I Quit my Job!

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes  by Lacey Flynn

I quit my job!!!!

This statement is both exciting and slightly terrifying at the same time.

It’s slightly terrifying because I don’t have another job to go to.  So I am jumping off the cliff not knowing if there is going to be some soft brush below to catch my fall.

I guess we should start from the beginning though.

I started working as an accounting technician four years and three months ago and ever since I stepped foot on the grounds of my workplace, I have wanted to leave.  Don’t get me wrong, my job is stable, has excellent benefits and pays enough (along with my husband’s job) to afford us a really nice life.  The only thing about the job is that I hate it.  I call it glorified data entry.  That is nothing against people who do data entry but for me; this position is boring, mundane, and tedious and doesn’t challenge me in the least bit.  I have given it four years to see if it would change or get better but as I stayed, it only got worse.  The environment, the people, the tasks all continued to become more and more of a frustration.

Along with the deterioration of my job, other things in my life happened.  My mother found out that she had lung cancer.  She had surgery and chemo therapy and is doing fine now but that was a pretty big scare in mine and my family’s life.  Also, about a month and a half ago, my husband and I discovered minimalism.  These two things significantly changed the way I viewed the world.

As far as my mother’s cancer goes, it was a wake up call that anything can happen and life can change in an instant and you can suddenly be faced with your own mortality.  When this happened to our family, I thought about what I would say about my life if I died today.  Would I be happy with what I had accomplished or have done with my life?  I knew in some ways the answer would be yes.  I feel like I am a good person.  I help others when they need it and I have often been told that I am the kind of person that no one can say anything bad about (not to toot my own horn).  I married my best friend!  I have a strong work ethic thanks to my parents.  I went to college and graduated magna cum laude.  I got a good job that I work hard to make sure is done well.  So, I have done a lot of great things in my life so far but there have been a lot of things that I haven’t done because I was busy doing the things people have told me I should do.

So, about 2 months ago, I started talking to my husband and telling him about all of the things I was thinking and asked what he thought about me quitting my job.  He, being the amazing husband that he is, told me go ahead.  He didn’t want me to be unhappy any more than I wanted me to be unhappy.   So, right then and there, I decided that I would quit.

Now, I know what you are thinking.  Lacey, you have a dual income home; you can totally do this because your husband makes a lot of money and can support you both.  That is totally true. I am not telling anyone else to go and quit their job.  I am just telling you what I decided to do.  And so far, it feels like the best decision of my life (other than getting married).  I know too that this is the start of my new journey so I can’t reflect and tell you how it is going but so far it feels really good!

After my decision to quit my job, it just so happened that I stumbled upon the concept of minimalism.  I don’t even remember how I got there but I ended up at www.becomingminimalist.com website and couldn’t put the computer down.  I read several of the posts and then linked to other sites and started doing research on the concept.  Then I told my husband about it.  Everything that I read just made sense to me.  It seemed like this was where our life was going.  We should do this.

So, at this point, we are selling our stuff, selling our house and trying to figure things out.  My long term goal is to be able to open up my own wedding venue.  I do need to find something in the interim but I feel free to be able to find something that I will actually enjoy every day.  My wish for my husband is that we can cut down enough that he can leave his job and really pursue his passions.

So, it’s scary in the way that anything could happen and we could be one disaster away from being homeless but that could happen to anyone at any time.  It is exciting in the way that it is a new beginning!  It is a new opportunity to change my life into what I really want it to be.  Although, I am still currently trying to discover exactly what that is.  The one thing I do know though is that I am confident that everything will work out because I have a partner standing next to me, holding my hand, ready to jump off the cliff as well and together we can do anything!

I guess what I am offering really are words of encouragement to those who want to change their life.  Sell a lot of your stuff, pare down and really change the framework of your mind about how much you really need in this life.  Like people always say, you can’t take it with you.  So forget about working for things and work for experiences.  And really, a lot of those experiences are free.  So, spend your time living those experiences instead of working until you can retire and finally live your life.  If you do that, you may find that you don’t have time left to actually live it.  Know too that I am not an expert and I am just starting my journey but it starts with that first step.

I am taking that first step!

 

So what are your thoughts? Have you ever left someplace that made you miserable? Are you chasing your dreams? Share it in the comment section below!

Cell Phones – Helping or hurting our relationships?

Today we live in a world of instant communication. It’s marvelous to think that I can post an update to facebook, on my android phone, while checking out at the grocery store, and it could be read by millions of people all around the world in seconds!

