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I quit my job at 31 to take a break without a plan B. Is that really a bad idea? NO.

“I am sitting in my room in my Pajamas, sipping on my strong cup of hot coffee, at 3 o clock in the afternoon, with no plans, no pending files, no meetings and no classes to plan for. The maid came at 6:30 AM did her job, the house is shining clean, laundry is done, breakfast and lunch was prepared on time, and I have a list of other house chores I might finish later with a Netflix and chill date with myself to end my day.” – This is my recovery phase and I might repeat this routine for as many days as I want, because I think everyone deserves a break post quitting.

Before you read further, here is a disclaimer: This is a unisex post. Because today, quitting your job is really a unisex idea as well. No more do we live in a world where boys go for work, and girls become homemakers. Today, the burn out from a hectic job is equal for both the sexes and so is the need for a true work life balance. So even though I am writing this post from my perspective, a girl’s perspective really, I would still appreciate if men would relate to it too.

I finished my higher education in 2010, right after my undergrad. I didn’t take a break in between, so by the time in was 21 – I was done with my post grad as well. I started working immediately after, and have been working since – some really long and tiring jobs, and some short gigs that lasted from 6 months to a year or two. Looking back at my 10 years of professional profile – I feel I did really well. Studied in three different countries, and worked in some prime companies in my niche field, bagging some insanely cool experiences. No complaints there.

To confess, I have always been a workaholic. I loved the rush of new projects, and long hours of work that lead to an even tiring night. I, for a really long time in my life connected the idea of being successful in my career to having a fancy yet stressful, and demanding job. On top of that were days of comparisons and influences that came from my peers – who would spend hours in their office and talk about how they manage home, and their married life along with their hectic office chores. Growing up I too thought – this was the idea of a perfectly successful life. Work-life-balance as we call it in our modern day. Just that: we get it wrong most of the times.

I am 31 years old now, and I already feel I have burned out faster than I imagined. I look at Mr. H, and he feels burned out too at 35. Yes, this is a millennial problem because when my mom was 31 – she was raising two kids, and rocking a joint family. Honestly, I can’t seem to manage even one third of that today.

I am working most of my days, and when I am not – I am cooking, struggling to keep my house together and living like a zombie half asleep, with pain in my body, and days of insomnia in my eyes. Going to the parlor or getting a simple haircut is like a project for me. Dressing up feels like a punishment on the only weekends I get. – And for a really long time I thought this was the perfect life balance, and that’s how ambitious girls my age should work it. But now, I doubt it.

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To all the ladies out there who take care of their homes – it’s a full time job! And cheers to you doing it well! 🍻 😥✌️ • • Growing up I thought my mother wasn’t doing enough sitting at home, doing daily chores and just raising us and keeping the house together. I wondered if women in their time were ambitious enough?! I was soooo wrong. 😩 – Now that I am taking a break and really staying in my house enough to look around – I realise running a house is like running a company of your own. It’s not only a 9-5 job, but it’s a 24 hour run. The chores never seem to end and it’s surprising to notice a real ‘home’ needs a lot of more attention than we really give it. Just a week of tiding up has been such an eye opener. 😳🤭 • • I guess I was looking for a #slowlife for a while, but it ain’t that slow! 🤔 • • #lifehacks #pondicherry #pondy #southindia #beachtown #frenchcolonial #frencharchitecture #yellow #succulents #cactus #christmastree #weekendvibes #weekendtrip #allthingsfrench #streettrotter #photobystreettrotter #slowlife #slowliving #bangaloreblogger #yellowwalls #vintage #vintagevibes #puducherry #lifequotes #yellowwall #graffiti #grafittiart #streetart

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Then there was also the much needed paycheck – always. With time I realized, a monthly salary is really more than a happy-salary-day today. It’s an addiction, because I needed it to pay my bills, pay our rent, and to even afford the lifestyle that I had designed around that paycheck. I was willing to slog for it, crunch extra hours for it, and even go beyond what I can achieve, for it. In the end I became its slave and then you can’t let it go. Yes, its scary. And that is also why the very idea to quit that job that was slowly killing me – became even scarier. This was my life, until now.

But on the contrary there were also some horrifying statistics that the curious me was reading often. According to the world health data, more and more millennials are killing themselves in stressful jobs everyday. I too realized I was just another one of them.

As of May, 2019, ‘burnout’ has officially been recognized by the World Health Organization and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) as an “occupational phenomenon” – with the possibility of it being proclaimed a proper disease in the future. There are currently further research looking to provide additional information about burnout and distinguish it from other conditions.

Yes. Really. 

Therefore months of diving into all the above personal and wellness chaos: I decided to take the leap, quit and move on anyways. I knew I could not take it anymore, neither my body or sanity could. And the worst was I didn’t have a backup plan. I still don’t.

