Did you feel like you think you’re working with a successful career today but you still missed something? You know there’s something missing, but you don’t have any idea what exactly it is.
Did you ever feel frustrated after knowing that your friends who were not straight A-listers in class were far more successful than you do? You feel stuck in a boring work you don’t even like doing?
Was the hard work you did in school like getting straight As worthless now?
You may have doubted your worth at work because you felt stuck. Perhaps, you ever wanted to run away from your desk without your boss’ notice. You always felt the agonizing pain wherever you go, whatever you do. Though you don’t know what exactly your heart says, going to office is torture. That’s one thing for sure.
“But I Worked Too Hard At School To Get In To This Work…”
One tormenting fact. Frustrating, isn’t it?
You did a lot of hard work at school, in college impressing your professors — who happen to be insanely stupid when you think about it now — to get good grades. You were thinking that these grades will take you a comfortable and luxurious life. Your parents probably have said these words when you’re so young, like you were still a fetus.
“Dear, you need to study harder to get good grades. You need to have a lot of As to get a good job.”
“Damn it! Why you have a lot of mistakes in your test papers, in your quizzes, in your recitations, in your performances…”
I remember my papa reviewed my test papers in grade school. He told me my teacher had a lot of mistakes in checking the last quarterl exam items. “Go back, tell your teacher, she should adjust your grades. She did a lot of mistakes in checking your paper.” So, I did. My parents seemed to have discontent with my 93% over-all grade. For some, it’s already a slam dunk.
Not for my parents, of course.
If you try to recall your moments, doing such things way back in school, bringing the pressuring burdens on your shoulders to get high grades thinking you’ll land to a job you love doing later on. You didn’t have enough sleep studying for your incoming terrifying final examinations, for example. Name them.
Family’s Super, Duper High Expectations Killed Your Joyous Dreams Over Anguish Successful Career
You maybe think that I’m a duck nagging you. Quack! Quack! Quack! Quack! Quack!
It’s quite an annoyance, right?
But what is more annoying, hearing my quacks all time or getting stuck with your 9 to 5 job?
“Come on, Mecyll, it’s both.” Yeah, I know.
I know how exactly that feels when you’re facing your family and friends. Knowing their expectations are too high, for sure, they will wonder how come you have a low salary and a not-so-good-and-well-mismatched kind of job.
I remember way back 2008, months before my high school graduation, it was the most horrifying experience I could never forget.
I, together with my sister and my mama (Filipino term for mom), attended the annual family reunion in December. We stayed in my mama’s cousin in Misamis Occidental, Philippines, hundreds of kilometers away from my hometown.
“Hey everyone,” my aunt announced during the family program. Imagine, she was almost shouting in front of a crowd where everyone’s facing us. I ever wanted to cover my face with a paper bag like Sia did.
“This is our newest valedictorian in the family. You should take note of that. She’s really brilliant,” she added.
Everyone was surprised, overwhelmed, shocked. Well, I was the only class valedictorian in the batch of cousins and the third in the whole family counting from the first generation. And it doesn’t happen all the time in the family. Obviously, they were so proud.
But I felt different. I knew they will be so disappointed if I don’t pursue for-the-intellectual-people-only courses in college i.e. Law, Business, Chemistry, Engineering, Biology, and the rest of the damn -ogies and -trys.
Five years forward from the announcement, I graduated in college with no flying colors, yet I’ve got a good school record. Almost all straight As. Some Bs, Cs, but only one D. I got my active student organization involvement — became a student council president and student government executive secretary. Those were big records.
Yet, I knew this is not the path I want to pursue. I knew I was in the wrong space. There was something I was looking for. But I didn’t know what.
Straight As Aftermath: Excruciating Pain For Getting “Overqualified” For The So-Called Dream Job
Yet, when I graduated, it was different. Overqualified was the question. My 8-page resume was too intimidating. Duh, I can’t edit my background and experiences. I certainly can’t do that. I spent almost Php 2,000 ($50) for printing loads of resumes and fare for transit to submit them. Including too much exposure underneath the burning heat of the sun and foggy smoke from vehicles, those weren’t the exact situation I expected.
It was like crucifixion for me.
When my sister told me after I submitted my last resume, “Ate (Filipino term for elder sister), you’re overqualified for work here, I guess.” I was sad. I don’t know what to do back then. I immediately asked myself, “Where did my straight As go? Where did my hard work for active involvement at school since then go? Bla Blah Bla”
Knowing that I was so bothered that time, I wasn’t expecting applying for a job was a lot of work. For months.
Fast forward to two months, around May 2013, I got hired, got stuck with a boring, stressful, underpaid full-time high school teaching job, working almost 100 hours per week. I wanted to escape.
Successful Career’s Misery Turned Out The Biggest Gratitude For My Creative Dreams
I am thankful that my boss hated me. Pretty insane, right?
