Leaving a Secure Job When the Risk Feels Scary

“It’s not who you are that holds you back. It’s who you think you’re not.” ~Unknown

Over the past four years, I followed a career path that felt soulless.

As I moved from city to city, climbing the corporate ladder, I noticed that, ironically, the bigger my paycheck, the emptier I felt. Something about advertising felt lifeless, cold, and desperate to me.

But I ignored this feeling and worked over it, drank over it, binged, exercised, and ate over it.

I pressed forward like a steel freight train on a mission to find my happiness. When I got to that new level, the thing I thought would make me happy was still just a few more achievements off, just a couple more dollars away. I was always looking “out there” to find my peace.

I had convinced myself that this was the best way to live my life. It became normal to cry in the bathroom at work. It wasn’t until I got laid off one year ago, from my big marketing job in Chicago that I recognized miracles do exist.

I picked up my depression and moved to the West Coast. I bought my dream car, adopted a dog, and landed a perfect boyfriend—and then I took another job in marketing.

It was only a few weeks until the fear-ridden depression started to nudge up against me. The cry festivals picked up again, and I walked around like a shell of a human being.

I would arrive to work lifeless, cold, and afraid to listen to my inner voice. I would say to myself, “I went to graduate school for a marketing degree, so I better stick to this.” But it just wasn’t what I wanted.

I was pretending to be the corporate climber. The more achievements, awards, cities, clients, and money I could get, the more I could say I was worthy. It was all a big circus, as I quietly hid myself behind the illusion of success and fulfillment.

I secretly longed for freedom. Every day I would sit under the fluorescent lights and cry inside.

I felt like a caged animal that wanted nothing more then to break free. But fear, and fear alone, was holding me back. Then one day I arrived to work, and the cage doors propped open.

For the second time, a company let me go. I felt like a schoolgirl who just received her first kiss. I was relieved, enthusiastic, and hopeful. Could it be I was actually happy?

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. The same day I was laid off, I applied for another job in advertising. “Insane” might as well have been my middle name.

It was the classic tale of trying to teach an old dog new tricks. I told myself it was just the company that didn’t work—that I could work at a different firm and everything would be better.

I got a job offer the next day and started the following week—once again, with more money, a new fancy title, and a cool office desk looking over a city park. I jumped right back in and gave it everything I had. But something was still off.

I would sit at my desk, and the giant twenty-two-inch computer screen would stare back at me. It was empty and cold. It was full of disdain, but really it was just mirroring me.

My gaze kept drifting to the window as I peered out at the three-story tall maple tree. The leaves waved at me. It was as if it was trying to seduce me, whispering, “Come and play outside. You, my dear, belong out here.”

I felt like a child not listening to the teacher, as I looked outside for comfort, anticipating the next recess. An overwhelming sensation took over my body, and my inner voice said, “You need to quit. Just walk away from this.”

My ego stepped in and screamed, “Whoa! Slow down sister, you don’t have a back-up job.”

The courageous person I wanted to be slowly shrunk into her shell. Within days it became increasingly hard to be someone I wasn’t supposed to be.

I would actually cry on my way into work. But fear of the unknown and fear of how I would make money saturated my body, keeping me in a numb static state.

Then, like a butterfly leaving the cocoon, I went into work and declared, “Today I will make a change. I will break my pattern.”

Naturally, I got scared and thought it wasn’t worth the risk since I was getting a steady paycheck, at least. But fate has a funny way of intervening and stepping in when we can’t do things ourselves.

One hour later my boss called a meeting with me. As I walked to the private office, I knew this was it. They were going to lay me off. Three times in a row, I was going to be lovely loser lay-off girl.

Part of me was relieved that this was about to happen, that they were going to do the dirty work that I couldn’t do.

It’s like waiting for someone to break up with you when you know they aren’t the one. Could I be given the chance to I walk away free yet again?

This meeting felt different. There was no “We’re going to lay you off.” There was a conversation about this not working the best way it could. My inner voice kept saying, “Resign. Resign now. Bow out now.”

