why i quit my job

by

I have fantasized about writing this post for three years. Now it’s time.

I quit my job. I am no longer a public relations professional. I do not live the 9-5 lifestyle.

My new job is my passion. My new profession is my will to be great. My new lifestyle is one of my own choosing.

Why? Why have I sacrificed a comfortable 9-5 job at an amazing company with a steady paycheck, a nice health/dental/vision package and an IRA? Why have I cut my income by nearly two-thirds? Why have I taken such a life risk?

my [loss of] independence day

To gain a better understanding of why I quit my job, we need to take a look at the roots.

I paid for my entire freshman year of college. No help from my parents. No loans. Straight cash out of my pocket earned by umpiring little league baseball games and working 20- to 50-hour weeks at Red Robin. My funds ran out when freshman year ended. Thus, in spirit, so did my independence.

I knew from the beginning that I couldn’t pay for my next three years, but had effectively deluded myself into thinking I would not have to rely on my parents. I had moved out. I was on my own. Mom and Dad were two people I no longer had to rely on for a cash flow. I could finally stand without holding onto something.

But my envisioned independence was not meant to be – the Rents began paying for my college education. I still paid for a portion of my tuition by working over breaks, but it wasn’t the same. I was no longer financially independent. This fact meant quite a bit to me. One summer night just before sophomore year began, I got a little too liberal with my wine and broke down sobbing about how I wanted to drop out of college and move to California. And god knows I probably would have done it if my parents hadn’t stopped me.

Thus, I began to get angry. Over the next three years my optimism transformed into cynicism. I hated the institution. What kind of bullshit is paying thousands upon thousands of dollars to get a piece of paper that said, “I am now qualified to be paid more than the high-school-educated person.” I hated the cliche that was the man. I hated authority unless I saw it in action, unless I personally saw the cogs turning.

It was at this time in my life that I started my first blog, dubbing myself a “freebird.” I determined that I would one day live without shackles. My life would be my own and nobody would tell me where to be or when to be there. I didn’t need a lot of money. I just needed freedom. In hindsight, this was when I really started to become who I am today.

fast forward

That was 2005. It’s now 2011. Six years……

I chose a field of study, pursued it rigorously, and found moderate success. And with that moderate success, I found an equatable level of interest in my field. That’s not to say there weren’t things I got excited about – I bought into it as much as I possibly could. I really did. I convinced myself, to a certain degree, that I could simply get by working the 9-5 until “the ideal” came traipsing along – get a book published, gain a foothold in freelancing, get the perfect job where I can be happy – anything.

I’ve been very fortunate with the jobs I landed in my field: I got to work for a science center that introduced me to so many new and exciting concepts and theories to which I would have otherwise never been exposed; and I got to work at an incredibly dynamic agency that is actively breaking the traditional mold of what an agency looks like. It was through working at these amazing places and yet still feeling unfulfilled that I realized it wasn’t about the work environment – it was about me. My dreams. My needs. My vision.

Because when you’re pursuing a career for which you lack passion, when you wake up every day and long to sit at your desk at home and write instead of driving 30 minutes into the city, when you cringe at the prospect of checking your email…well, that’s when you’ve reached the tipping point. That’s when you’ve boiled all the water in your pot and it starts burning, losing its integrity and diminishing the possibility for any future use.

I lost some of my integrity during my pursuit of a career instead of a lifestyle. I degraded myself, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I have grown soft and inattentive. Complacent. Unappreciative of the wonders that surround me and, more importantly, of the incredible things I can do with my life.

I refuse to allow that depreciation to continue.

take a stand

My life has now taken a new direction. This is my stand. This is my pronouncement.

I will no longer excel at mediocrity. I will no longer subdue my passion for pragmatism. I will no longer be ruled by the fear of being solely responsible for my success or failure. I will defy convention and do what I’ve wanted to do since the seventh grade.

I pursue my true goals now with a sense of desperate urgency – I will write. Novels. Freelancing. Blog posts. Anything and everything for which I am passionate. The real work of my life now begins in earnest.

Am I scared for what  may come with such an unpredictable future? I’m freaking terrified. But the scales have finally tipped. My exhilaration outweighs my fear. My power now lies in my independence, and in the knowledge that I know nothing and, understanding that, can achieve everything.

And so it begins.

