A Memorial Day visit to a friend’s house in Washington D.C. was what started it. My partner and I had gone down for a weekend visit with old friends who had just moved down there. Joe was a successful lawyer and he worked among the best of the best. He made six-figures and was living the high life, or so it seemed.
The weekend was spent relaxing and sipping pina coladas by the pool at their beautiful home in Fairfax, Virginia. During the weekend, Joe told us that he’d just given 30 days notice at his law firm. He was very good at his job and made a lot of money, but he hated it. He’d decided that was going to go back to school to pursue a career as a law librarian.
The entire ride home to New York was spent in deep thought. I was stunned that Joe would give up everything, the house, the beautiful cars, and the six-figure salary, just because he wasn’t happy with his job. I admired him for doing it, and I couldn’t help but think of my own situation.
For at least a couple of years prior, I hated getting up every day to go to my job. I’d been working for a big name bank for over 13 years, and the job had grown very stressful as I moved up the ladder. I was a sales manager at that time and I hated all of the pressures that came with it. I consider myself fortunate to have had the career I’d had in the bank, but I had become miserable.
There had been a merger recently with a large insurance company and with that things began to go downhill fast. New people without any knowledge of banking were coming in and changing things drastically. Sales became the primary focus, with little regard for benefitting customers. A new manager came into my branch and began to make everyone’s lives miserable. I couldn’t take it anymore.
Thoughts of the bank filled my head during that ride. Joe’s story inspired me. If could quit his high-paying job just to pursue happiness and a more fulfilling vocation, why couldn’t I? I talked about it with my partner and with his blessings I decided to give my notice the very next day.
I always regretted dropping out of college when I was younger and so going back became my first goal. I cashed in my pension and my 401K and went to my local university to get a copy of their course catalog. At that point I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to study.
A wise person once told me that the perfect job is one where you utilize your talents and you that you enjoy doing. With this in mind, I began to reflect on my strengths and my talents. I dove into the course catalog and went page by page, making a list of anything that seemed appealing. Every couple of days I’d revisit the list and eliminate one or two.
After a few days of this process, I finally found what I’d been looking for. I decided to become a teacher of English to speakers of other languages. Becoming an ESL teacher was a natural fit for me. My interest in languages and compassion for other people would serve me well in my new endeavor.
It’s the end of summer now and I’ll be heading into my 8th year as an ESL teacher. My income is now above what I was making in the bank, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision. The one thing I learned from this whole experience is that it’s never too late to start over. I’ve found my bliss!