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A condensed version of my story begins in 2011. For a few years prior to January, 2011 I had become frustrated with the position I had with the State of Iowa. When I was hired in 1999, I had assumed I would be with the state until I retired, having transferred and promoted up the latter over the course of my career. In 2009 when my son graduated high school, however, I’d begun to be bored and was wishing I could find something where I would be more creative and inspired.
I searched for some ways to be happy outside my job and continue to work there, but by the end of 2010, it was clear I needed a different career. I hated working in a cubicle, it had begun to feel like prison to me. I explored various options and came up with nursing. Not that I had a burning desire to be a nurse, but the beginning salary of a nurse was similar to what I was currently making, and I knew I was intelligent and competent enough to do what nurses do. It would be similar pay and I would not have to be sitting in a cubicle all day, so it was very appealing at that time.
I signed up for nursing school, but there was an 18 month waiting list. In the meantime, I had some prerequisites I could take, so signed up for online classes the winter semester of 2011. Classes started in January and I hoped that I’d be more content at my job for the next year or so since I knew I was working on a way out.
The opposite happened! Because I now knew I had an out, I became even less satisfied and my stress level went through the roof. Things at the job were worsening as well, we’d had a lot of procedural and management changes within the past 6 months and my unhappiness had been building up. At the end of the semester, I had an evening CNA class to attend in person, which was nice because it made the whole “college experience” seem more real since I was around other students and not at home in my usual surroundings.
One evening as I was driving to the class I was on a stretch of highway that had a steep ditch on both sides and some trees at the bottom of the ditch. A clear, completely calm, logical thought popped into my head that was a defining moment for me. All of the misery and frustration of the past 2 plus years got behind this thought of “If I floor the accelerator and turn off the road into the ditch…I don’t want to die, but maybe I’ll get injured badly enough to qualify for disability and I won’t have to work there anymore.”
Well, I didn’t floor the accelerator and turn off the road, but that thought jolted something inside me. That night when I got home from class, I began wondering what would happen if I did just quit my job and pursued nursing full time. I imagined different scenarios and the worst possible one I came up with was that I would NEVER be able to get another job, and would therefore lose my house and end up homeless, living under a bridge in a cardboard box, digging through garbage for food. That idea, as horrifying as it was to me, still appealed to me more than working in that cubicle for one more day.
The next day I turned my resignation letter in.
Turning that letter in to my supervisor was one of the scariest things I’ve done in my life up until now.
But it was also one of the BEST things I’ve done in my life up until now. Once I said “no” to the job that was giving me so much discontent, a whole new world of possibility opened up for me. I never did become a nurse, but that’s just fine because I ended up doing something SO MUCH BETTER…something I would do even if I wasn’t getting paid!!! The years since my resignation from that job are the best, happiest years I have ever lived, and I am looking forward to doing much more in my life, because now I know the keys to creating and living a life I will always absolutely love living!!!