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19 Responses to “why i quit my job”

  1. Kellie Says:

    This is an amazing post. I very much admire your passion and your bravery. Your words truly inspire me to chase what makes me happy, rather than what makes me successful in the eyes of others. Good luck, Jeff! I will definitely be a reader of your work.
    -Kellie

  2. Blog The New Black Says:

    this was quite an intense post, mostly because I know exactly how you feel, in fact, I just wrote a post about it on my own. However, I have 70k in student loans, so I will be tied to ‘the man’ for some time, until I can figure out how to pay it all back. Best of luck with your new adventure- I look forward to following it!

  3. Amanda Hayes Says:

    Your bravery is much admired. I’m sure we’ll see (read) some great things from you. Best of luck!

  4. JL Says:

    As a recent 2010 college grad, this post really hit home for me. I have just completed 10 months of doing mindless quality and control work at a prominent auto financial services company. Today I lost my job. I could blame every party involved in what was my inherent downfall, but in the end the sole culprit was my complete and utter disdain for where I was. Sure the job responsibilities were slightly less than what I’m capable of. Sure the Ronald Mcdonald management style was completely unbearable. However the past ten months have really taught me one thing. Passion is the most important thing in life. Without it, I too felt the tinge of mediocrity breathing down my neck. I can finally stop, take a step back and re evaluate what I want and how I want to accomplish it. Probably easier said than done. Here’s to the future.

    • jeffhirz Says:

      JL,

      Great way of looking at things. The freedom offered by leaving a job is like nothing else – no matter the manner in which it was left. So glad you’re now able to re-evaluate your desires and how best to pursue your passion. I’ll cheers to that!

      Jeff

  5. Thomas Nebesar Says:

    A notion that is threaded through out above: That without having first pursued, or rather learned from, the disenchanting pursuit of a “career” you could not free yourself to the extent you now have.

    Something I’ve learned from those around me and personally to some extent in regards to pursuing a lifestyle. Success within a lifestyle is just as much a mixture of personal characteristics, attitudes, and chance as success within a career.

    However, you have a good head on your shoulders and you should do great. strength, honor, and the pursuit of happiness.

  6. Rachel Csaszar Says:

    First of all…oh my gosh.
    Second…CONGRATS, you’re going to go so far…and I’ll be buying your future novel!
    Finally…even though you may not have an overwhelming passion for PR, you have helped me gain it over the last year. You’re one of the only professional mentors/friends I’ve had who really tells it like it is, and I’m extremely grateful for that.

    Now after that cheesy comment…go conquer the world!! Or at least the literary one 🙂

  7. AA Says:

    I look forward to any and everything you write! I so admire your writing skills and content….how you put your thoughts out there. Now that a decision has been made, please hurry Jeff, (but take your time getting it right) – the world anxiously awaits! Congratulations and Cheers! Much support from the land of KY!

  8. Aubree Says:

    Bold move! But I would say smart move at the same time… you probably agree since you’re the one that did it though. You have to do what it takes to be happy in life. It’s amazing that you are pursuing your passion for writing and putting your talent to good use! The scarier option is looking back and saying “what if” and spending your life on the safe route. How much of my life am I wasting at my mind-numbingly dull 9-5 cubicle job? I often have to remind myself that I’m fortunate to have a job, but I am pretty much tied to it for the income to pay off my loans. In some ways money can give you freedom and help achieve some passions, like traveling (not cheap! I’m trying to go to Ireland sometime soonish), but of course money does not equal happiness aaaand it never will.

    I’m excited to read your work! Go you!

  9. mpavia211 Says:

    Jeff,

    I’ve read this blog post a few times now, and each time I read it I better understand the way you feel. It takes courage to pursue your passion and not settle for something that is comfortable and easy, simply because you can convince yourself that it’s “good enough.” The truth is, you won’t be truly happy unless you resist the urge to settle. Congratulations on taking a huge step towards your goals.

    I draw inspiration through reading your blog, so thanks and keep writing! One of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite books also keeps me motivated, and I think you might be able to relate to it. “Even if you don’t know what to do with your life, engage in what motivates you now.”

    • jeffhirz Says:

      Thanks, Pav. Means a lot man.

      And just so you know, I draw inspiration through your blog, as well. Very jealous of the places you’ve traveled and the things you’ve seen.

      • mpavia211 Says:

        Thanks Jeff. And I’ve only been able to enjoy traveling and writing because I left my “9-5” job in February (Not sure why everyone calls it a “9-5” when everyone I worked with puts in 70 hr weeks regularly). So you’re making the right move!

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