Today is my free day, it's fitting it's on my favorite holiday. I celebrate it every year by leaving my desk midday, just because I can. Eight years ago today, I walked away from a minimum $50,000 a year job, 4 weeks vacation, 9 paid holidays, 3 personal days, 12 sick days a year, relatively inexpensive full healthcare for me and my husband, 401K and the financial ability to stop at a travel agent on a whim and walk out with tickets to anywhere for the weekend.
I also walked away from a 40 minute commute, gray pod walls that surrounded my gray desk, an online timeclock that would drive anyone mad, an environment that told me when I could eat, what I could have at my desk to drink, what I could decorate my pod walls with, the pressure of making quotas, a job that was turning the creative side of my brain to mush, the need to wear a nightguard every night because I was grinding my teeth so hard I would literally break them off in my sleep ( I lost 2) and a prescription for anxiety and depression.
I walked into the most amazing world where I learn something new everyday meeting interesting people. How can I forget the day when I got to wear a lab coat, booties and hair net to watch fertility specialists actually create human life in a petri dish? The ability to take a day if I need to without a doctor's excuse and the promise of a brand new life in our dream house on a mountain because I can do my job from virtually anywhere. Instead of corporate awards, my first paid published piece still hangs on my wall with the copy of the $25 check I got for it (yes, I cashed the actual check and paid about 3 times that to have it framed). But it is my reminder that money doesn't always buy happiness and if you're not happy doing what you do, it will never buy you peace of mind.
Are you doing what really makes you happy? What are you willing to do to change it? Life is too short and I'm convinced had I not changed course, my corporate job would have cut mine even shorter. Think about it, plan, do what makes you happy. I know I've never regretted it for more than a couple of bad hours, anyway.