Why I Didn’t Want To Be A Journalist

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How could it be that after thirteen years of planning for a career in journalism I decided to walk away from it? What were the reasons to my strong feelings about the work?

The things I mention in this blog post do not mean they are absolute truths, something that goes for everything and everyone. Instead, they are my own opinions and how I’ve experienced working as a journalist. They are also mainly focused on experience from local newspaper journalism instead of the longer, investigative kind.

With these things in mind – let’s dive in!

Drawn To Drama

I was working on a news article when the chief editor came to me, telling me to pack my camera, microphone and notebook, and head to a small town that was a thirty-minute drive away. Apparently, a fire had started and they wanted to get a live feed going from the site and a quick update with a photo on their social media.

Almost on my way, they reached the fire department who told them that it was a false alarm. Fortunately for me, no fire was roaming and I didn’t have to document it. But they would have loved a news piece like that.

Why?

Especially local newspapers and news sites are very dependent on their total amount of clicks and readers. That means that they often aim to write about not only things that are important (such as political news) but also surprising and get the reader’s attention.

Unfortunately, what seems to sell the most and attract the greatest amount of readers and views, are news that have to do with traffic accidents, murders, terrorism, vandalism, violence and other similar happenings. We humans tend to be drawn to drama, other people’s problems and conflicts. That’s just the way it is.

I, however, try to avoid that kind of news as much as possible. I decided a long time ago to stop reading that kind of news, because I believe that the information I get from the articles doesn’t improve my life in any way. It just adds to the information overload.

But as a journalist, I was forced to come across this kind of news. It could be the talk of the day in the newsroom or something that came up in a conversation with someone. Maybe I would write a short news piece on the topic, or interview a victim or an authority. Although a story about a murder didn’t maybe ruin my day, it still had its effect on me. It was unnecessary information, shifting my focus away from things that did matter.

And that was one of the reasons that drove me away from daily journalism: the active seeking of drama and unfortunate events.

Conflicts and Controversies

Two other attention-catching and curiosity-awakening news are those that either highlight a conflict or a controversy.

Conflicts – we are drawn to stories that present a classical good-and-evil setting. They describe a conflict that exists between a victim, the ”good” person, and an authority, the ”evil” one. This can be a news story about a political decision and what kind of effect it has on different socio-economic groups in the society. The stories tend to highlight the conflict, the ones who benefit the most and the least from a decision or an event.

Controversies – topics that arouse (negative) feelings or strong opinions are another great way to catch readers. Drug abuse, law-breaking, sexuality, religion, predators near humans… the list could go on and on. There’s a great deal of people out there who have a strong opinion about many things – sometimes they are well motivated arguments, at other times not as much. And those who aren’t maybe that interested in joining the public conversation, are still curious to follow the conversation.

This kind of news often tell about an important or critical challenge in society, and are therefore needed. But both conflicts and controversies are often negatively portrayed.

When I wanted to write about a topic that had to do with one of them, I couldn’t go on with the story unless I had a victim – someone who had suffered from the conflict I was interested in (e.g. a political decision) or the controversy (being an abuser, for instance). It was the key to every article: finding a victim with a good story. Without a victim, there was no news story and nothing that would attract readers to read the story.

I think one of the most thought-awakening experiences regarding these kind of stories was when we were working on a documentary at school and our teacher said that finding a victim with a story was the key to creating a good documentary. His actual words were ”The worse he or she feels, the better.”

I knew he had a point because a good story is intriguing and makes everything so much more real – but at the same time I had the thought even if it’s true it doesn’t make it right. To ride on someone else’s pain, suffering or trauma felt wrong, especially when I probably couldn’t help the person deal with the pain. I was there only to do my job – write a news article.

The negativity in many of the news articles I wrote didn’t help me feel more motivated about my job. I felt that we weren’t going deep enough, we didn’t even get started on the subject before I had already written 800 words on the subject and had reached the maximum amount of words for the news piece.

Giving People What They Want

As I’ve described above, readers are easily drawn to stories that highlight conflicts, controversies, misfortunes, bad choices and violence. Writing that list feels awful but that’s the way it is. It’s as if many wish to color their own safe and balanced lives with tragic stories of others. It’s also to have something to talk about with friends and colleagues and wonder how other people live their lives and what is wrong with the society.

