6 Things I’ve learned since quitting my job

In Sumbawa

It has nearly been a year since I quit my job. Can you believe that? I can’t. Since I walked out those shitty sliding doors on that beautiful Thursday afternoon and escaped into freedom time has gone by a lot faster. I wish you could see my old office building, it was straight out of your cliche office nightmares. A big, looming, brown turd of a building with carpet so old and crusty I never put my handbag directly on it. The halogen lights were migraine inducing and the boiling water used to leak out of the permanently fixed hot water dispenser on the wall and tried to burn your hand each day.

I’m grateful for those days because without them I wouldn’t appreciate my newfound freedom anywhere near as much. The first day I sat down at my home office to start working on Little Grey Box full-time I was totally overwhelmed. For months I had dreams and ideas run through my head constantly, but with my full-time job I didn’t have the energy or time to make those ideas happen.

When I finally did, it took me a few months to get into a groove. It’s a weird feeling not having a boss dishing out work to you or checking the quality of what you’re doing. It’s even weirder when you don’t have to ask anyone if you can take holidays or have a day off… you can slack off and look at Facebook all freaking day if you want to, ain’t nobody give a damn.

I’ve learned a lot in the past year and today I want to share with you some of the things I’ve learned since quitting my job.

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1. Stress is really bad

When you do something you actually want to do and enjoy doing each and every day, your stress levels diminish. I used to be stressed up to my eyeballs, worried about deadlines and workload, conflict with co-workers, having work appropriate outfits, prepping for meetings, getting my lunch ready, having to wash my hair, getting enough sleep but not wanting to sleep because it brought me closer to waking up… for work.

That kind of stress has a really distinct feel to it. It’s draining, exhausting and just plain nasty. It makes you feel yucky and you don’t want to feel that way, but you can’t help it. It’s soul-sucking and morale destroying. Even the word morale… I’m not sitting around in my home office trying to boost my own morale… I have bucket loads of morale just laying around going unused because I want to do what I do each day.

The toll that kind of stress takes on your mind and body is horrible. I used to get the worst headaches, be sick quite often and have little energy to do anything else. Over the past year, I’ve learned what it feels like to live stress-free and I have felt the HUGE impact that has made on my life and my happiness.

2. Motivation comes from honesty

Now that I do something I love doing, I have boundless amounts of energy and motivation to actually do it. I remember sitting at my stupid grey desk in my poo-brown building, staring at my computer screens (yep, I had two) and trying to mentally will myself to do something. Sometimes I would kind of ‘come to’ and realise I had just been sitting there, staring motionless at my screens for a really long time… like a total looney bird.

Being honest with myself and acknowledging the things I like to do and actually doing them has meant I am really motivated. I have goals in my mind and heart that I want to achieve and a never-ending source of energy and motivation to make them happen.

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3. Life is meant to be fun

There was a time when I didn’t believe that. I thought life was all about working to earn money to pay bills so you could have all the things you want in life and that would make you happy. Idiot.

It turns out, life is meant to be fun. Every day is supposed to be beautiful and wonderful and fun. I guess I didn’t have the energy or enough happiness in my heart to enjoy them or see the awesome stuff going on all around me and appreciate it. Now I’m in a better place and grateful for every day I get to sit at my desk, like I am right now, and take all the things in my brain and type them out for you to read. How is that real? How is that happening? It’s the most wonderful thing ever and it makes me feel so happy and free that I realise those things are more important than possessions.

4. Nobody judges you for following your dreams

Not one person has said to me, “You might regret it if you take a chance to follow your dreams.” Not. One. At our core, we all have our own hopes and dreams for the future and we all know what it’s like to feel regret. There ain’t a person I know who would judge me for taking a chance… and if they aren’t judging me, I’m pretty sure they aren’t judging you either. It’s amazing the support you can find and the people you connect with when you let your heart out of the bag and just go for it. So many people can relate to how you feel, it’s a wonderful thing.

Phoebe Photographing

5. We find ways of finding our unhappiness, but it doesn’t need to be that way

Before I quit my job I was really fit and Matt was pretty pleased with how my booty was looking in tight jeans. I was too! Since I left my job my body shape has changed and I’m not as jacked as I used to be. At first, this was a bit upsetting because I liked how strong I had felt. But then something occurred to me… I used to go to training every day after work because I was so angry and stressed and tightly wound that I felt like I was going to either scream or cry. By working out I was able to make my body hurt and exhaust my mind, which made me vent all the yucky stuff I had been holding onto that day. Even though I was ripped as a mother-flipper, I was really unhappy.

