Why it Made Sense to Quit My Job and Travel
Before I quit, I was working at one of the most widely recognized and successful investment banks in the world for 40 hours or less per week (this is unheard of in the finance world), was about to be promoted, and was traveling to Europe for special projects (also shocking for a 24-year-old analyst). I was learning a lot, had exposure to senior management, and was hardly stressed out. Written down, the whole situation seems pretty dope, but I’m still confident in my decision to leave it all behind.
I tell people that I quit my job to travel, but realistically, it was SO much more complicated than that. OK, yes, that is literally what I did, quit my job to travel Europe for three months, but I would be doing a huge disservice to the biggest decision I’ve ever made by summarizing it as just “quitting my job to travel.” Here is a list of factors that came together to justify my decision to quit my job:
I Was Regularly Talking About How Much I Disliked My Job
This is a big one, which is why it’s first on the list. If you’re constantly chatting sh*t on your job, not only are your friends and family going to want to lock you in a castle guarded by a dragon so you never complain to them again, it will probably make you hate your job more. Once you get this underlying negative perception of your job, it’s suuuuper hard to shake, so just GTFO.
2. I Wasn’t Interested in my Industry
OK duh….Someone who doesn’t think corporate finance is interesting should not work at one of the largest investment banks in the world (read: moi). Just like someone who is so-so about pastries should not work in a bakery. You’re going to get inconsolably bored and, in turn, do a sh*t job.
For some, these two points alone could be enough to justify leaving a job. But this list goes on for seven more points so buckle TF up team.
3. I Didn’t Look Up To My Bosses
I spent a lot of time thinking “I would hate to have my boss’s job...or my boss’ boss’ boss’ job...they all seem like pretty horrible jobs,” which later lead me to think “if I don’t want my bosses’ jobs, what am I working to achieve?” Highkey soul crushing and somehow made my dusty gray cubicle feel even drearier.
4. There Was No Room to Grow Professionally
The only thing I was working towards was a promotion (which happened approximately once every five-ish years) or for someone in senior management to tell me I didn’t suck (seen as sparingly as free bagels in the common room). Furthermore, my reward for getting a promotion? Continuing the same job I’ve been doing for a slightly higher salary. My boss, who was at least four levels above me, was essentially doing the exact same work as me: NOOOO THXXXX.
5. I Wasn’t Being Challenged
I want to continue to use my brain for the next, like, 90 years (they say the first person to live to 150 has already been born, I believe I am that person). And if I want to do that, I gotta nurture that little baby. My job was monotonous and there was little room to try something new, so I felt like I wasn’t learning anything, which for me is a dealbreaker.
6. I Was Indifferent About Meeting My Goals
I’m typically SUPER goal-oriented, but my lack of motivation was a symptom of all the above tragedies. When you have zero motivation to complete your work 100% of the time, you simply need to leave your job. If you don’t, I guarantee you’ll become a slippery worker slug and start saying things like “I’ve got a case of the Monday’s!” non-ironically at the beginning of every week.
7. The Work Environment Was :/
Every day I worked through lunch in a disgusting gray cubicle, with a boss who didn’t have time to manage me, and coworkers who all had spouses and children (i.e. very little in common with me). Then I went home to the suburbs and did nothing, day after day after day. The boss thing was a big one, TGod for my work bestie or else I would have flung myself out the second story window of the most dreary office building in all of the tri-state area (good coworkers are MAJOR KEY).
Also, the culture just didn’t work for my personality; megacorps are inherently bureaucratic and hierarchical, which posed legitimate challenges to upward mobility and creativity for me personally. I also had trouble connecting to my coworkers because they were all so different from me, and to the mission of the firm because I didn’t agree with it. CUE THE RED FLAGS.
8. I Had a Dream to Achieve in an Ever-Shrinking Timeframe
I have always wanted to live abroad, and there is no better time to do it than right forking now: I’m not tied to my job, my friends have moved away from home, and my family is healthy. As I get older, there are going to be fewer and fewer opportunities where I’m the only person I need to make decisions for. And, because I want to leave finance altogether, leaving wouldn’t impact my professional career. If I didn’t live in Europe, I would always wonder ‘what if,’ and that sh*t would not sit well with me.
9. I Believe Intrinsically That I Am Destined for Bigger and Better Things
Because of all the above bugaboos, I did not see a future with my company. I didn’t want to work in finance forever, I didn’t want to feel disconnected from my work, and I didn’t want to continue to work without goals. I don’t naively think that one day I will find a job that makes me feel self-actualized and gives me a purpose and there are no bad days. But, I’m confident that there are jobs out there that give me the tools to figure those things out for myself. There are companies out there that encourage their employees to grow personally and professionally every day; there are companies with missions they feel passionately about; there are companies that are actually changing the world, and I want to be a part of that.
So, yes, I did quit my job to travel through Europe. But, it was a excruciatingly calculated decision that took my dreams, my future happiness, and my career into account. For me, this decision made sense: I left a job that was no longer growing with me personally and professionally. I left, not because I hated my job, but because I was making steps towards the future I saw for myself. I knew that I simply could NOT go to my cubicle every day for the rest of my life and continue to be a contributing member of society. It’s OK to want to quit the job everyone else thinks is great!!! Just make sure you take the time to consider all the factors before making a life-changing decision.