My mouth opened and I exhaled, “I need to resign.”

A giant ball of energy burst outward from my heart and almost knocked my boss over. For the first time, I had let my inner voice, my heart, speak its truth. I felt alive. For the first time in my life I was empowered.

I had somehow found myself on the other side of my fear. The fear of the unknown is so large that at times it can eat us alive. But now that I am on the other side looking back, the fear isn’t nearly as bad as my head cracked it up to be.

Now I feel more at peace, more alive, and more comfortable than I have ever before. Fear was keeping me playing small. It has no place in my life anymore.

Now that I am jumping into the big sea of the unknown, I’ve realized I need clear objectives. My ultimate goal is to be a full-time travel writer and author. So I created a business plan for corporation “Me.” It includes:

I make X amount of money each month. I am featured in three magazines a month. I attend one press trip a season. I publish one book a year.  By setting concise goals, I have a focus and a clear objective to help me stay on track.

I’ve also started focusing more on what I want than what I don’t want.

I do daily visualizations about where I see myself in the future. I picture myself at book signings, traveling to foreign countries, and sharing my experiences with the world. I do not allow myself to focus on fears of where the money will come from. I only picture what I want.

It doesn’t matter where or how things manifest. I just trust that it will happen.

The universe always has our backs. I have not been disappointed yet. Less than a week after leaving advertising, I secured two travel writing jobs in other countries. The power is in trusting and taking at least one small action each day toward your goals.

We are going to find ourselves in many situations that don’t work for us. But we have the power to choose happiness. We can bring our own happiness back by choosing to follow our heart and listen to our inner voice.

Photo by Kenski1970

About Shannon Kaiser

Shannon Kaiser is founder of, a wonderland of adventure, fun, and fulfillment. A full-time travel writer, author, and adventure junkie, she inspires people to “love their life to the fullest” and make the most out of every moment.

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  • Kayla Albert

    Sometimes I forget why I do what I do – constantly looking for writing jobs and adamantly saying no to the regular 9-5 – but this post reminded me that I am EXACTLY where I need to be. I’m so inspired by people that are able to release what they think they “should” be doing in order to accept something that their soul tells them is right. I hope your journey gives you the satisfaction and happiness you so deserve!

  • WOW! I love your article and I’d love to hear more about your journey!

    You are courageous and an inspiration,x

  • Joy Darky

    sounds great when you don´t have kids or people depending on your paycheck….

  • Shannon this is a really inspiring story!


    A few days ago I wrote about a study where
    scientists implanted electrodes into the brains of rats. The electrodes were set
    up in such a way that the rats could experience pleasurable sensations by simply
    pressing a bar. Once the rats
    learned how it worked, they stopped all other activities in favour of
    obsessively pressing the bar until finally, they dropped dead of starvation and


    think we can get stuck in the same trap, seeking pleasure instead of real
    happiness. It’s great to hear about someone who has seen there’s more to life and had the courage to do
    something about it. Good luck on your adventure!

  • Julia

    How inspiring!! bets of luck to you with all of your new undertakings!

  • It’s funny how we talk ourselves out of things we KNOW we need to do in our hearts.  When we look back it’s never as scary as it was in our minds at the time.  How wonderful that you had the courage to finally pursue what you knew would make you happy!  Congrats, and thanks for sharing your wisdom here!

  • jen b

    This article couldn’t have come at a better time for me.  Thank you!

  • I’m in this process right now- quit my job as of May 31st and am *trying* not to go back to admin work… but like a few have said – it is tough when we have that fear – and that fear starts manifesting financially. 

  • Awesome article and life experience, thanks for sharing…

  • Karin

    This is an important point. Sometimes the important decisions we make in life affect others. We need to carefully consider the relationships, expectations, responsibilities, and commitments we’ve made. This does not mean you cannot make changes. However you should make them by first considering how it impacts others (negatively or positively) and then openly including a strategy for dealing with those impacts.