(C’mon Brian…you mean it could be read by dozens three people who live down the road from you)

Hey now…just because I don’t have the facebook following that Leo Babauta does, doesn’t mean people don’t care about the awesome deal I scored on fresh arugula at the market!

(Fresh arugula? I don’t even think those three neighbors will be your facebook friends after this…)

But they say everyone might have to be vegetarian by 2050??…..Ah…you might be right. Point taken.

Cell phones, email, and social networking were supposed to make it easier to communicate with one another but why does it seem like it is actually making personal conversations worse?

I am guilty of it. I might even make the top 100 list. Out to dinner with my wife and some friends and my phone vibrates…Oh, an email from Dave…oh let me respond real quick. Oh I have ten twitter updates, I wonder whats going on..it will only take a moment. Eight new status updates on facebook!? I’ve GOT to check those out!

Before I know it five minutes has past and I missed an entire conversation. The wife is giving me the “Your going to sleep on the couch tonight for embarrassing me” look.

It’s like second nature to most of us these days. We are not being present with others, we are being rude. Then when we try to have a personal conversation we find it hard to talk in full sentences or for extended periods of time.

The more ‘connected’ we become electronically, the less connected we become physically. 

I was reading “10 Simple Steps to Make the Most Out of Every Day” by Joshua Becker of ‘Becoming Minimalist’ and one of his points really stood out to me.

  • Be present with others. Put away distractions. Engage in conversation. Ask questions. Give time for answers. And look people in the eye when you do. Their eyes reveal far more than their words.

I took a moment to do some social reflection on this:

Be present with others. How often are we truly present when out with friends? Every where you look people are talking on their cell phones, sending text messages, or updating their ‘hot or not‘ profile.

(Hot or Not? Really? Nobody has used that site since 1998…)

Um….yeah…you’re right….I ummm never go on there…. :-/

Put away distractions: While talking with my friend Mike, he told me about an observation paper he had recently written for his P.H.D. program. He visited the local P.F. Changs and asked for a corner table. From his table he spent the next hour just observing the crowd and how they interacted with one another. By his count, 65% of the dinners who were eating with one or more people, were observed also using their phones while having dinner. 65% of the people were in essence saying that, while I’m here with you, your really not as important as whatever I”m doing on this phone.

Engage in the conversation: I have been in plenty of conversations where I am there physically but mentally I have been checked out by the fifth word. This is usually the case when my boss calls a meeting to discuss planning another meeting or talk about our last meeting (I swear 90% of office meetings are spent talking about other meetings)  or my wife (the other boss) is giving me a list of tasks it would be wise for me to do. ie dishes, laundry, cook dinner (just kidding…I am ALWAYS engaged when my wife is talking with me!! :-p )

Look people in the eye when talking: I have noticed that people are hesitant to look people in the eyes these days. No matter if it is in a conversation or just walking down the street. I am aware that in some countries it is actually disrespectful to look someone in the eyes but this is not the case here in the United States. It is a sign of respect and shows that you are actively listening and allows you to ‘hear’ what they are saying. Not just with their words but with their expressions. In this research paper, and just about any other psychology study, you will find that studies show 93% of our communication is non-verbal and only 7% is the actual words we say. While speaking/listening to someone speak, you will understand each other best by looking one another in the eye while conversing.

As I mentioned, I am just as guilty as anyone of doing this. Checking sports scores, updating status, or texting, but I have come up with some simple tips to help us break the habbits and help strengthen our relationships and truly be present:

  1. Make a schedule for checking messages. 8:00am, 12:00pm, & 6:00pm. This will not only help us break away from our electronic leashes but will also allow us to be more productive by removing the constant interruptions throughout the day.
  2. When out to dinner with friends or family, use this time to have fun with your phones. Not by talking and playing on them but instead do the following:
  3. As soon as you get your table, let your party members know that you want everyone to be present for dinner so this means no cell phones. Have everyone stack their phones in the center of the table and whomever touches their phone first must buy a round of drinks (an appetizer would work as well)
  4. Instead of killing time on your phone while waiting in line or at the coffee shop, why not take this opportunity to network. Make it a point every day to say hello to five strangers and try to strike up a conversation with one of them. You will be amazed at how good this makes you feel and who you might actually meet while doing this!

So what do you think? Are cell phones hurting our relationships with one another? Do you have any stories of someone (or yourself) who was typing away on their phone instead of being present in a conversation? Tell us about it in the comment section below!