How I Quit My Job
By Curtis Aiken.
Following a recent trip to Bali, Candice and I were feeling inspired and frustrated at the same time. We wanted to do more with our lives but we felt so limited with our time because we were putting the best hours of each day into our jobs, then coming home frazzled only wanting to relax.
We had recently joined a co-op club that offered members’ health and wellbeing foods at just over wholesale prices. The owners of the club mentioned they were looking at selling the club for only the cost of the products because they wanted to walk away from the club to spend more time with their children. Owning a health foods store or a co-op club had never entered our minds previously however we felt like this was an opportunity presented to us from God. Over the next couple of weeks, ideas of how we could run the club kept popping into our minds and then over Easter we decided to commit to the idea and offered to buy the club from the current owners.
Although we truly felt we were in flow with this decision because everything was falling into place with little effort, we still felt out of balance because we had swapped our early morning yoga and meditation ritual for late nights on the computer tending to business matters. If only we didn’t have to go to work during the day…
Fast forward to Thursday 26th of April, I remember it like it was only 3 weeks ago, maybe because as I am writing this, it was exactly 3 weeks ago. On this Thursday morning, like every other, I was standing on the train heading to work wishing I was home doing something I was more passionate about. I asked Candice “what would you think if I called you today and said I resigned?” She responded by saying “we would figure it out, we would make it work”.
I talked about it a little more with her until she exclaimed “would you just hold on already!?”
“What?” I asked, “I thought you were all for it?”
“No not the job, the hand rail. Just hold on to the handrail!”
I’m not a germ-a-phobe, I just don’t care to touch the train handrail that 10,000 other grubby hands have held over the past few years. Instead when I am standing I assume the position that a surfer would, balancing evenly across both feet adjusting my leg muscles as the train rocked me around. My swaying body seemed to be getting to Candice a little when she was trying to have a conversation with me. We laughed at the misunderstanding until the train pulled in to my station and I kissed her goodbye for the day and walked away in deep contemplation about quitting my job.
I didn’t know what to do, all I knew is that I could not successfully run our new club while I was working full time and my manager said there was little chance I could only work part time. In my mind, I cried out to God and asked Him to give me a sign, a clear sign rather than a bunch of confused thoughts.
Ask and ye shall be given. Before I exited the train station, I passed this sign which I had passed a thousand or more times before but had never really noticed. Today it spoke to me:
(please excuse the quality of the photos, these are the actual signs I saw as I went back and took the photos with my phone’s camera)
I wanted a sign and God literally gave me one saying “we love change” and “no change, no future”.
“OK”, I thought to myself, “that was a well-placed sign.” But was it enough for me?
On the way out of the station I looked up above the barriers and read the word “exit”. Usually this word is just labelling the way out, but today it was telling me to exit. 5 metres out of the station, a sign on the wall gave me another message:
I was definitely running late for work but was I really running late, or was I running away from what I was supposed to be doing with my life?
One of our comittments for the co-op club we had recently bought was that we would continue holding a market stall on Sundays at the Growers’ Green Farmers’ Market in Fremantle. Deep in thought I climbed the steps in front of the train station and walked past a lady holding a reusable fabric bag. I couldn’t read the words on the bag as I passed it but I felt the urge to look back to see what it said. The bag I looked back at could have had anything printed on it but it didn’t have just anything on it, it had the “Fremantle Markets” logo on it. What are the chances? Literally 20 metres had passed between the first sign with the protesting piggy banks to the fourth sign hanging from this lady’s shoulder.
We had the intention to launch an online store for the co-op club in order to sell products to people all around Western Australia (WA) so they too could have access, rather than just limit it to Fremantle. We would receive the orders online then deliver the food to people’s front door via courier. I crossed the intersection and walked past a truck parked on the side of the road. On the back of the truck there were words printed to the effect of “the best food delivery service in WA”. I had a little laugh to myself at how perfectly placed all these signs were and I had a huge smile on my face as I walked all the way up Howard St towards my workplace. At the top of the street I noticed a doorway on the side of the building I worked in that I had passed many times before but never took any notice of. On the side of my building were the words:
The last resort? Of all places for this sign to be appear, it was on the side of the building I worked in which told me that this place was my last resort, not my first choice.