And many aren’t even capable of explaining why they are so intrigued by these news – they just are.

As a consequence of this, media houses, chief editors and journalists are willing to feed the addiction of us people by giving more such news. Thus they manage to get their readers to come to the home page more often, follow them on social media, click on the news and read them. In this way, the newspaper gets more readers which means more money and a more stable future for the media house.

And that’s completely understandable – and completely twisted. Shouldn’t we read more about innovations, new ways of doing things, instead of focusing on only highlighting problems? What about hearing about people or groups with positive energy who create change and make things better in the society, instead of horror stories about drunk-drivers and abusers? Maybe read about how to live a healthy, fulfilling life, how to help others, how to improve, instead of lifting up what diseases are taking down most people?

Shouldn’t these topics be the reason people come back to a page and click onward, to read something that actually add value to their lives, instead of filling them with scandalous and negative information?

This is, at least, what I was constantly thinking about while working as journalist and something that still feels relevant. Why are we putting so much energy on the negative stuff when there is so much good out there? Are we writing about the conflicts and controversies so that our readers can spice up their day-to-day life, or because the news stories actually add value to their lives?

And of course, without forgetting the reader’s own responsibility: do they even know what they want or do they simply take what’s given to them without questioning it?

Serving the Common Interest

In addition to not being suited for the environment journalists work in, I had a hard time feeling motivated about what I did. I noticed asking myself almost every day ”why is this an important topic to write about, or is it?” Journalism is supposed to serve the common interest, to act as a watch-dog of politicians and inform citizens about important things. But the stories I was writing – did they belong in any of those categories?

Maybe they did, at least for some people. But for me, they didn’t. It felt as if I was putting my time, energy and brain capacity on something that didn’t add value to my life (because I know so much about different plants, parasites, nuclear power, insects and taxi drivers now than I did before, to name a few). I didn’t feel like I was writing about things that were important.

As I wrote in the beginning, this post has been about how I feel about things and what I think about the way news are written today. There is, of course, a great deal of great journalism out there – and that’s what got me interested in the first place. But that kind of journalism is more investigative and long-term journalism, a form that is struggling to keep its place in the world. With the 24/7 news updates and short, easy-to-read articles, many are opting to skip the longer, more valuable news stories and focus on the short ones instead. And that’s where everyone loses: the journalists, the readers, the society.

I haven’t completely trashed all my thoughts on becoming a journalist. After all, it’s about writing which is my passion. I just don’t want to work for a local daily newspaper.

If I get the opportunity to work on a longer piece that has to do with something positive, inspiring and/or motivating, then yes – I’ll give it a try. But otherwise, I’m fine with what the writing-projects I’m working on now.

Did this blog post raise any thoughts about the subject. If yes – what? Tell them in the comments and we’ll continue the conversation there. Have a nice Thursday!

True Progress: Life After Quitting

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Tuesday one week ago would have been the last day of my summer job as a radio journalist. When I saw the marking in my calendar (Last day at work!) which was, of course, struck through, I felt incredibly satisfied.

If I had carried through the whole deal, which means I would have worked for thirteen weeks from June to the beginning of September… well, I don’t know how I would be doing.

I know I would still be in this town, living in this apartment and would have a bit more money on my bank account. But how I would be feeling, what would I be thinking, what would the overall mood be like?

First of all, many of these blog posts wouldn’t have happened. Honestly, I don’t think a single one of them. For instance, although some of the Still Life Sundays existed before starting out H.E.R., many of them have been born in the progress.

I wouldn’t have read some of the great books I have come in contact with (latest one being Butcher’s Crossing by the amazing John Williams) or written my own book project (which now has more than 47 000 words and 111 pages – and is still going strong).

The hikes we’ve done, the weekend of sailing, all the thinking I’ve done, the creative ideas I’ve had… I have a hard time believing any of them would have happened if I had stayed at the job.

As I looked at the Last day of work!  mark in my calendar, I felt the satisfaction that comes from making a good decision. That day, on Tuesday, I had had a very productive, creative and fulfilling day, instead of being at work and doing something I wasn’t enjoying (although for that day I’d probably have baked a cake to celebrate my last day, and cake is never wrong, but let’s not shift our focus here).

