This isn’t one of those “I quit my job to follow my passion” stories. This is an “I quit my job because my mental health was in complete shambles” story.
I quit my job on October 12, 2018. I didn’t have another job lined up. I hadn’t even applied for other jobs.
I had honestly hated the job since the first week, but I was too scared to quit for financial reasons. I was also afraid a seven month stunt at a reputable company would blemish my resume. I also knew that it can take more than a week to adjust to a new job, and I convinced myself I would end up feeling okay about it once I got used to it.
I should have trusted my gut. Eventually, I got to the point where quitting was something I knew I had to do in order to preserve my mental and physical health.
Anyway, if you’re wondering whether you should quit your full-time job, or if you’re just interested in reading my experience, let’s dive in.
Why I Quit My Job Without Another Job
I was scared to ask for help.
I was brought in as an external hire for a position a lot of people get promoted into, so it is understandable that I would have some catching up to do. I was given the exact same amount of training as anyone else, and my first day where I wasn’t being trained was the busiest day of the week.
For the most part, I was treated like I should have already known what I was doing, and sometimes my superiors would even be irritated that I was asking for their help. You know who DID want to help me? The people I was supposed to be supervising… which was kind of them, but ultimately unfair and shouldn’t have been their responsibility!
I had turned into a jerk.
I was so miserable at work that my irritability had started to bleed into my personal life. I was short-tempered and snappy with family and friends. I would either complain about work every second I could, or I would bottle all my emotions up and they’d seep out through my actions. I was miserable to be around.
When I was actually at work, I pretended to be happy and spread positivity because I was so unhappy there, but I didn’t have the energy anymore for that after I left the building.
I wouldn’t perform well in job interviews.
I was not in the mental state for the confidence required for job interviews. My confidence and self-esteem were destroyed because of how my job made me feel. There was absolutely no way I could sell myself to potential employers on cover letters or in an interview setting. It got to the point where I didn’t know what my strengths were anymore, because every day I went in there feeling like I wasn’t good enough.
Not to mention, I was so stressed out that trying to coordinate and schedule job interviews felt like trying to dig a hole in the ground with a spoon!
My work/life balance was non-existent.
I had literally no work/life balance whatsoever and I was too tired most of the time to do anything after work. Instead of hanging out with friends or pursuing my hobbies, I just wanted to come home and tune out. When I did go out, I constantly thought about work and my deadlines and my email inbox, so it wasn’t even fun. Days off didn’t even feel like days off because I still thought about work constantly. My specific job did not require me to take work home with me. I never even set up my email inbox to receive emails at home, yet I still thought about work constantly when I was trying to relax.
My health was declining.
My mental health and physical health were suffering. I felt exhausted no matter how much sleep I got. I wasn’t taking care of my body or feeding it nourishing food. My back and shoulders were constantly tense. I was constantly in pain, even though I was walking and moving less than I ever had before.
My anxiety was at an all-time high; normally, it is manageable. Prior to this job, I had never experienced extreme job-related anxiety/panic before. I felt jittery and panicked most of the time and I could never quite put my finger on one specific reason.
I cried… a lot.
I found myself crying before work, at work, and after work multiple times per week. I’m an emotional person by nature, but that amount of crying because of a job is NOT normal and it is NOT okay.
Nowhere was safe! I would cry everywhere… in the bathroom, in the break room, in the HR office, in my car, etc. I would even cry at home. Sometimes I didn’t even know why I was crying.
I started tracking my moods, and I found that I cried for a work-related reason approximately 50% of the time. That was one of the things that opened my eyes the most to how unhappy I was in that type of environment.
I often sought out articles like this one.
I didn’t trust my own perception of my situation, and for a long time I thought I was overreacting. At the same time, I was hesitant to talk to friends and family about it. My boyfriend was the only one who saw even a snippet of how bad it was, and we live together.
I ended up finding the strength to quit my job partially by reading others’ experiences on the topic. Without copious amounts of googling, it would have taken me much longer to find the strength I needed to leave.
If you feel like it’s time to quit your job…
Honestly, if you’re already wondering whether or not you should quit your job, you probably should seriously consider it. Your intuition knows more than you consciously realize.
If you have the financial means necessary and you feel like your job is seriously affecting your mental and/or physical health, get out. I quit my job almost three months ago, and I have only recently gotten my mental health, self-esteem, and confidence levels back up to where they were before I started working there.
If you don’t have the finances to just quit, try to see if you can reduce your hours and/or save some money so you can live off those savings while you find another job. It may be beneficial to look into temp jobs and/or volunteer opportunities so you can keep your resume current if that is a concern for you.
I always recommend giving a notice unless your job is literally abusive. I hated my job, but it was not at the point where I was abused or harassed.
If you need support….
When I quit my job without another job, I was scared. I had a strong support system and a boyfriend and family who were willing to support me, but I was terrified and felt like a failure. But I knew it was something I needed to do, and looking back I feel like it taught me a lot. If you’re going through something similar, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you feel comfortable doing so.
If you feel like you need professional mental health services, try to seek out providers who practice on a sliding scale fee. You might have better luck seeking out private practices. If you also happen to be in college, see if your campus offers free or reduced mental health services.
Jobs take up a lot of our time. We all deserve to have jobs that don’t steal our happiness constantly. Whatever your job situation may be, I wish you the best.
P.S. One year later….
It has now officially been one year since I left my terrible, toxic job, so I wrote an update if you’re interested! I talk about the aftermath of quitting, what I did during unemployment, and how I found the courage to reenter the workforce.
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