Congratulations, you quit your job!?!?

The other day, I congratulated an acquaintance.  For what, you ask?  For quitting her full-time job.  Yes, for quitting her full-time job.  The word escaped me before I could even catch it.  But you know what?  I owned it.  And I repeated it.  Why?  Because her eyes lit up when I said “Congratulations.”  So, the second time I said it, I added a head nod with a “good for you.”

Why?  Because quitting a job takes courage.  It takes courage to listen to your gut and put feelings of want and desire into action.  I’m sure there are plenty of women who quit their jobs on a whim, without a plan for a next step, let alone a plan for the next several steps.  But I’d also bet that there are plenty of women who quit their jobs, not on a whim, but on a deep understanding of their situation.

She has reflected.  She has weighed the pros and cons of quitting against staying and sticking it out.  She has negotiated with her mental health to stick it out until 5 o’clock.  She has bitten her tongue hard enough to hold back the tears.  She has counted the days until her next bonus payment.  She consulted with a career coach.  She has run the numbers an infinite number of times.

But life is short and time is wasting away.  She stares at her FU fund balance and contemplates how much money she needs before she allows herself to make her first withdrawal.  Her frustrations morph into dreams of the future.  She dreams of a better place where she earns compensation commensurate with her experience, her talent, and her potential.

So, rather than draining her company’s resources and pretending she has a passion for her work, she chooses to pursue a career path less traveled.  She chooses to march to the beat of her own drum and she quits.  Yes, she has resigned and fired her employer.  And if she’s conducted her due diligence and been truthful to herself, then she has made the right decision and won’t look back with regret.

So, the next time you meet a friend who says she quit her job, congratulate her.  Instead of jumping to the conclusion that she has lost her mind and is suffering from a career crisis, congratulate her.  Express interest in her future rather than judgment about her past.  She’s in a period of transition and it might make you uncomfortable.  But she’s in between opportunities, courageously searching for career fulfillment, and that, is reason for celebration.

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