  • Jwr

    Precisely what I was typing. LOL

  • James

    I rarely ever make comments on articles like this, but I feel as though it’s my duty to chime in here.

    Read this article over once more and take it in. It is some of the best advice you will ever get. I was in the same exact position — working a dull job day in and day out, just getting by and dreading each day as I woke up. This, my friends, is a sign to resign. Get out of the job you hate and strive for that career about which you’ve drempt. The fact is: if you try hard enough and stay motivated, you can get to where you’d like to be. There is no stopping you.

    Thank you for posting this article.

  • KFerg

    This couldn’t have come across my screen at a more appropriate time. I quit my career in teaching to pursue a soulful Passion of mine. It take courage to set the “what if’s” aside and take the leap. Your story is an inspirational reminder that I am doing the right thing. Thank you for sharing!

  • Andre

    I couldn’t agree with you more Joy. I am always dismayed by stories of upper middle-class people casting off the burdens of society to follow their “inner self” with no mention of the people whose lives are dependent on their decisions.

    As a single father of one who is jobless six weeks away from being homeless and in massive debt, I don’t have the luxury of depending on the Universe. Sure Sharron’s story is wonderful, but it’s an abberation. As a practicing Buddhist I see this as antithetical to any tenant I’ve ever been taught. To say your inner peace is tied to materialistic ends saddens me.

    I hope one day you realize true peace has nothing to do with your job or social status.


  • ski6611

    Hi, thank you for your comment. this study is fascinating, I would love to connect with you more to learn about it and understand the study in depth. Thank you again.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for your kind words and for reading the article. Sincerely,

  • Anonymous

    Thank you Martin, I am glad you enjoyed it. Cheers, 

  • Inionbrigid

    @Shannon – I don’t normally do this, but please – if you’re serious about being a writer, for the love of mercy: “ladder” of success, not “latter” of success.  Please don’t mangle the language, unless it’s to make a point.

    @Andre – it’s “tenet”, not “tenant”.  Look up the difference, you’ll see what I mean.  For the record, I’ve walked in your shoes. I’m now running my own business, and my children have grown, prospered, and had children of their own – you will be all right.

  • mc

    I am going through this right now. thank you! Made me feel better about my decision!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you so much for sharing your comments. I am humbled by your words and thrilled that you enjoyed the story. Thank you for taking time to share. 
    Shannon Kaiser

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for sharing and I am happy my story came at the right time for you. Here’s to following our heart. 
    Much Love, 
    Shannon Kaiser

  • Anonymous

    Hi Kayla, 
    Thank you so much for taking time to share. Here is to the next chapter of our life:).
    shannon kaiser

  • Anonymous

    Hi Fiona, 
    Thank you so much. 

  • Hi Andre,

    My name is Lori and I run this site. I know you didn’t write this comment to me, but I hope it’s OK with you that I pop in here!

    Since I launched the site in 2009, I have published quite a few posts from
    people who have found the courage to leave jobs they didn’t love and
    open themselves up to something new. Inevitably, at least a couple
    people comment that the same choice is not available to them because
    they have people depending on them.

    I completely understand this instinct. As someone who does not have
    children, I know that it is a lot easier for me to make decisions
    because I only need to take care of myself.

    That being said, I think it’s so important that we all focus on what we can do to fill our
    time in the way that makes us happy–even if it’s not going to be easy,
    and instead needs to be a long-term goal. It’s not because materialistic
    ends lead to inner peace. It’s because we generally feel more
    purposeful and satisfied, not to mention confident, when we empower
    ourselves to at least try for a career that is fulfilling.

    I’m not saying it’s easy for everyone–it isn’t. I know that. It’s even
    harder when the economy isn’t doing well, which can make it difficult
    just to make ends meet. Still, I think it’s so important that we
    remember we are not the victims of our lives, even when we’re going
    through hard times. We always have choices. Sometimes they get limited,
    but they’re still there.

