I Did it Again: Confessions of a Serial Job Quitter

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Written by Conni Biesalski. Follow me on Twitter

(Read on if you want to know what this post and quitting your job has to do with snowboarding.)

 

Dear fellow non-conformist,

 

I’m writing to you, because I know you will understand. You see, not everyone does.

Here it goes.

I quit my job last week. Again.

January 31st is my last day. Again, another last day.

This is by far not the first job that I quit prematurely due to unhappiness (my resume is exceptionally long). Even non-conforming vagabonds need to make a living and sell their soul every once in a while.

With this one, I had a one-year contract.  I started it as an experiment when I came back to Germany in May this year. My partner and I decided to spend twelve months in awesome Berlin, a city I’ve always wanted to live in for a little while. I thought having a proper grown-up job for a bit could be interesting. I was wrong.

It is, however, the job I held for the longest time. By the time I leave, I will have managed to work for eight straight months. Impressive, I know.

Well, I have given up on the illusion that I can fulfil this crazy venture of sitting in an office for 40 hours a week. And it’s not even a bad job as such. My bosses and colleagues are cool, too.

But I’m sorry, job, our relationship is not working out. I’m breaking up with you. It’s not you, it’s me.

The experiment failed. I’m untethering.

Does this sound familiar to you? How do you know when it’s time to quit?

 

My Public Announcement

Having a job sucks. I’m giving up. This is it. No more jobs for me. I’m not doing it anymore, that’s it. No more employment contracts, where I give up my rights to:

  1. think and act the way I want.
  2. work at the time of day where I am most productive.
  3. get up without an alarm clock.
  4. do what I want with my 24 hours in a day.
  5. take a break when I want.
  6. go travel when I want.

No more. No more working for someone else. No more money making for someone else. No more limited income. No more time-based income. I’m out. Servus and goodbye.

Who invented all this anyway?

Do you feel restricted in your current job? If you don’t have one or are self-employed, how did you feel in your last job?

 

Want to Quit? 

I’ve gotten pretty good at quitting. You know the whole thing, where after a while (in my case, weeks or months, in yours maybe years?), you realise: “Fuck this, I need to get out, this needs to stop. I have to tell my boss.” And then it takes another while until you actually do it. But quitting is actually pretty simple and straight forward. Fear of quitting should be the last thing holding you back from the life you want.

Whatever process you went through to realise you need to leave your job, from then on, you need to start acting. You need to prepare to jump.

 

How to Prepare to Jump

Sit down and talk to a friend, your partner, a family member, whoever understands what you plan to do and why. Make a plan and discuss what you’re gonna say. My advice: Just be honest. To yourself and your boss. Don’t give stupid excuses of why you want to quit. Just say how it is. No hard feelings here. If you don’t tell the truth you won’t feel 100% good about it afterwards. If you tell it how it is, you walk away feeling amazing. Because you just stood up for yourself.

 

How to Jump

The best way to do it: Pull it off like a band aid. Don’t think.

When I go snowboarding, I always want to do it like the cool guys and jump over kickers and any bump in the snow. Every time I prepare myself to do it, I’m scared shitless. What if I fall? What if I look like an idiot? What if I hurt myself? The only way I can make myself jump is to stop thinking, hold my breath and just do it. Saying ‘Fuck it!’ fifty times in a row in my mind helps too.

The morning you go to work, have some good sex (with yourself or your partner, doesn’t matter) and listen to an amazing audio book or kick-ass music on the way to work. Basically, make yourself feel good and distract yourself as best as possible. When the time comes, try to sound as confident as you can. Let your boss know that your decision is final and give him the true reasons. When you leave work that day, go and celebrate with someone who gets it, who gets you. You need to celebrate. You just freed yourself. Go and get drunk, have a dance, smoke a spliff. The point is to let loose, relax and enjoy the victory.

You can also do it like Joey did:

And then?

I’d say find out what you want, what your dreams and passions are. Start planning to make them happen. (You will find a bit more on that here soon.)

When your last day at work has come and gone, don’t ever make the same mistake again. Protect yourself from getting a job you might want to quit again. Don’t be conventional.

