What I Learned When I Quit My Job With No Back-Up Plan

Eight years ago I had my dream job. I loved everything I did and could see myself pursing the role passionately for years. Unfortunately the work environment was extremely toxic. Work bullying and office politics led me to experience anxiety and depression for the first time. I was pregnant while most of this went on. When I became pregnant I was told I would be given 6 weeks paid maternity leave, but 2 weeks before my due date I was casually told that I would not be paid for any maternity leave. I worked until my due date at 40 weeks, and on that day my first born, Turner, was born.

Prior to his birth I knew I needed to go back to work, but during my time off I realized how happy I was again. Even in the midst of raising a newborn for the first time with tons of emotions, sleepless nights and many tears I was joyful again. I couldn't imagine myself walking back in to my toxic work environment again. I needed to be happy for myself and family. I didn't deserve the treatment I was experiencing, and even after going to HR and my boss (the CEO) I was told nothing would change and that's just the way it was there. I was also commuting to downtown Austin from Round Rock.

I remember telling Alex I wanted to quit and stay home. How could I leave this sweet baby boy for a terrible job? He was not a fan of my idea, and after many tearful conversations he realized that I couldn't do it anymore. He encouraged me to continue working, but to find a different job. We agreed together I would quit, but I would immediately search for a new role. So when Turner was a month old I called my boss and put in my resignation. He was not surprised and wished me the best. Two months later EVERYONE in that company was laid off. Hmmm?

I was scared of my next steps, but I immediately started applying for jobs and interviewing. Turner was 5 weeks old. Once I had a marketing interview with an Austin plastic surgeon, and when child care fell through I desperately asked if I could bring my baby. They agreed and the sweet receptionist held him as I interviewed in the next room.

After months of searching a family friend who worked at State Farm said they had a marketing team, however it was hard to get on that team so I'd have to get my foot in the door through an adjuster position. So, I applied to be an insurance adjuster. It was a shot to my ego, because this was NOT on my career plan. This role had nothing to do with marketing, and I was terrified of veering off my career path. However, this role payed more than most of the entry level marketing roles I had been interviewing for. I took a leap of faith and accepted the role. Turner started daycare at 4 months old, and I went back to work full-time. For 3 months I was trained on Texas laws and how to work car crashes. Here's the thing, I did not necessarily like what I did, but I adored the people I worked with. They were happy, encouraging and friendly. It didn't matter what I did because I had the best teammates.

I knew in the back of my mind I wanted to get back to marketing, so after about a year in my role  I began job shadowing and networking with members of the marketing team. I began to plant seeds, and was waiting for them to grow. I interviewed for multiple marketing roles, and after much rejection I finally landed one! The rest is history.

I learned it's never ideal to quit a job without another job lined up, but thankfully I had Alex to support our family financially in the interim. I would not advise to quit cold turkey, but there are certain situations in life when it might be a necessary and possible step for your situation and mental health. I learned that a new baby puts your life in perspective, and many mothers are faced with a tough decision to work or stay home. Most women don't have the option to stay home.

I believe it's important to stay motivated and pursue your career with passion. It was scary as hell when I quit, but I don't regret my decision. I was intentional with each decision I made even if I wasn't 100% sure what would be on the other side. Work hard, don't give up and network like crazy! Have you ever quit your job without a backup plan?

Photos: Madeline Harper | Location: Ruby Hotel | Jewelry: James Avery

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