Today, I quit my job without warning. Woah. Yea. It began as a “normal” day. I woke up at 3:55am in a panic. There was an ache in my chest from the anxiety that had become so common. WorkWorkWork. A big meeting today. Actaully, a day FULL of meetings, and a to-do list already way too long to get anything done for those meetings. It was Monday morning, and yet I’d still be questioned why certain things weren’t done. Nevermind that I’d taken my laptop home over the weekend and worked, or that the parking lot was empty when I arrived at 5:15am. There just wasn’t enough time.
The ache. The ache that I wasn’t saying good morning to my husband or my toddler. The ache in my lower back from our second baby who would be here in only a month. The ache in my chest from the paper I’d missed a deadline for in my one class. The ache from the assignment I turned in knowing it “wasn’t my best” but hoping for a B because I ran out of time. The ache from knowing that I had forgotten to check my work calendar before scheduling my doctor’s appointment that was today and of course now there was a meeting when I needed to go. The ache that my manager and others would make comments about me “leaving early,” while not caring I’d worked over the weekend or been the first one into the office by over an hour. The ache of knowing I would leave at the last possible minute and arrive a few minutes late to my doctor’s appointment. The ache that I would disappoint everyone today in some way. Again. That ache was the worst. The truth is though, it wasn’t just an “ache” anymore. It had become sleepless nights, shortness of breath (that deep down I knew wasn’t because of pregnancy), overeating, yelling and nagging at my family, and a whole slew of other nasty things including a panic attack two nights prior. It had been months, if not years since I felt like “me.” I had driven nearly everyone in my life away, for what? For the sake of “doing it all.”
As a lifetime “overachiever,” I was used to juggling a hectic schedule. In fact, in many wasy I had thrived on this kind of adrenaline. The always busy, ready for anything mentality had gotten me through life thus far. So why was “doing it all” so hard right now? In the past, I had always worn a lot of hats, but today I came to the realization that each of those hats was “part time.” Those hats were very compartmentalized and allowed me to work out my schedule almost to the minute. When the time for one hat was up, I could take it off and replace it with another. That wasn’t the case anymore. Now, the hats all demanded they be on at once. All drained the life and energy out of me. All took time and happiness from me. Until there was nothing left. But, the overachiever in my kept on tugging. I had a boss who thought 60hrs a week wasn’t enough, MBA classes that needed focus (and time, which was much more difficult), a husband who was rightfully upset that I couldn’t pay attention to him, a toddler who oh-so-innocently would ask, “Mommy busy? Mommy too tired?,” and an overwhelming desire to just sleep and shut out everyone who needed more from me. I kept going until every ounce of joy was gone in my life. My husband would text me at work. Guilt. I would get emails and phone calls from daycare. Guilt. Texts and calls from coworkers would come in constantly during the evenings and on weekends. Guilt. Emails from MBA group members and a never-ending sense of disappointment at anything done for myself. How dare I spend any time doing anything for myself without worrying about at least three other things I was missing. And I mean anything. Even a shower. Until today.
All I know is that when you try to do it all for too long, your body reminds you that it isn’t possible. I’ve read this in other self-help books, but naievely thought I would somehow be immune. Having a panic-attack-turned-asthma-attack on Saturday night really scared me. And when I woke up this morning with my chest still tight, I knew there was trouble. I got to work and after working about an hour and a half, I threw up pure stomach acid. My body was in fight-or-flight mode, and I guess that means I chose flight. My husband was still upset with me for not giving him enough attention, and he was correct in saying I needed to quit RIGHT NOW. So I did. At this point, I was honestly worried that I’d end up in the hospital or go into early labor. 8 “working” days (so actually 10 FULL days) away from 6 weeks of paid maternity leave, and I knew that I wouldn’t make it. So I quit anyways.
Also, to be clear, I worked my tail off at that job. I did everything I could, to the detriment of my family life and my personal health (both of which I tremendously regret). I was doing well. My job paid well. Really well actually. I got a raise a week ago and was one of only four people in my group to have earned one (which my manager announced to our entire team, in case anyone was curious about the workplace culture). Money is what got me to take this job, but it wasn’t enough to keep me when I felt I was losing everything else.