By five o’clock that day, which would have been the time I usually was done with work and would have been on my way home, I had done following things: my morning yoga routine and a short muscle workout, written 1,5k on my book (which always gives me the greatest boost of calm and satisfaction), eaten a good lunch in nice company, read thirty-something pages of a well-written book, published a blog post and accepted the invitation to join a few friends for a beer that evening.

And that day was more or less the definition of how I’d like many more of my days to look like. Of course, every day won’t be a successful day of writing and so on, but the structure of that day was functioning and satisfying. It made me happy.

Last Thursday we had a go-through of the internship with rest of my fellow journalism students. We were asked to come up with three things we liked about our internship, three things we didn’t think functioned very well and an aha-experience (i.e. a realization) we had had during our internship.

Before the go-through I was actually pretty nervous, wondering if we were going to talk about me quitting my job, or if a cloud of disappointment would hang in the air through the whole thing.

However, no one seemed to judge me for my decision. As I presented my list of likes and dislikes and my aha-experience (how it felt like I really learned how the working life of a daily news journalist looks like), I felt pride and strength in my decision. I knew I had done the right thing and no one could make me change my opinion about that decision.

It was as if I had already moved beyond that, like I was already on the next step while everyone else were still hanging out on the previous one. It felt like true progress.

Why It Was A Tough Thing To Do

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For the past three weeks I have been writing about how and why I quit my job. But you might wonder why I’m making such a big deal out of it – it’s just a job! Nothing more, nothing less.

Nothing more than a job. Nothing less than a job. That is the problem.

Nothing Less Than A Job

My grandparents grew up in a world filled with political conflicts. They lived in a society where economic security was a luxury only some people had. For my grandparents having a job, money, savings and investments was very important.

Their values were passed on to my parents, who raised their children during the inflation in Finland in the 1990s and who got their share of the economic crisis in 2008. And so, for them having a job, money and savings is also extremely important.

For any of them, quitting a job voluntarily is something that is hard to understand and accept. I think their arguments could go something like this:

”It’s a good thing to have a job. Why quit unless you have another job to go for or some other significant reason for doing it?”

”How can you finance your life if you don’t have a steady income?”

”It doesn’t give a good impression to have quit your job for no proper reason.”

So their three main arguments here would be 1) the economic security of having job, 2) the good reputation you get for having a job, and 3) the norm of having a Monday to Friday nine-to-five-job.

For them having a job is more than just a job. It’s the insurance of a lifetime which you cannot throw away without having some significant reasons for doing it.

But I have grown up in a different world with different values. The working world as we now it is already so different from that my parents and grandparents learned to know. One can create a career online, it’s easier to become an entrepreneur or work half-time while doing projects of your own. But unfortunately, they don’t see the opportunities in the same way as younger generations do. And that’s a challenge.

Only a year ago I believed, for the most part, in the same working values as the rest of my family – and society – does.

Nothing More Than A Job

Now, this is what I think. My job as a radio journalist was only a job and I thought that if I quit it isn’t the end of everything. Rather, it’s a new beginning.

For a long time, I thought I would enjoy being a journalist and that was what I worked for. I had the opportunity to try writing traditional newspaper articles, web-based news pieces and articles and this summer, I tried doing radio. None of them felt right – not in the way I was hoping they would, anyway.

So when I decided to throw away my former dreams of becoming a journalist, it felt like I had the right to do that. I mean, I had tried different forms of journalism without the results I had been hoping for, and felt as if I could motivate my decision to quit as well as I can motivate why I choose chocolate ice cream over strawberry (because chocolate is chocolate – but it goes great with strawberry so if I can have both, I’ll take them).

After all, it was only a job I was quitting. It wasn’t as if I was throwing away my life and absolutely everything I had ever worked for. I had learned new things and values along the way. This job experience had made me wiser and more clear when it comes to my thoughts on what I want to do with my life. I had the opportunity for turning the page and begin a new chapter called ”I quit my job – now what?”

However, not everyone recognize quitting as a new beginning. Not at least in a positive way.