//

So I’ve done this quite a few times now. Twice just this year actually. I’m probably not selling myself very well here many people might think. But that’s not the point. I have made a promise to myself and I’m doing it now publicly to never take up conventional employment ever again. Absolutely no need to sell myself under value anymore. No need to sell myself at all.

One exception: Working as a dive instructor does not fall into the category of conventional emlpyment. I love taking people under water and teach them the freedom of hanging out with the fish. It doesn’t compare to all the shit- and soul-kicking jobs I had to quit in the last 10 years. It’s not work, it’s my passion.

Come February 1st 2012: I’m flying solo.

What’s next you’re asking? Stay tuned – updates will follow. (Good reason to sign up to my newsletter!!)

How long have you been in your current job? When was the last time you quit a job? How did that go? Are you planning to leave your current one? Leave some answers in the comments!

//

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11 Responses to I Did it Again: Confessions of a Serial Job Quitter

  1. Tom Ewer says:

    Hey Conni,

    You don’t need to sell me on this ;-)

    But yeah, as per the general gist of your post, life is too damned short to be stuck doing something that you don’t really want to be doing.

    It took me five years to wake up and say to myself, “Hang on – do I really want to be employed, or do I want to be in control of my own destiny?”

    It’s funny how society brainwashes us to think and behave in certain ways, often without question.

    Cheers,

    Tom

    • Conni says:

      Haha I know, Tom ;)

      Yes, brainwashing is the key word. The more I think about it the crazier it occurs to me that we are victims of our own society and its norms.

      I do feel like more and more people are waking up, and it is very inspiring and hopefully a good sign that things are changing in the right direction sustainably.

      High five to job quitters!

  2. Alexis Grant says:

    You go, girl!

    I’ve quit twice — once in 2008, when I was working at the Houston Chronicle, to travel in Africa, and second just a few months ago, left my job at U.S. News to pursue my own business. It’s the best decision I could’ve made — I’m FREE! But. Sometimes when I advocate this route, I fail to emphasize that you have to PREPARE to take these leaps. Income isn’t going to find its way to your bank account unless you create it… And it’s not a good idea to up and quit your job without a plan.

    • Conni says:

      Belated congrats, Alexis! :) Another free soul! (and a very successful one, too!)

      And thanks for stopping by!

      Yes, absolutely, quitting without a plan is useless. (Although, we actually have a pretty good social net here in Germany, which would allow you to do it anyway – a route I wouldn’t advocate though) Even if you don’t have a plan by the time you quit and you are too desperate to keep going, have some money in the bank to fall back on!

  3. justin says:

    Just yesterday I was told by a job placement agency that they couldn’t help me find work because there are several jobs in my history that I’ve held for fewer than three years.

    ‘Course, if they’d made it worth my time, I’d have stuck around.

    Good luck, kid. You can do it.

    • Conni says:

      Wow, that’s a statement coming from a job placement agency. I hope whatever it is that makes you happy won’t rely on their help. But they probably couldn’t make you happy anyway.

      Good luck to you too, Justin. All the best.

  4. RoBi says:

    brave new world :)

  5. Nikoya says:

    Best wishes on your ventures! I’ve been there & it’s well worth the dive.

  6. Mary says:

    Wow reading this made me smile a lot. I recognized myself. I quit so many jobs for the past 6 years that I don’t even put them all in my cv because it would look really bad. I became so good at getting jobs as I know job’s interview questions by heart and I know how to respond to them the ”right way”. Yes, that’s right I became a good lyer. I became good at getting jobs and at quitting them also. I must say, it is always a realease when I quit. But it’s stressful for my bank account. So the pattern goes again. I must find a job I hate and work there at least for 6 months… The longest I kept a job was 10 months.

    Thing is, I don’t know what I like to do. I like doing music but I know I couldn’t live by it. I like the art world a lot but I feel I don’t have any particular talents. So i’m stuck up doing a new job every 5 or 6 months (that is if I’m in need a big cheque) otherwise I only keep a job for weeks lol.

    I’m on my way to find my true passion in life, i’m sure :) Well, great blog! I really liked it! It has inspired me a lot and made me feel better with myself. I realize i’m not the only non-conventional person out here. It feels great to see that some people go through the same things and understand what is like to not be able to ”fit” in.

    Thanks for sharing Conni!

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