    This post and other like it are for people who are ready to ask themselves the question, “What do I really want?” It may also beg the question, “How hard will it be to get what I
    want?” And for some people, there will be a lot more obstacles.
    Regardless, I think we owe it to ourselves to start with the question
    and then at least try to make positive change. Not because we need a
    certain job to find inner peace, but because we deserve a chance to
    really enjoy how we spend our time.

    I’m so sorry to hear about the challenges you’re dealing with now. I hope that you have good friends and family supporting you as you plan your next steps!


  • Anonymous

    Hi Alannah,
    Yes, the mind plays silly tricks. It is freeing to follow our heart. Thank you for sharing and commenting on my story.
    Shannon Kaiser 

  • Anonymous

    Hi Lizz,
    Thank you for reading my story. I know how you feel I lived there for 3 years. Fear creeps in and runs the show, I picked up the book, “Creating Money, Key’s to Abundance” and it changes my view and total relationship to money. Hang in there and trust yourself. You are doing the right thing when you follow your heart. 
    Shannon Kaiser

  • Anonymous

    Hi Karen, thank you for reading my story. I am happy you commented, and you bring up fantastic points. Thank you for taking the time to respond.

  • I paid $32.67 for a XBOX 360 and my mom got a 17 inch Toshiba laptop for $94.83 being delivered to our house tomorrow by FedEX. I will never again pay expensive retail prices at stores. I even sold a 46 inch HDTV to my boss for $650 and it only cost me $52.78 to get. Here is the website we using to get all this stuff,

  • senseitrace

    Great article on leaving a job you are unhappy with but would you like to share your experience on how you transitioned to writing? 

  • Anonymous

    Hi Andre and Joy, Thank you for reading my story. I am touched by your comments and appreciate you taking the time to share. I couldn’t agree with you more about the impact we have on others and taking this into consideration. I have an immensely powerful structure around me and have built a strong support team. I did not get into the behind the scenes of consultation with them in this article but you nailed it, it is important to be responsible. Responsible for our loved ones and ourself, honoring our own path in life. I felt stuck too, For me I realized I always have a choice. Thank you again for sharing. I wish you the best. Shannon Kaiser

  • Anonymous

    Thank you Jen for taking time to read my story, I am glad you enjoyed it. Cheers,

  • Anonymous

    Hi Senseitrace,
    Thank you for reading my article, I have been writing part time for the past 3 years. The transition has been natural and gradual. I have been publishing articles and working on this aspect in the evenings and weekends, and finally I had to say enough is enough, and left the ad world. Thanks for asking. 

  • Hi Andre.

    I realise this post is about quitting an unfulfilling job
    and of course, many of us do not have that option, at least not right now.
    However, I also noticed a deeper story, a story about someone who longed for change
    and fulfilment but who was held back by fear, a story about someone who needed
    to find within herself the courage to break through that barrier. In this case
    that meant quitting a job but it can mean a thousand different things to a
    thousand different people.

    Personally, I know I can feel scared when I leave the
    security of what I know but Shannon’s story shows that when we act with courage,
    we can break through those barriers and fulfil our full potential as a human

    Wishing you the very best.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, chills. My life is paralleling this transition. March 20th I was called into a meeting to be let go while I secretly celebrated the event. It REALLY DID feel like someone else was doing the breaking-up FOR me. 

    It was perfect timing. I had spent the 3 months leading up to that job-loss event re-inventing my relationship to money and possessions. Then life brought me the opportunity to experience the growth I had only welcomed in theory. It worked perfectly. I have to eat a lot of rice and wrestle with creditors, and have sold most of my higher priced possessions to make ends meet month to month, but I’m so happy, peaceful, and delighted to lighten my life that the impact has been a gift. 

    I have been anxious, lost, unsure and so on, but this forcing to swim without a misery-net (what we often label a safety-net) has been exactly what I needed. I know MORE about who I am and what I want to do with Corporation of Ariella than I ever have.

    During my “jobless/penniless” time, I:
    -Wrote a book and got it published.
    -Hosted family and friends in greater quantities than past years.
    -Toured my new city which I hadn’t done since moving here two years ago because I was working all the time!
    -Quit smoking.
    -Improved my health.
    -Lost weight.
    -Made new friends.
    -Took up more hobbies.

