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October 17, 2014

The Day I realized a Desk Job wasn’t for Me.

cubicle office

The shaking hands started long before the realization that this was going to be my life for the next 20, 30—perhaps even 40 years of my life.

A metallic taste quickly reciprocated the feeling of my mechanical mind. This was it? I watched my desk mate stare relentlessly at her monitor—searching for a breakthrough of epic creative proportions.

The problem was there would be no epic creative breakthrough in the lackluster light of this office. There may, briefly, be a moment of clarity where you realize that there are people living and breathing and dreaming outside of these walls, but as far as creativity goes, your’re fairly limited on what your mind can dream up.

So I continued to go to that desk day in and day out with the expectation that things were going to get better and that it was going to get a little bit easier with time. But months whizzed by in shades that weren’t colorful or happy, but were dull white flickering remnants of lost time that I felt I’d never get back: had it been almost a year already?

I went home and stared longingly at the mirror. My eyes were sunken and my complexion was pale. I didn’t look like the person that had moved here months ago to follow an ambitious career. Now, I just looked like a hollow image of my former happy self.

I cried, thinking about what I’d become that night.

I let ambition and a job take priority over happiness and my own well-being. I gave up yoga and writing to be a part of someone else’s dreams. I read words with the bubbling hatred and jealousy only felt by someone who has lost their passion to do what they love.

I picked up my journal the next morning, and the pen expressed what I had tried to shut out for all of those months—I wasn’t happy, and if I continued to do the things that didn’t allow me to be passionate and carefree I would never reach my full potential for happiness again.

I knew that when the realization finally struck, months too late, I would be able to breathe again. I would be able to face myself in the mirror and give a simple, satisfied smile. I’d be able to return to what I loved to do without that pang of guilt and jealousy when I read a beautiful sentence.

I only had one thought on my mind.

What am I going to do without a job?

The question crept slowly past me, forbidding me to speak or feel. I had finally let the truth escape, and I felt a strange relief inside.

Life isn’t always going to offer us a chance to find ourselves or the potential to be happy. We aren’t always going to have the ability to quit our jobs and throw our cares to the wayside, but if there’s ever something that feels wrong, deep in your soul , you have to escape it. I promise that you’ll never regret a decision like that for as long as you live.

We all have to make hard decisions in life and sometimes the things we plan don’t exactly turn out how we assume they should be. That’s a part of life, but if something is ever affecting your ability to find and connect with your true happiness, you have to let it go.

In this case it was a job sitting at a desk and not doing the things I was passionate about.

Today I had to quit my job a week early. My boss was not thrilled, and I expect that I should not be getting a good review in my future. But I am proud of myself for putting my own needs first and not letting a problem like this escalate.

Don’t let the daily grind control you. Take charge of yourself and do what makes you happy at the end of every day.

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Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Joe Loong/Flickr

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