I mentioned in a previous post that at some point, I would be talking about the actual process of quitting my job. I wanted to write about it because I thought it would be immensely cathartic for me, but I’ve actually also had several friends asking about how that all went.
It went well. And it was sad.
I should mention here that in no way was quitting my job like a big “fuck you” to my law firm or anyone I worked with. I would never, ever want to do that because I truly loved every minute of working at the firm, I’ve loved the clients, I’ve loved the practice area, and I will be heartbroken to walk away from it. In a lot of ways, it was precisely because I liked the firm so much that I was able to recognize that this life wasn’t for me. Waking up every day and going to a job you like, with people you like, but feeling unfulfilled in the career you’ve chosen is a significant marker for knowing that it’s time to move on.
How do you actually quit your job to travel the world, though? I wasn’t sure, but I knew if I could, I would want to do it like I try to do most other things in life (but may not always succeed): with love, thoughtfulness and consideration for myself and others.
I had a long conversation with the partner at my law firm, who has been an incredible mentor and friend, when we were alone in the office. I wanted to make clear that in no way was my leaving about the firm, or the work, or anything related to the practice. In that vein, I gave the firm two and a half months notice. Sure, that sounds like a long time, and I could have chosen to leave practice slightly before my lease was up or delayed giving notice, but I wanted to afford every opportunity, and as much time as possible, for the firm to hire my replacement. My apartment lease is up on July 16, so I knew that would be the date I took off, and I decided to make my last day of work July 15.
I have already had moments where I’ve questioned the wisdom of working until the very last minute, and potentially not having time to set things up for my journey the way I’d like, but ultimately, I feel strongly that it was the right decision to give my firm as much advance notice as possible and to stay and work as hard as I can for as long as I’m here.
It’s truly bittersweet, because of course, while I don’t think being a lawyer is right for me forever, leaving a job you hate is much easier than leaving one that has been so good to you.
I’ve been surprised at myself that although I feel completely ready for this new chapter in my life, I’ve also experienced significant doubt and fear (more on that, I’m sure, later) for leaving the comfort and stability of the life I took so long to build. Leaving this job is a big part of that. We all have our fantasies of never answering to another boss and being free, but wrapped within that same idea is also that when we finally do leave, we lose another family. Loss, in any fashion, even if it’s of your own volition, is never easy.
I haven’t yet begun the process of the physical transition, and it will probably be at least a few weeks before I do. Things like taking my degrees and licenses down from the wall and clearing out my drawers can all wait. Right now, I have been spending my moments at the firm working as hard as I can and taking mental snapshots of moments that I know I will want to remember.
I also feel grateful that after spending quite a bit of time searching, while I may not have found the right path for me in the field of law and at this firm, I did, at least, build a wonderful network and the beginnings of a practice that I will be sad to leave. There’s something comforting in knowing that I am capable of building and maintaining relationships, and being good at what I do, even if what I do now isn’t what I want to do forever.
Since the tears are actually flowing now, typing this, it’s probably time to wrap up this post. As always, I’m happy to hear from anyone with words of wisdom for dealing with similar situations, and how to best get through them, as I know I’ve still yet so much to learn.
Until next time, and as always, cheers.