How I Changed My Life by Quitting My Jobcomments (11) October 12th, 2008
There was a lot of crying on my part, but a month before my wedding, I was finally able to convince my fiancé that I wanted out. Not out of our impending marriage. I wanted out of the rat race. I wanted out of a career choice that no longer interested me. I wanted out of the cubicle, out of working for “the man,” and out of not feeling fulfilled with my job.
My frustration was hard for my fiancé to understand. J.B. got great satisfaction out of his job, even though he also worked for “the man.” In his case, though, “the man” was the President of the United States, his Commander-in-Chief. Maybe it’s because, as part of the Air Force, J.B. had a different work ethic and didn’t believe in quitting. Perhaps he was able to detach himself emotionally from his work because he was a guy. When I explained to him how unhappy I was working in public relations, he immediately tried to think of ways to fix the situation. But nothing he could say would make me love writing captivating press releases for boring companies.
He relented when he could see how truly miserable I was, and a week before my May 25 wedding, I packed up my cubicle and said goodbye to my coworkers. To civilians, it may seem like terrible timing to quit a job just before getting married, but this was one instance where the military was working for us. Once we were husband and wife, I would be eligible to receive J.B.’s health insurance—free of charge. His pay would increase because he would have a dependent.
Plus, two weeks after our wedding, J.B. was going to be deployed for the first time. Without him around for 60 days or so, there would be fewer groceries to buy, smaller bar tabs to pay, and less shopping excursions to take. We’d be a one-income family, but there’d only be one of us at home.
We decided that I could use the time apart over the summer to “find myself,” decide what I really wanted to do with my life, and what would fulfill me. But I already had an idea. It was an idea that had been waiting patiently in the back of my mind until the timing was right. I’ve always wanted to open a stationery store, and with a whole summer to plan my venture, now seemed like the right time.
“Why stationery?” everyone asked. I’ve always loved paper, from the personalized notepads my grandparents used to make me at their printing shop to the colorful Lisa Frank paper I’d trade with my bunkmates at camp to the funny greeting cards I’d buy but never send because I enjoyed them too much. I took pride in finding birthday and special-occasion cards that not only reflected my sensibilities but also the personalities of the recipients. And in the last couple of years, as I learned about letterpress and Gocco, I began to see stationery as small works of art that deserved to be framed as much as mailed. Simply put, stationery made me happy.
Plus, there were no stores in Omaha that catered to my needs. I bought all of my stationery online. I could just see myself sitting in a small, well-designed shop surrounded by beautiful paper catering to people just like me. I knew it would take a lot of hard work, but I was ready to devote all of my time and energy to a project that finally had meaning to me. I was determined to open a stationery store and thankfully had the support of my soon-to-be husband and my family.
This post is the first in a series about my adventures in starting a business with absolutely no idea what I'm doing. Come along with me as I learn exactly what's involved in opening a store and just how life-changing my decision to quit my public relations job was. If you have any advice or words of encouragement for me, please feel free to comment below. I would love to hear from you!