    I wouldn’t have achieved all those things if I had stayed “secure”. I had to be first to muster the courage to LIVE first!

    I’m ready to improve my financial situation because I don’t want to eat rice as my main meal forever, and with my summer here I need more than just my one pair of capris and shorts lol! But good lord am I happy having had this opportunity to re-invent myself, discover what TRULY matters, and delighting in the fact that the greatest security comes from not needing it. You don’t have to know where the next quantity of money will come from because it always does. I always end up being enough and reflecting that by doing enough, giving enough, and then I invariably receive enough.

    Thank you for sharing. 🙂 It helps to contextualize experiences like this!

  • Roypaulhutton

    Hi Andre, Joy, Shannon and Lori,
    I hope you don’t mind me jumping in here…..
    I’ve read a few comments were people jump in and knock ‘middle class’ people for doing similar things  to Shannon, because they can afford to do it and they don’t have any one depending on their income. What I say to that is that you can only start from where you are, and you shouldn’t be made to feel guilty because you are in a better starting position than someone else. We are where we are by fate or because of the decisions we did or didn’t take.

    For people who have fallen into the materialistic, cosumerist trap who then realise it is just an illusion and want out, to be free and perhaps give themselves the time to learn and practice the tenants, that you Andre mention, or follow other persuits that make them happy, should they be villified or supported.
    Two years ago I was laid off from the job I had worked in for 18 years, I’d wanted to quit for about the last ten but was too scared, When I went home to tell my wife I had been laid off I had a big smile on my face. We sold our house that we loved and had worked so hard to build up over many years and we bought a tiny apartment in Lake Garda, Italy. I wake up every morning and look out at idilic views of Lake Garda. I swapped the two hour commute to work for a meditation walk up the mountain everyday. I just spent the day fishing in a beautiful lake up in the mountain, and I have a lot of free time to enjoy life and do things I like to do. I dont have a very good income but with no mortgage and no rent to pay, I don’t need one at the moment. I am trying to increase my income by writing and by looking into other ventures, that I want to do and not what I have to do. I can afford to do this because I have worked hard and been careful for many years and also because my stepson was grown up and had left home.

    I am 47 years old and the thing I wanted most in life was too have a child(a daughter) of my own, but I was never blessed. No matter how much I meditate and pray and try to be thankful for how lucky I am to live the free life that I live, I still have a tear in my eye every time I see a man with his child. Perhaps if my wife hadn’t miscarried two years ago I would be in a totally different place to the one I’m in now, I may have the child that I always hoped for. I may still have taken the decision to move here to Italy or I may be struggling to find a job and pay the mortgage, I will never know. I do know that you Andre and Joy are blessed with the most precious gift life can give. Andre I know how horrible things are at the moment in the US (I presume thats where you are writing from) they are equally as bad in the UK. I pray and hope that something turns up for you and your family, I am sure it will.
    One of my favourite sayings is-
    “Don’t judge a man until you have walked two moons in his moccasins”.

    Shannons post only gave you a snippet of her life, don’t judge her on it.

    Even when the chips are down, try always to be positive (easier said than done) but I’m sure that positive energy will carry you through.

    I know I have never been in the position you are in so you can tell me to stop preaching, but I have had desperate moments in my life, they are just different to the ones you are facing now.

  • Roypaulhutton

    Just in case you read my post above where I also say that I want to be a writer…….I know the post is full of mistakes, but I can’t type, it takes ages,and it’s late so I was too lazy to correct my mistakes. I can only write with a pen and paper, so please ignore my mistakes…If you haven’t read my post above…..please ignore this post: )

  • Anonymous

    “I’ve read a few comments were people jump in and knock ‘middle class’ people for doing similar things  to Shannon, because they can afford to do it and they don’t have any one depending on their income. ”

    I couldn’t afford it! My employer wanted me gone, and I wanted to go, but I hadn’t planned to leave THEN. LOL. I had $1000 in savings that I had JUST saved from selling my iPhone 4 and an old iPod. I got on unemployment benefits I’ve been paying into since I was 13 years old (23 years) to keep going, but it’s never enough, so I keep selling things, doing odd jobs or whatever to keep going. Sometimes friends and family help me out. I can’t maintain my situation with the current resources but somehow I always seem to have enough. Despite the mismatched numbers and big deficits, the spaces fill themselves through creativity and TRUSTING change.

