For 12 years I worked at a job I absolutely hated. I started this job at 19 years old, and back then it was exciting. I made $55,000 that first year and lived like a millionaire.
As the years went on, liking turned to disliking, disliking turned to miserable, miserable turned to outright hatred. As my wife and I had children, it got harder to wake up at midnight every night and deliver bread.
Our kids had school activities late at night, which meant I would sleep three hours, and then go to work. After years of no sleep, stress, anger, depression, and every emotion you can imagine, things started to fall apart.
I gained 170 pounds from the stress, and eating fast food at odd hours, I mismanaged our finances, and my wife and I separated. I sat there in my living room in May of 2011 crying, not knowing what to do.
It took three years, and more of me than I thought possible, but I quit that job I hated. I lost 170 pounds, and our family moved to our dream designation of Maui, Hawaii. This incredible journey taught me some valuable life lessons.
1. Fear will make your excuses make sense
The fear of failure holds us back from so many amazing things in life. When it comes to our dream, we make excuses to not do something about them. Fear makes those excuses seem rational.
It's easier to believe fear than the possibility of a better life. If you really think about it, fear is easy; doing something about that fear is hard. Choose action even though it's hard because after the storm, there's always a rainbow.
2. Doubt will make you complacent
We all struggle with doubt. We question whether we're good enough, or smart enough, or even deserve a better life. Doubt is a silent dream killer, and destroys too many dreams.
You believe your doubt so much you don't do anything about your dreams. You settle for a good enough life. You can't listen to doubt and you can't settle in life because you're destined for so much more.
3. Negative people will hold you back
When you're excited about making a big change, you naturally want to tell someone. Some people will be excited with you, but there will be those that try to throw water on your fire. Avoid these people.
Negative people are struggling with their own fear. They have settled and can't stand to see someone that's not letting fear win. Don't listen to them, and don't let them hold you back.
4. Have some clue what you're doing
If you're going to be successful in life, you have to have a plan. If your dream is to leave a job you hate, there's some things you need to do:
- Figure out what you want to do in life.
- Research what it will take to make your dream a reality.
- Put together step-by-step plan.
- Take small daily steps on that plan.
Will everything magically fall into place if you do these steps? Probably not, but this will give you the greatest chance of success.
5. Prepare for the bad times
It would be great if everything worked out how we planned, but life doesn't work that way. We have to be prepared for unexpected emergencies. If you're going to leave a job you hate, it's a smart move to have an emergency fund. The experts will tell you what that amount should be, but save a little more. Better to be safe than sorry.
6. Silence any self-limiting beliefs
There are things each of us tell ourselves that keep us paralyzed. Self-limiting beliefs keep you complacent in life. They tell you to listen to your doubt and fear, they convince you that miserable job is the best you can do.
7. Don't look back
If you can have the strength and perseverance to leave a job you hate, and to leave a good enough life, don't second-guess yourself. Don't waste time wondering if you deserve this amazing life you created. You do deserve it, and much more.
Don't let fear, doubt, or the negative voices keep you in a job that makes you miserable. Gallup tells us that the average person spends 47 hours of their week working.
When you spend that much of your time doing something, it will affect every other area of your life. Whether you want to admit it or not, you bring that stress home with you.
Life is too short, and time is something we'll never get back. Don't spend the precious few moments you have on a job you hate. It won't be easy, and yes the job market is bleak, but if you really want it, you can find or create work you love.
It's going to take time, it may be one of the hardest things you ever do, but it will be worth the struggle. Choose yourself instead of a job you hate -- your life and time are far too important.
How has your job affected your life?
Photo: Flickr/Josef Grunig