How I Actually Quit My Job Without Warning in Six Steps
Admittedly, putting in two weeks notice would’ve been professional. I had nearly quit a month before, but convinced myself that I could make it until maternity leave. At this point, if I put in my two weeks notice, I would be working the same timeline, and that wasn’t an option right now. So this is exactly what I did once the decision was made. Keep in mind, I’m no career expert. This is just what I did. I’d recommend you listen better to the deep down gut feeling earlier on. I shut out that voice a month ago that would’ve let me have a more professional exit. These were the 6 steps I took on How I Quit My Job Without Warning.
- Removed any personal files from my work computer. There weren’t many but at least one had my social security # on it. Could IT get it back? I’m sure they could, but it makde me feel better.
- Cleaned out my desk/office. I had a pretty big office, but it was kept in okay order. Remember how I said I’d almost quit a month before? Yea…that meant there wasn’t as much to do (phew).
- Wrote an “effective immediately” resignation letter. It was addressed to the HR manager and my boss, and left it quite simply that my reasoning was for “medical and family reasons.” I did apologize for the short notice, but didn’t offer up much more than that.
- Filled out a company “employee termination form” and signed it. I found it on our corporate website. I worked at a small company within a major corporation so I figured better safe.
- Put everything into my car so all I would need to turn in was my letter, form, and badge.
- Asked the HR manager for a minute, gave her the items mentioned, talked briefly, and left. That’s it.
The reaction the HR manager gave on how I quit my job with no warning suprised me. I knew morale at my work was at an overall low, but her reaction let me know immediately that I had made the right decision. In truth, had I not been pregnant I would’ve quit at least six months ago. But fearing instability with another baby on the way kept me in a job that was killing me. The reaction my HR manager gave though was quite telling. When I said, “I need to resign, effective immediately,” she responded with, “I understand, come in and we can talk a minute.” She asked a couple of questions if it was more family based and I left my answers pretty generic. I could’ve sat there for hours and dissected everything, but then I might have been convinced to stay. The HR Manager told me to call her if I needed anything, that she was sorry, she understood, and gave me a hug goodbye. She understood. I knew she meant what she was saying. She worked in the office next to me and saw how worn down I’d gotten. Maybe she was so kind upfront because she is HR, but I expected at least some hostility. Nope. I honestly felt like she was cheering for me as I was walking out the door. I am not the only one to have quit recently, but I am probably the only one who did quit without warning.
Note, I didn’t tell My Boss
I only told the HR manager before walking out. Most sources say not to do this, but here’s why I did. My manager had made it very clear over the past year that it really didn’t matter what I did. It would never be enough. If I gave an inch, next time it better be a mile. In fact, at our last performance review he seemed shocked by all of the work I actaully do. There were SO many things he didn’t have planned for my maternity leave, because he didn’t know what I did! He was a “check off the boxes” kind of manager who would feign support but really never help anything. And he threw me under the bus more times that I can count. In reality, quitting without notice would likely burn a professional bridge. I was aware of that. So why put myself through more misery of getting yelled at and disrespected by my boss on top of that? It wasn’t worth it to me. He was not worth my time in this case. Staying an extra hour to discuss would’ve left me feeling more guilty and still not changing anyone’s opinion.
Will I Regret This? I Sincercely Doubt It.
And so, here I sit. It’s still been under 12 hours, but the tightness in my chest is gone. I feel like I can actually think and function without being in a perpetual state of terror. I mentioned “fight or flight” earlier and the reality is that I’ve been in fight or flight mode for months. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy, and I’m excited for the next chapter of my professional life. After all, don’t most successful self-help books include some admission of beign fired or quitting? Here’s to a new beginning. I will not say I “for sure” won’t regret it. Never say never. While this decision sounds impulsive, I would’ve been job hunting several months ago if it weren’t for the promise of paid maternity leave. Thankfully, I will say that I am fine as far as health insurance, have a LOT of $ in my HSA, and we have a good emergency fund saved (we are on “Baby Steps” 4/5/6 of Dave Ramsey’s plan from Total Money Makeover).
Honestly, more content. I love writing. I have for a long time. This website has been a hobby. There is a little traffic, but admittedly I’ve put very little time into it. My social media (especially Instagram – link!) feeds have taken a nosedive for lack of time. The lack of effort is clear, but now I have a bit more time to devote though. You might see more ads on this site, I’m not quite sure yet, but I want to focus on monetizing to some extent. Additionally, I may also write freelance. While I don’t mention it, I have written a few pieces freelance (anonymously) before. The real answer though is that I will likely take off a traditional job until December when my MBA is complete. I cannot put myself through a full time job, mommyhood (especially with two!), and my MBA while trying to live life as a human. Here is to the next adventure.