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You Left a Six Figure Job to Do What? Are You Nuts?

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Many people think I am crazy. At the age of 47, I recently quit my well-paying job with no clear plan for what comes next. I have ambitious dreams of becoming a successful day trader, a renowned author, or starting my own business (although I have no idea what it would be). So how did I end up here? What compelled me to leave a job where I spent 25 years, built a good reputation, and provided a comfortable life for me and my family? It’s not simply a mid-life crisis; I believe it goes deeper than that.

Let’s unpack the reasons behind this seemingly insane decision. I can narrow it down to three key factors:

1. Stress and dissatisfaction with my job

2. A realization that life is too short to be unhappy

3. Having an incredibly supportive partner

Firstly, let’s address the issue of stress. This is often a major factor that drives people to leave their jobs. While I didn’t work excessively long hours or weekends, stress can manifest in various ways. I have worked jobs that required weekend work or even week-long business trips, and it didn’t bother me. However, in my last job, the nature of the tasks, lack of empathy within the company, and a general disregard for the well-being of the people I managed caused immense stress. This became alarmingly evident during the challenging year of 2021, when the Covid-19 pandemic forced us to work remotely.

Initially, working from home seemed like a positive change, but it came with drawbacks. Suddenly, early morning or late evening meetings became the norm, and Saturdays became just another workday. I witnessed colleagues suffering from breakdowns and emotional distress, and I had to support and counsel them. This constant pressure and the lack of work-life balance took a toll on my happiness. While I was fairly compensated for my work, no amount of money could justify missing out on family time and enduring the stress it caused. It became increasingly clear that the job was not a good fit for me.

Secondly, life is undeniably short. As I reflected on my own mortality and witnessed my father’s experience of despising his long-term job, I realized I didn’t want to follow in his footsteps. Spending decades at a job you hate, even if it becomes part of your identity, is not a fulfilling way to live. I didn’t want to look back and regret sacrificing precious time with my family for a job I didn’t truly enjoy. I didn’t want to wear a badge of honor that represented my misery. Life is meant to be lived happily, and I made the decision to prioritize my own well-being.

Lastly, I am fortunate to have an incredibly supportive partner. My wife and I have had numerous discussions about my dissatisfaction with work, and she has always been understanding and encouraging. She wants nothing more than for me to be happy, even if it means she becomes the primary breadwinner. Her transition from a contract position to a full-time role with benefits has provided us with the stability to make this decision together as a team.

Decisions like this should not be made in isolation. When you’ve weathered emotional battles as a couple, it’s important to continue supporting each other through major life choices. While I haven’t yet fully transitioned into this new phase of my life, we have discussed potential challenges and are committed to addressing any issues that arise. Open communication and sharing household responsibilities are crucial in maintaining a healthy dynamic.

My plan is not to retire completely; rather, I aim to take a break to reflect and recharge. It is a much-needed opportunity to reassess my priorities and determine the next steps in my life. I do not feel the need to justify or apologize for this decision to anyone. This is what I believe is necessary for my own personal growth and happiness. And who knows? Maybe one of my grand dreams will come true—I might become a published author or find success in day trading. Only time will tell.

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