I had a conversation with my boss and told him, point-blank, that I was unhappy. I don’t think it came as a surprise, but when I said that I would either need a more manageable workload or a raise to make my efforts more worthwhile, I was shocked by his unwillingness to help.
If they didn’t value me, I wasn’t going to keep killing myself at work. I started leaving at 7:15 PM, instead of near midnight, to go to boxing classes, yoga and meditation. Doing more outside of work gave me perspective on how I wanted my life to look: I wanted my next job to be something that I believed in.
I worried that I was giving up, but a conversation with a former manager cleared things up for me: “Giving up would be sitting at your desk, continuing to do a job you hate,” she told me. I realized that leaving my job didn’t make me weak–I was making myself stronger by doing what was right for me.
I was soon offered a job as an asset manager for a charter school facilities loan portfolio (it’s a different form of finance) from a nonprofit organization that works to revive struggling neighborhoods and develop sustainable communities. When I accepted the position, my new boss even told me to make sure that I had enough time off between jobs.
So I did. I took a month off before starting my new position, but I was nervous: Had I made the right choice?
How I’m Doing Today
I’m a few months into my new job and it’s made my life richer. I’m making an effort to breathe, smile, eat healthier and have positive thoughts about my future.
I took a pay cut of about 30% to change positions, but I don’t think that I should be applauded for making the choice to accept less pay–I don’t view it as a sacrifice.
That said, I do struggle a little with my new salary. I have bad habits (cabs!) that are hard to shake. But I’ve cut down on shopping for clothes, shoes and accessories, as well as cancelled my expensive gym membership to start running outside.
I’d always pursued success without defining what success meant for me. Now I know: For me, it’s balance. In my new job, I’m busy but not stressed; I’m productive within working hours and I do something that I believe in.
My friends and family see the difference in me. Most of them tell me that I look and sound happy and free. And I am. I feel like I’ve taken control not only of my career, but my life.
*The author’s name has been changed to protect her privacy.
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