out.
In addition to that job, I also nanny in the early mornings (6-8 AM) a few days per week, which is NOT difficult to get up for because I enjoy getting in my baby-loving fix (well, it’s a little hard to get up for because I’m absolutely not a morning person, but it’s worth it). I also work as a therapist in a private practice, seeing several clients per week and co-leading a group. I love that job because it’s an exciting small business environment where I’m learning skills outside of just counseling. I also quite enjoy doing therapy with clients and feel that I am making a difference in their lives. The camaraderie with my coworkers is a huge perk; we all get along well together and make a great team. I’ve experienced jobs that feed my soul, and jobs that are draining and unhealthy for me, and I’m thankful I am able to recognize and do what is best for me.
I thought about the decision for a long time – about two months – before I actually decided to put in my notice. I didn’t want to make a rash decision and I wanted to see if the job was one of those things I could just push through. It wasn’t. It will be so hard leaving my clients. But it will be so worth it to have that weight off my shoulders. So far, one week of my three has gone by, and the worst part is pushing myself through these last few weeks when I know it’s almost over. Though I am so ready for this chapter to end and I’ve lost so much motivation to work, I owe it to my clients to put on my game face and keep giving them my all until the end. They deserve that, and I deserve that for myself.
Since I’m being totally honest here, I’ve got a confession. I am worried about what people will think of my choice. I have spent an absurd amount time trying to justify this in my head to others. I don’t know why it seems like making this public will feel like I am letting people down or disappointing them, but in my gut I worry that I will be met with disapproval. Completely irrational, right? Whose life is this? Mine. What I do doesn’t affect anyone else’s life except mine and my husband’s. Speaking of which, he has been completely supportive of this decision, saying things like “I don’t want you doing something that’s draining you.” Having his support has been one of the things that makes this so much easier because I was terrified to bring it up to him; not out of fear that he would have a bad reaction, but out of my own insecurities about making this choice and how it might affect us financially. I know that others *might* think this choice doesn’t make sense, monetarily or otherwise, but who cares? I shouldn’t. It’s not their decision to make.
I was also afraid of the impact of the lost income. That job isn’t our main source of income, but it did provide a good portion of my monetary contribution to our little family. I am blessed that my husband has a steady, well-paying (well, about average, for a teacher) job that also includes insurance for both of us. After doing the math, I know that we will be fine without the soul-sucking job. I’m really excited to open myself up to other opportunities. I’ve been getting more calls at the private practice lately, and am thinking about taking some intensive trainings to make myself more marketable. I’ve closed one door, and am leaving the opportunity for more to open [to sound terribly cliché]. I certainly want to find some way to replace the lost income in order to keep gaining headway on those student loans. I’m enjoying the search and the journey right now, trying to take it one day at a time, and reveling in the knowledge that I did what was best for me.