I’ve been following Traveling Jersey Girl’s story on twitter and reading her blog and I am impressed with how she started her side hustle and then developed a plan to leave her full time job. It’s clear that the decision to leave a full time job is not always easy and can be scary at times. When you put a plan in place before you quit and start actively saving for your “after life” you’ve at least taken the precautions to try to create a safety net for yourself so that you have somewhat of an idea of what to expect when you are on your own. Traveling Jersey Girl not only has a blog but she also has a product line in the works and a book coming out. I wanted to ask her some questions about her thought process on quitting and find out more about what drove her to make a change and what she plans on doing afterwards. See my interview below:
So, what made you want to quit your job?
Well, it’s kind of a long story, I’ll tell you the short version. I have my BA degree in Forensic Psychology and started working in the mental health field. My first job was great at first and I was naïve, excited to help people with severe mental illness get back on their feet. Six months into the job, everyone quit. I was the only staff member left to hold down the fort, so to speak. I stuck it out and stayed. I was going home crying almost every day from the stress and anxiety from the job. Eventually, staying another six months or so too long, I couldn’t stomach it anymore, I was more or less burnt out. I was doing my body, mind and spirit a disservice by not listening to it. I quit without having a job lined up and was so relieved. I found something unrelated to my field for a while which was great to have minimal stress compared to what I dealt with in mental health.
For some strange reason, I don’t think I’ll understand, I decided to go back to mental health but this particular job was less hands on and only dealt with those with depression which was something I could handle. My boss and I did not see eye to eye and I spoke my mind about her lack of experience in mental health and her inappropriate micromanaging of staff. I was more or less fired after that. I’ve never been fired before and in an act of desperation, I had a contact for another mental health job in a hospital. I called and eventually got the job. It was more hands on than the first job I had and four months in, I knew I made a mistake. I again, stayed a year too long, not listening to my body. My stress and anxiety was worse than ever before and I felt like I was losing my mind. I was beyond burnt out. I was losing sleep, I couldn’t focus at work, I tried to dodge my clients as much as I could (I know that’s horrible) but I couldn’t handle listening to horrible traumatic stories all day, every day. I had a moment with my therapist who told me, “You need to quit.” I was shocked by her saying that being she is a therapist too, she said, “you are so resourceful and you’ve done this before, you can find another job.” I put in my notice the next day. And the sense of relief was indescribable. My anxiety was gone. And I can’t imagine how I’ll feel once I spend my last month at this place.
What do you plan to do when you quit?
I currently have my travel blog that I officially made an LLC. I wrote a book about all my travels which will published next year, I created my own product line that will be out soon. That is my ultimate goal: To be a business owner and my own boss. I still need a job in the meantime, and I will do any type of office work to “pay the bills” and perhaps waitress on the side for extra cash.
Will you miss anything about a traditional job?
No, I will not. I am not built for the traditional job. I have an entrepreneurial spirit and I believe strongly that is what I’m meant to do.
What did you fear the most when you first considered leaving your job?
Not having health insurance honestly. In the states, it’s a big deal. But I have found an affordable health insurance for when I leave.
What will you do for health insurance?
I have found this insurance called Oscar Insurance which is much more affordable than Cobra. It’s something to protect me in an emergency.
What was the reaction of friends and family?
Surprisingly, every single person was supportive. Everyone believed it was the right decision for me.
What do you think is the best part about traveling?
Meeting locals and other travelers. It shows me how small a world we live in. It doesn’t matter where I am, we all have something in common.
Why did you become an Italian citizen?
When I was backpacking in Switzerland back in 2008, I fell in love with the town of Interlaken. I wanted to work at the hostel I was staying at and the manager told me, “Get your EU passport and you can come work.” I knew there had to be a loophole somehow. I was able to obtain my citizenship through my great-grandfather. It took me six years of research and waiting, and I was able to move to Interlaken and work for the Summer.
What are you looking most forward to in this new chapter?
I’m looking forward to following what my gut is telling me. I will never put my body through the stress I’ve been in the last four years. I’m excited and optimistic for my business adventures, my books and where they will take me. I am aware this is a risk but if I wait for the perfect time, I may never take the leap. I’d rather fail knowing I tried than not having tried at all.
Any tips for those considering leaving their jobs?
I understand everyone isn’t in the position to leave their jobs. I am aware, I’m fortunate to not have many bills, I don’t have a family and I have a decent amount of money saved. I strongly believe in having a realistic view of your budget and spending habits and eliminating bills you don’t need or subscriptions so you can save money. I hardly go out to eat and bring my lunch to work every day, and I don’t buy anything unless I absolutely need it. I have five months before I’m in “trouble” but I have faith I will find something else before then. If your job is affecting your health and relationships, you have to make a decision to leave. If you have means to do so, do it. If you don’t, I recommend creating an exit plan, sometimes knowing you have a plan will make it tolerable until you can put your notice in.
At the end of the day, life is too damn short to be miserable especially if it’s affecting your health and personal life. Nothing is ever worth that.