    People change when they need to and life answers the call by putting things in front of them that wouldn’t have appeared otherwise. 

    To anyone with children or being near homelessness: now is a time to be creative and to trust that things will change. My life has given me poverty and living-out-of-a-suitcase for-years on several occasions. Life happens. Things change, even when you desperately don’t want them to. You wash your clothes with a bar of ivory soap when you have to, and eat a bagel every couple days to stay alive (or steal from McDonald’s trash). I’ve been there and done that and was fine throughout. This too shall pass, always and all ways. Whatever happens, you will survive as will your little ones if you’ve made it this far in life (the proof is therefore in the pudding).

  • Carly

    This is the kind of story that makes me very frustrated, because it is so unreasaonable to expect that we can all just quit our unfulfilling jobs to find happiness.  There is no solution to how to pay the bills in this story, or how to find health care for a family.  Lucky her anyway, I have to go back to work.

  • Excellent post! I just listened to my heart and left my PR job. Lots of fear for me, but I know it is the right thing to do.

  • EmmaBrooke

    Love it! Thanks for being so honest and open with us!

  • Pattie

    I have to agree inionbrigid- if you want to be taken seriously as a writer, ALWAYS proof your work or have someone proof it for you. Quite a few grammatical errors in your post.

    On the other side, I admire your bravery for jumping out of your comfort zone and pursuing what you love. I, too was in a similar position. Do remember to use your friends for support and also don’t think you’re “above” taking a random job to make money for a while. You have to be fiscally responsibly too, you know.

  • m_dubb

    Been there, felt exactly the same thing Shannon did..

    It’s just unbelievable what stubbornness and commitment we can use to feed our fears, from tiny little thoughts now and then, to overwhelming giants shadows that seem to be always a step ahead of us controlling our reactions..I say reactions, because when you carry a giant shadow on your shoulders there are no more actions, only reactions to others actions. At that point, you don’t create anymore, you just follow dressed like a lion but with the heart of a ship..trembling at any thought of freedom might cross you mind and fighting against it with all your power. 
    If you do this this long enough, you might even get to the point when you start believing that only a psychiatric institute could accept you as you really are…I mean, one should be really out of his mind to desperately wait for the moment the company opens the exit door and invites to step out..and the only thing you feel is relief and gratitude for a new chance to freedom.

  • Checkpaperlock

    I’m kind of sick of people glamourizing the dea of quitting their jobs to opt for a life of “blogging” or “traveling” instead — and then having the audacity to imply that those who are strong enough to keep their jobs and do the responsible thing are merely fearful, desperate fools. The world needs ditch diggers, not everyone can up and leave their job to go write a blog.  People have wanted to quit their jobs since the beginning of time. The Egyptians responsible for the labor of building the pyramids certainly wanted to quit their jobs too.  What if they did?  What if they all said “screw you, I’m traveling to the south of africa instead where I can lie on the beach all day, let all you fools slave for this pyramid”?  Let’s face it, the contacts the writer made at her real job are going to come in mighty handy with this new business plan. So working for the man kinda paid off in that aspect, right?  My point is, it’s not cool to go on and on and on about how sucky the corporate world is and how we should all “face our fears” and quit.  Instead of running from it, why not contribute to making it a more positive experience? What would this world be if everyone just quit their jobs?  And as someone else mentioned below, what about your kids, family (or future kids and family)?  Do you really think it’s responsible and fair to your family to quit your job because you don’t feel like “working” anymore? 