But when I finally decided on it – something in the universe surprisingly changed. For the good.  I started meeting people who didn’t find my decision crazy at all, and even supported me in my move assuring me it was just fine. I started reading the right kind of inspirational stories, and people starting over with a burnout recovery. I also figured that much of my worry about that perfect profile, that perfect job and a success story was self-imposed and people really don’t care if you are rich or poor, or if you are a almost-broke freelancer, a frugal traveler or just a happy homemaker.

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Friday night market prepping 💪🏼 To be honest, vending at weekend craft markets is really tiring – between prep, transit, setup, the market itself, and breakdown, you’re looking at back-to-back 12-hour days, with no guarantee of who will come by or what you’ll sell. But the reason I do them is exactly because of who comes by – it’s my only chance to see people’s faces as they read the cards, to hear a bit of what’s going on their lives and what they’re needing cards for – it’s a chance to not only sell cards, but to use them as a jumping off point for bigger, better conversations. Which is something that I think we all need these days. All that to say, Kwohtations will be at @fadmarket at @citypointbklyn this weekend Sat + Sun from 11AM-7PM. I do hope you’ll come by. ❤️

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Truth is, the world is not only about successful people, but it is divided into two kinds of people really – the ones who slog; and the ones who choose NOT to slog and take breaks. This is the new world we are building for ourselves, and once you enter it – it is really not that lonely and is filled with happy people.

Honestly, things do pan out. Finances work out. Even your fears wear off. And you open yourself to a world full of options again. The best part of not having a plan B is – you take a break and sit on a new plan from the scratch. You look at your opportunities differently and start letting go of the negativity that was stopping you to grow. Wise men often said – “If you don’t like your job, QUIT.” And at this very moment I knew they were not all doped out while they said it.

So here is my quick guide to help you make the decision and all that comes before and after it: 

  • Don’t take advice from people who will convince you otherwise. Trust your gut and quit.
  • Give yourself enough time to think in and out of your decision to quit. When you are sure it’s not just a phase, drop out of it.
  • Do not prolong quitting any further, if you are already sure of it. Protect your wild-spirit.
  • Do not look for the plan B hysterically. It’s okay if you don’t have one.
  • Stop being apologetic about your move to quit. Trust your decision.
  • Throw tantrums, and cry out your stress post quitting. People who love you will understand and stay. Take your time.
  • Give yourself a couple of weeks to recover from your burnout. Be it by watching back to back Netflix or going for a vacation – all is okay.
  • Look at your newer opportunities with a new lens. Try out things which you didn’t know were up your alley. Shop around for jobs. If you are good enough, you will find something happier sooner or later.
  • Freelance if you can. Extra cash is always good. 
  • Do not go back to your old job like a rebound. Give it enough time after you quit and a couple of gigs in between before you think of going back to it again. Don’t fall prey to emotions or attachments with your old job.
  • Chasing a new career path altogether is also okay. Try new things.
  • If you don’t want to work at all again or start something of your own that matters – take the leap. Experiment.

 

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Leaving a full time job, I thought I will have more time on my hands. Instead, I realised chasing your dreams is a harder job instead, with streettrotter making me slog more than what a 9 to 6 job ever felt like. The weather hasn’t been kind too in Delhi, which makes me only believe that be it sun or rain – you gotta do what you gotta do. 😎 – This weekend we went to photo shoot the Gazipur Phool Mandi, one of the biggest flower trade markets of India. The business starts at 4 AM sharp everyday – 7 days a working week; and a flower vendors day is over by 6 30 AM. A rainy day in the phool Mandi means thousands lost is revenue as the flowers don’t sell when they get wet and spoiled. • • The Mandi is a place of beautiful chaos – with the most exotic flowers spread all over running an entire economic industry – a beauty that only a business journalist can decipher. More on the Phool Mandi soon – Stay tuned. • • Photo by @dwaipayandhawa 📸 • • #morningmotivation #morninginspiration #flowermarket #flowerstagram #gazipur #indiamarkets #streetmarket #flowershop #trade #streetphotography #streetstyle #photobystreettrotter #photoblog #photography #delhi #delhigram #delhidiaries #delhimarket #homegrown #localbusiness #locallove #inmyneighborhood #travelblogger #travelblog #gazipurphoolmandi #phool #flowers #flowerman #flowerseller #streettrotter

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STREETTROTTER

StreetTrotter is a Travel, Culture & Lifestyle blog, inspiring people everyday with real stories to look good and travel even better. Founded in 2012 by Shraddha Gupta, Founder & COO, this space is all about experiencing new things in life, be it a daring mountain trek, a frugal backpacking trip, a runway look made local, or simply anything that scares you enough to live a little more deeper.

  1. AJM says:

    Glad that it worked for you. I know people this has gone terribly wrong for. Despite the mindset shift owing to the entire millenial phenomenon, the proportion of people this actually works for is quite low, based on my understanding. Being able to pay one’s bills and keeping one’s family together are still crucial, I would think. Even though the idea presents a lot of romanticism and exuberance, people should think a hundred times before making decisions like these. The urge to make these decisions are a result of self-created problems, and making these decisions, in most cases, results in bigger problems. This does not, however, apply to those who are elite, entitled or privileged.

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