A long year misery teaching is the biggest eye-opener for me. The situation was tough. I was considered a pain in the ass in the entire faculty office. They don’t like my straightforward attitude and flexibility. My entire life as a teacher felt like I was a slave. It wasn’t worth my time and effort.
Adamant to my decision, it widened possibilities for me to what I can still do and improve. I gained so much knowledge than I’ve not studied before. Wit, cleverness, flexibility, pressure and stress management, can you learn these at school?
I saw another dimension — creativity — when I freed myself from that job.
Pursuing Creativity Is Insanely Dangerous Than Staying The Status Quo (And Get Stuck With Your Lifeless Successful Career!)
Albert Einstein can tell you “Creativity is intelligence but with fun” so many times he wants to. But I tell you, creativity is indeed dangerous. Only if you’re not prepared to its hideous consequences.
You feel like…
Creativity is worthless. Making you disappointed you choose it. Making you feel you’re stupid enough to give this a shot but you never saw the results you wanted.
Creativity is a waste of time. Allowing you to think more than the number of hours needed to create a craft you’re never sure it will turn out nice and customers will like buying them.
Creativity will starve you. It will cause you troubles doubled than before. It will make you so frustrated after you quit your successful career for this crap.
Creativity is crazy.
Well, like you.
This is exactly what you will feel days or months after you quit your job. Months after the adjustment, surely you will feel different. I’m serious, months! It’s not easy to quit a successful career, pal. Never. The decision needs a lot more of self-evaluation and planning.
I did this months before my contract ended and finally quit my teaching job in March 2014. It took me almost a year to adjust. To help you see how it is after quitting your stable job for creativity, you need to prepare WELL.
7 Ways To Prepare Before Quitting:
- Keep a journal months before the school year or office year ends. This is really crucial. You need to think over what possible steps you do after leaving your current job. You can’t just file a resignation letter and walk away from your boss’ office. You need to think about this a lot of times. A journal will help you out.
- Talk to your family about quitting. Talk to your parents about this plan. If possible, talk to the entire family like including your siblings in the conversation. When you do, don’t start with a sentence, “Mom, dad, sis, bro, I’m quitting my job. It’s sickening me.” You need to prepare them. Of course, when you leave your successful career, they will feel disappointed because you won’t earn anymore. Paranoia is in their heads. So, start talking about the severed problems at work before you open the “quitting” section of your “family speech.”
- Learn what to say when your friends’ ask about your decision. This will be a lot after quitting. Many of your friends will ask you same questions over and over again. Have in mind your probable answers to avoid the feeling of overwhelm. They will notice you’re stuttering if you’re not prepared.
- Fill tons of barrels of patience. Related to my previous point, you will feel overwhelm to their repeated questions from your friends, including your relatives. You’ll get annoyed with them. But never allow that annoyance overpower you. Remain calm when you answer them. Be logical as much as possible. They won’t understand when you tell them. At first. Later on, they’ll do. That’s what friends and family are for, right? If they still make you feel bad, guilty after doing the move though you’ve already explained to them your side, dump them. They’re toxic. Swear. I did the same, too.
- Start searching for your next chapter. Whether you’re searching for a new job or open a new business, it’s yours to choose what’d be your next chapter of your life. It might take you a lot of risk, but if you plan it well before you quit your current job, it’d be worth it. When you think about it, you need to consider the potential income with this decision. Never ever quit for the sake of passion. You need to earn from this passion.
- Build up enough savings. Don’t just file resignation without thinking your bills due for next month. You need to think about numbers. What do you need to pay i.e. electric bills, taxes, so on in the next few weeks and in the next months. Remember, when you leave your job NOW, it also means you only have your last pay. Other than that, none. You need to look for resources to pay the next set of payments with enough budget for your needs as well. If you’re not confident with your decision, hire a personal financial adviser.
- Finish what you started. This is an employer’s view on your quitting. When you decide to leave the job, comply what your company requires you. Make a clean slate when you joyously flee. I submitted my complete lesson plans for the whole school year, grade computation from my student activities records including the raw scores, test papers, and filer. I don’t owe them anything when I gave my sweet goodbye.
Quitting your current job is both stressful and exhilarating. However, if you came to the point where you don’t find that “spark” in your workplace, better get a life. Leave that job and start anew where you can find so much the world can offer you.
Knowing all these demands to prepare you before leaving the job, it’s up to you to weigh your decision. I’ve been there. It’s hard but it’s worth the while. It’s initially exasperating. You doubt, you fill yourself with so much disbelief whether your choice was okay or not.
Later on, you will salute yourself such huge and risky lifetime decision. You won’t regret that you did. Only if, you did a good planning. If you want to quit by next year, then start taking the action NOW.
Search for the purpose and the value of your straight As and suffer from the endless misery at work or find the real creative life you want and earn and make influence to the world?
This your gamble. Drive your own life.
Successful career over creativity.