I quit my job as an Emergency nurse job this month.
If you're here, you probably have your reasons why you want to quit your job. Whatever your reason is, it can be hard to know when to leap. After all, social media glamorizes the world of entrepreneurship.
For the record, I planned to quit my job exactly one year ago. I knew to my core that I wasn't going to stay in my job because I felt disrespected and undervalued. Hello, the great resignation. I went into nursing to help people, but I didn't feel fulfilled in the end.
After a year of ups and downs, I finally had the courage to take this scary world of the unknown.
Here's what helped me decide to quit, divided into positive and negative signs.
The Negative Signs
Your body is talking to you, but you're unaware of it
When I was a new nurse, I remember feeling excited.
I remember going to work, looking forward to the things I was going to learn that day. A year into the job, that excitement slowly faded away. You could say that I learned most things I had to learn on the job.
Even though I wanted to be making around $5k/month on my side hustle before I quit my job, I couldn't wait.
In the past couple of months, I was counting every single minute I was there. Even though I was working in a fast-paced environment, it still felt like I was there forever. I felt anxious before and while at work.
According to the Toronto Psychologists blog, "when our body is speaking, we frequently dismiss the messages being transmitted because we don't know how to interpret these signs. As a result, we let emotions go unresolved and remain unchecked, which allows energy to stay trapped in the body."
This energy can manifest as distress, anxiety or nervousness in our body. When you feel something new that you haven't before, it's essential to pay attention to that.
It's your body signalling you what you need to do.
You're crying or more emotional more than usual
First of all, you shouldn't be crying in your job.
But unfortunately, in the nursing industry, it's pretty common for nurses to cry. In the last two years I worked in the emergency department, I cried twice during my shifts. On both of these occasions, I felt disrespected as a nurse and a human being, and crying was the only reaction I could let out.
In the last six months, I would cry every month or so.
And the weeks leading up to my resignation, I was crying every time I came home. I've worked in awful jobs before, but I never cried. I like to believe that I'm mentally strong, so I knew that this job was affecting my mental health, and it was a red flag that I needed to leave.
If you're more emotional than usual, it helps to explore why you're feeling that way.
Maybe you were able to tolerate your job before, or maybe you're indifferent. But sometimes, crying is the soul's language of being fed up. It can show up as anger or hating other people.
"Crying signals to yourself and other people that there's some important problem that is at least temporarily beyond your ability to cope," says Jonathan Rottenberg, an emotion researcher and professor of psychology at the University of South Florida, as cited in a Time article.
If you don't pay attention to these feelings, they may rot and eventually make you a person you no longer recognize.
You're bringing your distress at home
I've had multiple fights with my partner because of how fed I was up at work.
I've been pretty good at separating my work emotions from my life for the last two years. As soon as I left the hospital, I no longer thought about work. But when I'd fight with my partner because of "stress," I had to reflect exactly on what was stressing me out.
I didn't realize how burnt I was from going to work.
Job burnout is "a response to excessive and prolonged work-related stress characterized by exhaustion, negative or cynical feelings about one's work and being less engaged and less effective at the job as a result," according to WHO.
Even though I was only working part-time, I'd bring the emotional distress from the job on my days off. I'd also procrastinate on my side hustle, avoid the gym, and etc.
Before quitting, I spent a lot of time working on myself.
I did all the self-help hacks out there: changing your perspective, positive thinking, journaling, meditating, yoga and spent a lot of writing.
If your mental health doesn't improve after working on yourself, it may be safe to say that you're not the problem, but the workplace is.
The Positive Signs
You have a backup plan, like any plan
I was confident in quitting my job because I made a plan exactly a year ago.
I knew I wanted to leave, but I didn't know how to make it happen. After six months of learning the ropes of writing, I decided to freelance and loved it. I love the freedom that comes with it and the choice to work with the people you want to work with.
It has many downsides, like instability and uncertainty, but it gave me the skills I need to make money if needed.
Also, I plan to do travel nursing. When I was in nursing school, I've always loved the thought of doing travel nursing. Even though I didn't like the environment I was in, I still love being a nurse. I hope that travel nursing will help me find what I'm looking for in a career, even temporarily.
If you don't have a backup plan, start making a plan right now.
I'm all about taking leaps, but while you figure out your life purpose, it's essential to have a backup plan for your sanity's sake.
Your future will thank you for it as you learn to take a chance on yourself.
You have a money cushion to fall back on
If you don't have any savings at all, please don't quit your job.
I'm in a very fortunate situation where I'm living with my husband, who happens to love his 9 - 5 job, and I'm making good enough with freelancing. And after calculating our numbers, we decided that it was safe for me to leave my job.
Six months' worth of savings is a lot of money, but this was the magic number I was willing to leave my comfort zone for. I may not know where my next paycheque will come from, but I'll know I can cover it with my savings if I need to.
Figure out how much you need to live monthly, cut out all the expenditures you don't need, then save up the rest of your money.
You have trust in yourself
You've got to have your own back for this whole leap of faith thing to work.
No matter what you do in life, whether you want to start your own business, change a career path, or even stay in your job, you've got to be able to trust yourself.
One of the things that helped me decide was that I knew that I'd be okay no matter what.
If I decided to ask for my old back job tomorrow, I'd still be good with myself. Even if I stopped nursing altogether and did freelancing forever, I'd still have my own back.
Sometimes, having your own back is all you need.
If you don't have faith in yourself, it will be a challenging journey to go through. So start cultivating that trust with yourself because you won't be able to find it anywhere else.
If you want to be successful in life, it starts with building a solid relationship with yourself.
I've talked to at least ten people before making this leap.
But deep down, I knew I had to do. And if you're reading this, you know what you need to do, but you want to know other peoples' experiences. Regardless of what your decision might be, I hope you find the courage to trust what your gut tells you to do and be okay with the consequence no matter what.
In the end, you only have yourself.
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