Quitting Without a Backup Plan

Have you ever wanted to quit a soul-sucking job? When I was in this position, I started saving more money than usual and started hunting for the nearest exit opportunity, quietly enduring the toxic work environment until I could peace out. But what if things are so bad that you don’t have it in you to endure another second at your job? This is the position Devon Maloney writes about being in—quitting what appeared to be a “dream job” at the Los Angeles Times after four months. She left with no savings and an “up to her ears” amount of credit card debt. But she’s got no regrets, and has already gone freelance before. From her Jezebel essay:

I had been in debt before; I know how it feels like you’re fluttering in the wind with no counterweights, like you could nosedive into the pavement at any moment. But after almost three years on my own, I also know how to dig myself out. And best of all, now I’m choosing it—not the other way around. Self-employment isn’t a storm to be weathered anymore.

Two things:

We’ve talked before about how we can make “life ruining” decisions, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start over. I’m not really the kind of person who would quit a job before having something else lined up because instability freaks me out, but I don’t fault Devon for making the decision she did.

I think about my parents, who both endured various soul-crushing jobs that they couldn’t just quit no matter how much they hated them because they had kids to feed and no college educations to fall back on. I could quote a certain City High song here (“I know if my mother could do it / baby you can do it”), but, really, that would be missing the point (and I always hated that part of that song!). The time in our lives when we don’t have dependents who rely on us is precisely the time when we should be making these kinds of decisions. We’re supposed to take advantage of our youth and try things out and quit bad jobs and make mistakes and learn from them. I’m looking forward to seeing what Devon does next.



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