Some days, those training sessions were the only thing that brought me back to life. Now I’m in a better place mentally I don’t crave that outlet for my negative emotions because I don’t have them. It’s a bit of a trade-off I guess, but I’m comfortable being happy and a little squidgy around the edges as opposed to unhappy and hanging out for the gym every day so I can vent my rage.

6. How to be the zen master

For a while there I was projecting my unhappiness on a lot of the things and people around me. Yes, my old office poo building was one of them, as were co-workers, tasks I had to do, dodgy friends… everything else around me was the source of my discontent. I did everything possible to avoid putting the responsibility on myself, the only person who got me here and the only person who could get me the heck outta here too.

I’d let people get to me and drag me down, upset me and frustrate me. Since leaving my job and knowing what it feels like to be happy and really, truly experiencing that, I’ve learned that no bad feeling can ever compare to how awesome happiness feels. It’s easy to be the zen master and let negative crap bounce off you when you have something really good in your heart. I’ve learned to be able to look at people and see they aren’t really angry or upset with me, they’re upset with something going on within them that has nothing to do with me at all. I’ve been there bro, I know!

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Have you taken a leap of faith? What have you learned from your experiences in your current job? What have you learned changing jobs or careers? I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions, so please share in the comments below or on Facebook here.

Phoebe is a travel writer and photographer with a love for storytelling and making people laugh. Matt is a videographer and photographer with a passion for the great outdoors and big adventures. Together we inspire big adventures through our guides, videos, vlogs and photographs. Find out more about us here.



31 Comments on 6 Things I’ve learned since quitting my job

  1. Hi,
    I’m just wondering how you got your job in Sumbawa?/ where are they advertised etc? I’m a teacher in Australia, & my hubby does contract work at Newmont in Sumbawa from time to time & we would love for me to get a teaching position at the school there, but not even sure how I apply for jobs at the school? Tried googling but there’s not much info on teaching positions in Sambawa & not sure where the vacancies would even be advertised. Any advice/ tips would be awesome.
    Cheers mate.


  2. I read this because secretly I want to be a full time blogger as well, but I have no idea how to get there. I have only just found your blog, but do you have any tips on getting started as a full time blogger?
    I too blog about travel, and have a small blog which I started only 3 months ago (in Danish…) but I want it to grow:)
    I can’t wait to read more on this blog!


    • Hello Anne! Thanks for the comment 🙂 my advice would be to be authentic, honest and share from your heart. Share frequently and openly and your audience will grow organically. Be bold in approaching brands you want to work with. There are lots of great resources out there to help blogger grow their audience. Blog society is a good one. Above all, always trust your instincts and just go for it. Commit to it with your whole heart.


  3. I did the exact same thing and took a leap of faith the quit my job and put my passion into what I love. Bali! I now am running two holiday rentals; wwwv.villasaudara.com which makes me smile each and every day 🙂


  4. I honestly wanted to cry with joy when I read this. You’re such an inspiration. I just wanted to thank you ♥


  5. Sandra | Photobook Moments // April 13, 2015 at 10:37 am // Reply

    Great post Phoebe! It’s lovely to see how happy and appreciative you are of your new life! You owe it all to yourself! Well done on chasing your dreams xx


  6. Malin's eating // April 12, 2015 at 2:17 am // Reply

    Inspiring, I’m thinking about going freelance butneed that extra push to dare …


  7. Very inspiring post! In autumn it will be a year since I quit my job, and ever since, I’ve been working to improve my skills so I can work for myself. I’ve never been happier. It’s so rewarding to have so much freedom and happiness. Best way to go around, if you ask me 🙂 Have a lovely day and best of luck!


  8. I love this post. It’s so inspiring x


  9. I’ve been planning on quitting mine as well for several months now. Still in the phase of really making up my mind to actually doing it instead of just planning to move out. I want to do it as soon as I can but my heart is not 100% prepared to compromise for whatever it is that awaits me.