Toughest Conflicts Exist In Your Head

Only a year ago I believed, for the most part, in the same working values as the rest of my family – and society – does. It was important to have a job because 1) it gives you economic security, 2) what else would you do if not work for a company or an organization and 3) it was the decent thing to do.

But a year later, I found myself questioning all three reasons:

1) By proper and realistic economic planning you can plan your year, i.e. how much you need to earn and how much you can spend per month, and still have savings or even invest in something.

2) Finding a job where you enjoy yourself and what you do is extremely hard to find. Especially for HSPs it can be tough to find a work environment that suits one’s needs. Instead, why not work for yourself? It definitely isn’t unheard of these days.

3) This was the hardest thing to question. I had always been the girl who got an A in many of the subjects at school, who worked hard and got the jobs she went for. And now I was thinking – is working in a place I dislike really the decent thing to do – especially if it isn’t what I want to do?

The people-pleaser in me knew that the toughest conflict here was in my head – to do what was the decent thing to do or do what I wanted to do although it was against the norms of the society and my family? Well, as you know, I opted for the more rebellious alternative.

The other conflict in my head was how I would be able to communicate these thoughts to someone who doesn’t (want to) understand my decision. Here, instead of trying to explain the whole truth I decided to tell only part of the truth. This didn’t really make the decision any easier, to know that I wouldn’t be able to answer the question ’why?’ as truthfully as I wanted to. But it felt like a better option than having really complicated conversations with someone who necessarily didn’t even want to understand my decision.

In the weeks before and a week or so after quitting felt as a tough decision. But today it feels like I could do it again, if needed. And that’s a good sign, I’d say.

Now a question to you because I am curious to know – how are the social norms in your family or society when it comes to working? Is it a norm, ’the decent thing to do’ or are you encouraged to embark on your own career path?

Today I Quit My Job – Part III

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This is the third and the last check-up post where I reflect on quitting my job which happened two weeks ago. Two weeks already! Or only two weeks – hard to say which one feels more right.

Well, above you can see a picture of me, taken a few days ago. It’s Friday morning, and I’m enjoying a strong cup of coffee on the stairs of a big house me and my partner are staying at for one and a half weeks. We are taking care of a dog – you can see her in the photo as well.

It was mostly a spur-of-the-moment decision, to volunteer as care-takers for a dog and a house. I saw a friend’s post on Facebook, asking if someone had the time to take care of her dog while she was away, and we decided to take up the challenge.

The house is a 25-minute drive away from the city in the middle of the beautiful nature of Finland. Comparing to the life in the city, this place is a whole other world. In the morning you hear two roosters crowing in different directions and in the evening the crickets dominate the world of sounds. The nearest food store is at least five kilometers away which means we seldom leave this place, only when we must.

The calming, simple way of living does good for my soul and mind. I feel relaxed, calm and free from stress. It feels great, and it definitely feels like something I’ve been needing for the last few months.

For the last week, I have been focusing on sleeping, cooking, analyzing reality-tv-competitions (how you can guess the winner and the looser of the episode by watching the interviews they show during the episode) and taking care of the old labrador lady who loves food and proper belly rubs.

As you might guess, I’m feeling pretty relaxed (although sometimes it feels like my dog allergies are getting the better of me).

And what do you think, how do I feel about quitting my job? You might guess that I’m still feeling good about that. And my friend – you guessed right. I am feeling good. I feel like I’ve actually shown respect towards myself. I still feel like I did the right thing. I did do the right thing.

We are returning back to the city on Sunday. On Monday, it’ll be a proper start on my writing routines. But for now, I’ll just enjoy myself and the company of my partner and the dog.

See you on Thursday!

How I Prepared Myself for Quitting

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As I’ve written previously, the decision of quitting was at the same time very easy and very hard. It was easy because it felt right and it felt like a decision I really needed (fortunately, I’ve noticed that I did the right thing).

But it was hard because I wanted to be sure I was doing the right decision. I wasn’t satisfied with the feeling of being right. I wanted to be right, I wanted to be sure I was right. So I took a few measures to be absolutely one hundred percent confident.

