Friday, May 31, 2013

Quit My Day Job

The summer semester is on. It's a beautiful Friday morning and I'm buzzing on a latte, enjoying student papers, working to the beat of some fun 80s music in the background. I'm at Twiggs, my favorite coffee shop, and I just had a full-circle moment. About this time four years ago, I was in a government job I hated. Ugh. I had the boss from hell, and while I loved the students I was working with, I felt like a cog in a bureaucratic machine, no longer fulfilled or challenged, watching some of the senior employees rot as they wilted and waited for retirement and a pension. It was a dark time. 

I remember coming into Twiggs one morning before work, looking around to see people happily clicking away on their laptops, reading, enjoying coffee and music, peaceful and productive. I was so sad to be headed off to another miserable day at work. I literally felt sick and remember thinking, I hate this. I need a new job. A job where I choose my own hours. A work environment that lets me read, and learn, and think every day. A career that challenges me and lets me be creative. An employer that gives me autonomy and lets me do some of my work from a coffee shop. Postsecondary teaching seemed to be the answer. It was at that moment, that morning when I first seriously considered leaving my relatively well paid, permanent position with the state. It was 2009 and the recession was in full swing. A lot of people told me I was crazy to leave such stability. My dad, who always has pitch-perfect advice, told me to follow my heart, and reminded me that in this country, we're lucky that we can find what we love and go make a job out of it. With the encouragement of my family and friends, I had a timeline to leave. Though I was terrified, a heavy weight was lifted. I resigned three months later, and received a teaching job that same week. As I wrote in this post, teaching has its ups and downs, but an unfulfilling 9-to-5 under fluorescent lights is just not for me. And life's too short to spend 40+ hours a week doing something that doesn't make your heart sing.

I haven't thought of that sad morning in Twiggs in years, but here's the lesson: You can have any life you want. Unhappy at work? You can change things. If you follow your passions, and work hard to craft a life that is meaningful to you, even if that meaningful life means deviating from a stable plan or your comfort zone, you can build something fulfilling, and find your bliss.

Happy weekend. xo


  1. Enjoy your blog.^^ Have a nice week end! Kisses from Madrid.


  2. Thank you!! I'm thrilled to have a reader in one of my all-time favorite cities! Besos desde San Diego!! xoxo

  3. Hello Sarah. I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for telling this story about courage. It is something so powerful yet painful to change a situation that for others may be doable but for oneself can be soul-crushing. It is also very courageous to be at a crossroad where you must stop doing one thing and prepare to do another. It can be scary, and yet you must hope that the next will be right for you. Im glad you transitioned successfully into what you knew to be better for you. It gives me hope at my current crossroad. It lets me know that this scary moment is just that a moment; that in the end we know deep down how to find what we love and say goodbye to what we cannot do anymore. -

    You are a lovely person and a gentle soul. May more lovely things and success come your way.
    Carolina (your former international student assistant)

    1. Carolina,

      It is so wonderful to hear from you! And thank you for your kind message. Really, your words mean so much to me.

      You are so right. Moving your life path in a new direction is one of the hardest things anyone can do. But, I think deep down you know what direction is right for you and you have to be true to that. I recently read a quote that said, "If you do not step forward, you will always be in the same place." So true!! So, follow your heart and face this crossroads with courage. I know you will find your passion.. and then have someone pay you to pursue it. :) And if anyone is headed for success, it's you, my dear.

      Best wishes and keep in touch,


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