I sat down at my desk but couldn’t focus on my work on this particular morning. Actually, that wasn’t out of the ordinary; I had no desire to focus on my work on any given day. Following my article about healing teeth naturally I had been taking extra special care of my pearly off-whites including flossing after every meal and snack. I just noticed I was all out of floss and so decided to go for a wander across the road to a health food shop to grab some more. Any excuse to get away from my computer for a few minutes!
As I walked up to the pedestrian crossing I noticed the following sign on a bus shelter:
The messages were getting less cryptic and more to the point. Was it time to start quitting? I walked to the health shop but they were all out of floss. What a shame, I had to go for a longer walk through the city instead of going straight back to work.
I found myself in a local arcade between two of the main CBD streets, trying to find another health food shop. I couldn’t find the floss I was looking for but I don’t think that walk was ever really about the floss. In the same arcade was a beautiful little shop called the Blue Budha that sells an amazing range of books, crystals, incense and other spiritually focussed products. The staff in the Blue Budha shops are not just retail assistants, they are an intuitive group of souls who are in those shops to positively touch their customers lives through every encounter. I thought to myself that if anyone could give me guidance, the staff in the Blue Budha would know how to guide me.
I stopped in and met Hollie, who I confided in immediately. I was surely not her typical customer. I said to her, “I want to quit my job today. What do you think?”
Having never met each other before, she looked deep into my eyes and studied my face for several seconds before saying “I can see that you are clear about the path you are walking. You are focussed and you have good intentions.” She said a few other things too, all of them indicating that I already knew what I was to do when I got back to work.
I thanked her and told her I was going back to work to resign and I would see her later to tell her all about it.
I walked into the office past my manager who also happens to be my best friend and my spiritual teacher. Without saying a word I looked at him and nodded towards the vacant office at the end of the walkway as I kept walking toward it. A moment later he walked in behind me and I closed the door. I said to him “you are an intuitive person. Open yourself up and tell me what you feel, what messages are you receiving? Why have I asked you to come in here with me?”
He sat down, paused for a bit and then said “I have been wondering why you haven’t resigned already”. He had no idea about the journey through the city I had just been on, nor did I tell him why I called him into the office. We have had many, many conversations before but today he knew exactly what I was asking him without me having to say the words.
We had a long conversation and I told him of my intent to resign that day so long as I received Candice’s blessing. Candice was easy to convince: “Hi beautiful, I think I want to quit now. Are you ok with me resigning?”
“Sure, absolutely. We will be ok.” She said.
“Thanks, I need to go do something now. I’ll speak to you again soon.”
Minutes later I had submitted my four weeks’ notice and I felt lighter than I had felt in many, many years.
A couple of nights earlier I had called my life coach and friend, Gill, and told her I wanted to quit my job but was slightly freaking out about the idea. I let her know I wanted to quit by May 15th, which was still 3 weeks in the future at the time. She asked me what my life would have to look like for me to be comfortable with quitting my job on May 15th. The answer to that sort of question would be different for everyone but as I considered the details of my life such as how much money I would need to have in the bank and what exit strategy I would need in place if things didn’t work out etc, I realised what my life really needed to look like was not physical at all. I have been planning every detail of my life since the day I was born and all that did for me was stress me out and give me multiple sclerosis, but now I just wanted to surrender control and trust that God would catch me when I took a leap of faith.
This is why two days later I did just that, I leapt and trusted God would catch me. There would never be a right time if I waited for my physical circumstances to be perfect. I am 30 years old and I came to realise recently that nothing has ever gone wrong in my life. Ever. (nor has anything ever gone wrong in your life, but I will save that for a whole other article). It is the definition of insanity to believe that if nothing has gone wrong in 30 years, that something could possibly go wrong for me next week.
So I asked God for a sign and he gave me a dozen, however there was one more sign for me and I was going to see it after lunch on my walk back to the place formerly known as work:
I feel better now!
Title image credit: Kevin Krebs
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