(Of course, there is no way of being that confident about something. There is so little we can control. However, the little that there is to have control over, I wanted to have it.)

1. Reading Online

I was desperate to find some kind of confirmation, e.g. tips and life stories online about people who had done the same I was about to do. It wasn’t easy – I might have been looking in the wrong places – but I found a few blog posts that stuck in my mind.

  • This one I mentioned in one of the previous posts: the website and blog for HSPs – highly sensitive people. I want to explore this site even further to learn more about the characteristics of HSPs but the post about most suitable jobs for HSPs and the best jobs for HSPs caught my attention. Both of them gave a very thumbs-up-feeling, like I was on the right path, that is, doing my own thing.
  • The second page and post I was fascinated by was the blog post by The Minimalists: Quitting Your Job Is Easy. Although the message of the post didn’t really give me any confirmation, it did give me this:”Scores of people ask us how to quit their jobs. Much of the time it feels like they’re simply asking for our permission. The truth is you don’t need our permission.”

    It was something I already knew at one level, but this text was a reminder put down in words. The decision I was making was mine to make. And no one else can make the decision for me.

2. Reading The Book

A book was recommended to me by a friend with the words ”read this before you walk up to your boss and tell her that you quit”. The book was Why Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office by Lois P. Frankel.

I had never heard of it before but it was a book that reminded me of the importance of the game and especially knowing the rules of the game. I haven’t read it from cover to cover but skimmed it, reading the chapters that I related to the most. Especially the chapters about talking and talking well caught my attention.

According to the book, this is how your credibility is measured: 7 percent comes from what you say, 38 percent from how you sound and 55 percent comes from how you look. So I focused on these until the D-day was upon me.

3. The +/- List

This one you know of already. I wrote down all the positive and negative aspects of my job, resulting in a list of two positive things and thirteen negative.

On the positive side I wrote 1) I can bike to work and 2) I get five credits for school which means I will be able to graduate in time.

On the negative side was all sorts of things from what I got paid per hour to how I felt, what the expectations were, how I didn’t want to be there in the first place but had to to get the credits for school and so on.

It was mostly a safety measure, for the feeling of being absolutely one hundred percent confident. But it had it’s effect because every time I saw the list it was a reminder about how I felt about the job.

4. Reaching Out To People

As I was unable to find life stories about people who had quit their jobs online, I tried to find confirmation from people in real life.

  • I reached out to my teacher, asking what would happen if I quit my job (thinking of credits and my studies). He didn’t really encourage me to quit unless there were some serious reasons for doing it.
  • I contacted a lawyer, checking that what I was thinking of doing was both possible and legal. He gave his blessing.
  • I sent a message to a friend, asking how she saw the different aspects of quitting. She was the one to recommend Why Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office, the test for HSPs, but she also told her story, how she had quit her job and found it to be an extremely good decision. She also connected me with her friend who is a full-time writer and a published author.
  • So I contacted her, asking how her life looks like, what are her writing routines, how to get started if you want to become a full-time writer, how does she get along financially and so on.
  • And in addition to this I had countless conversations about quitting with my partner and one of my best friends.
5. The Economic Plan

In addition to the point right above, one of the best things I did that gave me confidence was my financial plan for the coming year. It wasn’t the easiest job but it sure was worth of it’s time and calculations.

The plan included my current financial situation, my main incomes for the coming year (subsidies and salaries) and my monthly expenses (rent, money, bills, gym membership). From every income I put aside something for my savings account which I counted as well.

Then I did some simple plus-minus-calculations to find out how much I would have on my account a year from now and how much money I can use per month. I’m very curious about finding out if my economic plan actually holds but I guess I’ll see it in the end of May 2019.

Is There A Way To Prepare?

After this list, I guess the question is will any amount of preparing help you do the decision? I would say yes and no.

The economic plan, reading books and texts about quitting, and getting confirmation from people around you will help to a certain extent. These resources are the rational confirmations you can rely on when you find yourself questioning the feeling you have inside of you.

But in the end, the final act is yours only. You have to utter the words, be confident, find the strength to carry your decision through. And that is one of the hardest parts – at least what I know of yet.

How do you prepare for big decisions that you make?

