I’m a big believer in quitting. To me, if I’m choosing to do something that doesn’t make me happy, then why would I continue? To many, this comes off as spoiled, idealistic or perhaps selfish. I prefer to think of it as proactive. Why stay in a situation and complain when I can do something about it?
I’ve quit unhealthy relationships, toxic friendships and a collegiate lacrosse team that just stopped being fun–and isn’t fun the whole point of recreational sports? I’ve also quit jobs: bagging groceries at a grocery store when I moved away to college, making sandwiches after constantly being scheduled to work when I had class, and most recently, a position that kept me in a cubicle all day.
I recently read an article in Marie Claire about the career burnout Generation Y is experiencing. According to the article, “Gen Yers are ditching the corporate world to launch their own businesses (or work for themselves) at a much faster rate than their Gen X predecessors.” The main complaint of the millennials? Careers that impinge upon their personal lives.
Apparently I’m not the only one who is OK with quitting. Gen Yers value a healthy balance among work, play and civic service. We also want to be empowered and engaged, to feel as if the work we do makes a difference. We’re willing to leave behind a job that just doesn’t do it for us, with the idealistic hope that we can find a position that fulfills something within us and the world.
I’ve never been willing to accept that I need to give up my life and my individuality to be successful. I work extremely hard to produce quality work efficiently, whether it be a college paper, a press release or a blog post. I’ve never aspired to work 12-hour days in order to buy a show-offy designer purse, take a rush-cation to Vegas, or just stockpile money in the bank.
It’s reassuring to know that I’m not the only one who is willing to quit the lifestyle that society accepts for something a bit riskier. Career breaking is common among travel bloggers, while others opt for the more lucrative digital nomad lifestyle. Are we quitting because we can’t handle the pressures of a successful career, as the term burnout implies? Or are we simply fusing our passions and talents to create a satisfying work-life balance? I prefer to think that we’re doing the latter.
Tim Ferriss put it extremely well in The Four-Hour Workweek: the point isn’t to have a million dollars in the bank. The point should be to live a life that you enjoy.