    • I had fears and reservations too, those are normal and great because they stop you from doing something that puts your life in danger. I guess I had a moment where I realised I could wait forever or just trust my heart and try… and suddenly the idea of staying in my job felt impossible. It doesn’t mean I still wasn’t scared, because I was, but taking that leap taught me that when you follow your heart, things just work out. They just have a way of working out somehow. I don’t know if there will ever be a point when you feel 100% ready… it’ll always feel like you need more money saved or more confirmation of things or more security… sometimes you just have to say, “well, now is as good a time as any” and give it a shot 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes Phoebe, you were right on that there can never be a time when we are 100% ready to take the risk especially when it involves such things as security. I’ll find my courage in time. Taking it from someone who has been here where I am today, I have no doubt life would become more exciting and rewarding once I follow my heart’s lead. Thank you. 😀


  10. Lo @ Travel the Unbeaten Path // April 9, 2015 at 8:13 am // Reply

    The positive energy from this post is contagious! Reading it made me truly happy for you – and I don’t even know you in person! I took the leap also, and left a poop office building and all the stress and BS that went with it, went back to school so I could teach. The feeling of FINALLY doing something you love is just amazing. Good for you!

    Lo – http://www.traveltheunbeatenpath.com


    • Reading your words, you feel like a kindred spirit 🙂 I love that you’ve found your freedom too. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment, I really appreciate it Louise xx


  11. pintsizeperspectives // April 9, 2015 at 3:41 am // Reply

    I love your posts, this one definitely resonates with me. However I am still at that old job and it is still sucking the life out of me. I guess what I am wondering is how do you transition? What kind of homework did you have to do and savings did you have to put aside to be able to sustain yourself through the transition? I love the idea of walking out of my office building and letting the stress fall off. Just don’t want to be replaced by the stress of the looming rent payment.. anyways interested in how you practically prepared yourself for such a change.



    • I know that soul-sucking phase so well. It’s a good thing though as it drives you to get out of there faster. I was earning a small income from my writing before I left, so I knew I wasn’t walking out the door with no money coming in. I guess you have to make plans and adjustments for what’s coming your way. My lifestyle has changed a lot and I don’t waste money on things I don’t need, just because I have the money to spend. You may need to look at supplementing your income somehow? just to give you peace of mind that you have some money coming in to pay big bills. In the end, I had to put ALL my fears on the shelf and just take the jump. What was the worst that would happen? I just get another job and life goes on. There’s no situation where I end up without a home or food to eat, so things can’t end up that bad. At some point you just push all those worries aside, because there are no guarantees, and take the jump! It is the best feeling you can imagine 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Sabihah Abi // April 9, 2015 at 1:18 am // Reply

    Reblogged this on Sabihah Abi.


  13. http://theenglishprofessoratlarge.com // April 9, 2015 at 1:03 am // Reply

    Good for you! Unless you’re working at something you love, it isn’t worth getting up in the morning. Life is not meant to be a chore. Enjoy!


  14. emmawomble // April 8, 2015 at 10:27 pm // Reply

    It sounds like an amazing life. Unfortunately as much as I love travel, the things I am also interested in don’t fit so much into being on the road. I think working a year or so here, a year or so there, in different countries will be my compromise. Plus there are advantages of truly getting to know a place and people there compared to being on the road. As a student, although I’ll to one place for a year, I’ll have the flexibility to enjoy myself in the Netherlands and explore the rest of the country at the weekends. Maybe I’ll change my view if I ever end up in a job that’s no fun at all. I was just wondering though, if it’s every daunting working for yourself? Have you ever had moments where you’ve had to really worry about having enough money to keep travelling?


    • Your plans sounds great, Emma. Sounds like everything is going to fall into place perfectly for you!

      I have never had a moment where I’ve felt daunted or worried about money to travel. It feels like what I’m doing is the only option for me, it’s like needing air. I have to do it. Because that feeling is so strong things always work out. When you want something bad enough and it’s the only option for you, it just clicks. I have everything I want and need to be happy and live my life how I want. I hope that makes sense 🙂


  15. aradhnasethi // April 8, 2015 at 7:35 pm // Reply

    Hey Phoebe, It was wonderful reading your thoughts. I quit my job three months ago. Honestly, I’m lost. I am looking for ‘myself’ – but I am a happier person – and people notice!
    To take that leap of faith is one huge thing… what it lands you into is quite a risk to take. But you’ve done it. I have too. Lets see where this leads to! 🙂 Good to know I’m not the alone in this space !


  16. Oh my god Phoebe! Your blog REALLY resonated with me. It’s been 3 months since I quit my day job too. It’s been fun getting into the groove of everyday life and I’m learning so much about my business and me on a daily basis. I enjoyed reading your blog because I have walked/am walking the same path…..and when you wrote: “…brown turd of a building with carpet so old and crusty I never put my handbag directly on it. The halogen lights were migraine inducing and the boiling water used to leak out of the permanently fixed hot water dispenser on the wall and tried to burn your hand each day.” It’s like we worked at the same place! Ha! Thanks for another great post, keep ’em coming! 🙂


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