Today I Quit My Job – Part II

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It’s been a week since I quit my job. I wanted to write this follow-up to be able to reflect on how I feel now compared to last week and what new thoughts have come up after my first reactions after quitting.

Time and space usually help to take distance from things. They might even open up new perspectives on how one sees different situations and problems. So, how do I see my situation now?

The Relief, The Lightness

Those two feelings have been dominating the past week.

Merriam-Webster defines relief as following: ”removal or lightening of something oppressive, painful, or distressing”. And that’s what happens – a sense of relief comes to me especially in the evenings, when I realize I do not have to go to work tomorrow.

But, although relief is, in a way, a positive feeling, it is caused by something negative. Therefore I hope that the sense of relief will disappear in a while because that should mean that my focus will shift elsewhere.

The lightness comes to me in the morning or any other time when I realize I have all the time in the world to do what want to do. But especially in the mornings, when I am able to modify my morning routines according to how I feel that morning and not feel stressed that I won’t be able to do everything I want to do this morning before going to work. Because that was how I felt many mornings during the time I worked, although I woke up three hours before I had to be anywhere (I will be talking about morning routines in later blog posts).

Physical and  Mental Energy

When I came home from work I was usually able to keep up my energy through dinner but after that I had trouble staying awake. I was extremely tired, as if I had given every single thought to and consumed the whole energy storage inside me for work. And I probably had done exactly that. It maybe sounds good but definitely isn’t.

Today, it’s the seventh day of being able to independently steer my energy consumption, and let me tell you: it feels good.

First of all, the sluggish feeling I had in my body after work is gone. Before, going for an evening walk was only a reminder of how I wanted to do physical training but didn’t have the energy for it. Now I feel more energetic and comfortable in my body, feeling my muscles working and being able to focus more on my physical well-being.

And for the second, I have so much more brain power. At work I usually sat six or seven hours out of eight in front of the computer, editing sound or writing articles. It drained me from my ability to think more complex things and made me feel, well, ’brain-dead’ after a full day of work. I didn’t have the energy to read books or have proper conversations with my partner without falling asleep. Now I am able to do both.

And last night, me and my partner played a game of chess. I only learned the rules properly this summer so my main goal has mostly been not to loose too brutally, but only a little (mostly without success).

Previously, when I was working, I only had so much energy to get through a game but made unnecessary mistakes and didn’t have the brain power to think out a proper strategy. But last night I managed to play a game of chess that actually challenged my partner. It felt like a mental victory!

Keeping A Secret

However, quitting my job came with a price. I knew it from the beginning, which was one of the reasons why I found quitting my job to be so hard (more on it next week).

When I quit my job, I knew I wouldn’t be able to tell the real reason for doing it to my family. They would not understand the real reasons, or could not accept them to be real. So instead, I told them a version of the truth. That is, that I finished the six-week-internship and am now able to enjoy the summer for a short while before continuing studying for my Master’s degree. It was a truth, just no the complete one.

There is a part of me that wants to tell the real reasons to why I quit my job. But I know  that it would create more trouble than the current explanation does. Because now they all think that they simply misunderstood my summer job – thinking that I would stay there the whole summer instead for only six weeks.

Although I have a few persons who know the real reasons for me quitting, it feels as if I am keeping a secret. It might drain me, or it might not, but we’ll see how I feel in the future.

So – What’s Next?

As I’ve written, I now have all this mental and physical energy, the feeling of lightness and the freedom to control my own time. So, what now?

At the moment, I am in the process of creating new routines for my days. I have my morning routines from before but now I am actively creating a working routine for writing and self-development. I am also thinking of how to develop my writing skills, how to become an author and, of course, planning the content for this blog.

At the same time, I am well aware of that change doesn’t happen in a day and introducing new routines takes time. So one habit, one routine at a time, I will aim to create a good and productive work flow. And the progress and my findings will be reported on this blog.

Why I Quit My Job

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In a way, it was one of the easiest decisions for me to make. However, once I had made the decision to quit my job, it was one of the hardest ones to keep.

It was day one – the introduction day. I got a two-hour introduction to how things work, how to use the programs, how the content was created, the principles, rules and so on. At noon, I met my boyfriend for lunch. But I was so tired and quite honestly such sad company to eat with that my boyfriend hoped we wouldn’t eat lunch together in the future – at least not on those days when I worked.

And he was so right. I knew I was miserable and I was only half-way through the first day. I was so tired, so foggy in my thoughts, that my response to him came out in tears. What a great first day, right?

The Feeling That Was There

On the third day I said I didn’t want to go to work. And already in the beginning of my second work week the thought of quitting my job became active.

I worked hard and tried my best to learn all the quirks of creating content for radio. But I wasn’t satisfied. My job felt worthless, a waste of time and I didn’t find joy in the soundbites I created. Day by day I felt more dissatisfied, more miserable, tired, out of energy. I wasn’t happy – far from it.

Somewhere someone said that he is ”happy to go to work and happy to go home”. I was happy to go home – but never when going to work. That became one of the main reasons for me quitting – how I felt about my job and going there.

Searching For An Explanation

But a feeling is just a feeling. To be able to live with my decision, I wanted to find something more rational. Something that made more factual sense than an emotion did. Maybe it even was a way for me to motivate the miserable feeling I was experiencing. So I did the following:

  1. A classic +/- list

    This is something I have done every now and then when I want to be really sure about what I am doing. So I put together a list of the good things and the bad things about my job. The result was two things on the positive side, thirteen on the negative side. One of the easiest math tasks I’ve done in a while.

  2. Testing for HSP

I described my feelings about work for a friend over chat – how I continuously felt stressed, negative tired. How I saw nightmares about one of the colleagues and how I ended up at the work place only because I had to, so that I would get my internship done and be able to graduate in time. Her answer to me was a link to test if I was a HSP – a highly sensitive person.

I scored high. The next thing I did was to look up on Google ’suitable jobs for HSPs”.

I found this page and checked out the list of characteristics of a job a HSP should avoid. I’ve listed them below. Characteristics in bold are the ones that definitively describe my job and the ones in italic are the ones that describe it partly.

  • Include a lot of confrontation
  • Deal with people non-stop
  • Are ”risky”
  • Are primarily sales-focused and only about making money, and don’t jibe with your principles or interests
  • Are strictly measured, timed, or controlled
  • Are cutthroat or competitive
  • Take place in a loud, hectic environment
  • Are composed of ongoing, monotonous work, rather than discernible projects
  • Consist of primarily collaborative group work versus individual work
  • Include ”cold-calling” 

This made me realize even more that I was in a completely wrong place.

3. People-pleasing

I am a people-pleaser. Or I was – I am a recovering one. But for my whole life I have been the kind, reliable person who puts everyone else first and her own interests only after them.

I want to do what’s right – not from my perspective but from other’s.

When I was considering quitting my job I thought of how my parents would react, what my colleagues would think and what my teacher would say. I was afraid of letting down every one of them.

But while I was at work I managed to find some sort of rebel stage in my mind. I realized that I needed to do this for myself. For once, I needed to do what was right for me, from my perspective. And I didn’t need anyone else’s acceptance to do it.

Of course, it wasn’t as simple decision as that, but in the end, I pulled through. And that’s what matters the most.

4. Doing What I Really Want

A few weeks ago, a friend pointed out to me that I had derailed from the path towards my true dream career to pursue something more practical.

He had a point. When I was nine years old I wanted to become a published author (you can read more about it here). However, my parents wanted me to come up with a career that would give me financial security. So I chose to become a journalist, a profession where I would be able to write and have a steady income.

That decision led to other decisions, which finally resulted in me being horribly miserable at my current job. Ironically, it was the place and the job I had decided for in my childhood and worked towards most of my life.

I decided to trace back my decisions and return to the first one that was my own – become a published author. This felt more real and motivating than anything else in a long time. It also became one of the best reasons for me to quit my job.

I Am Here

This post is a proof on how sure and unsure I was about my decision. I found so many reasons for quitting and at the same time I was desperate to find more rational reasons for doing it. But I did it! Here I am, writing this, on a Friday morning when I usually would already be at work. I am filled with proudness and satisfaction over my decision, both of which are very rewarding.

But what about you, reader? What kind of decision-making process do you go through before making one? Or are you more spontaneous?