  • Checkpaperlock

    I’m kind of tired of hearing people glamorize the idea of quitting one’s job. And I do not appreciate the implication that those of us who are strong enough to keep our jobs in the corporate world are fearful fools.  “Quit your job, go start a blog”.  “Quit your job, get paid to be a gypsy nomad”.  You should really be careful of what you’re encouraging people to do.  The world needs ditch diggers too.  People have wanted to quit their jobs since the beginning of time.  Certainly the laborers who the build the Pyramids wanted to quit their jobs, flee to the south coast and sit on the beach all day.  But where would this world be if they did?  And as one person mentions below, is it really fair to your kids and family (or future kids and family) to quit your job just because you don’t feel like it anymore?  I understand that everyone has their own story, but this article is glorifying irresponsibility — why not keep your job, try to to make it a more positive experience whilst pursuing your writing passions, then turning that into your new job?  Why not encourage people to do that?  I really love this blog for all its positive messages but I really don’t think that encouraging people to quit their jobs – especially in this economy — is ethical.

  • My experience is so close to yours, it’s uncanny!  Though I didn’t face redundancies, I felt pretty much all the things you describe feeling – so I quit my job two months ago and am about to head out and play in the world … not so much to “find myself” as to “lose my old self”.
    Best of luck!

  • Hi there,

    My name is Lori and I run this site. I know that this comment wasn’t addressed to me, but I felt compelled to respond.

    In working with Shannon on this post, I never got the impression that she thinks people who stay in corporate jobs are “fearful, desperate fools.” Instead, I learned that Shannon had a job that she enjoyed so little that she regularly cried over it. This post is her story, and judging from the sense of happiness, fulfillment, and passion she feels now, I have a feeling she made the right choice for her. For her–based on where she is in her life, what options were available to her, and what she has the capacity to pursue. She didn’t quit because she didn’t feel like working. She quit because she wanted to do different work.

    The question I would ask you is this: If you hold a corporate job, do you feel it is the right choice for you? There is nothing inherently “sucky”about working a corporate job, if that’s what you want to do. We all have a right to follow our own instincts.

    My comment policy on this site is that we don’t all have to agree with each other, but I hope that we can try to understand each other and give each other the benefit of the doubt. You could see this post as an insinuation that people in corporate jobs are “fearful and desperate.” Or you could consider that Shannon truly intended to help people with her story, and hopefully nudge them to consider walking away if their jobs make them want to cry every day. I think there is a big difference in those two interpretations.

    Shannon–feel free to jump in here. I didn’t meant to step on your toes. I really appreciate that you shared your story with Tiny Buddha readers, and I felt compelled to put my two cents in!


  • Margaret

    I can’t help but agree with Lori, that took a step ahead and felt like giving some clarifying input.

    There is nothing wrong with having a corporate job or any other type as long as you feel it’s the right thing for you at that moment your life.

    We all go through different stages of evolution as human beings and have different capacities and each of us knows deep inside what is the path that brings most fulfillment and matches their true self.

     But it’s only when our decisions are based on concern and fear, are not going to be productive on a long term for ourselves or anyone around us.

    Fear and all emotions based in fear ( anger, jealousy, depression, etc) are only self defeating and in actions derived from it will not have lasting results, but will end up being only self-destroying.

    Many of us have been through “the valley of tears”, but at some point you just know when enough is enough and doing the same thing over and over again will not work to get different results. It’s when you know that true fulfillment comes from a life based on positive empowering beliefs and expand their faith in more than what’s material and tangible around us.

    And more important you know success it’s not just about yourself, it’s about how much what you do enriches and brings joy in other people lives.

  • Anonymous

    “not so much to “find myself” as to “lose my old self”.Best of luck!”

    Brilliant! Yes! Exactly! 🙂 Same here.

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  • Plushpup

    If you are going to be a writer, you really need to have someone edit your work. While I like your idea overall, I think it’s a bit misguided to offer this advice to people when you haven’t actually achieved success with it yourself (yet). Also, I don’t think you’re going to get any writing jobs when you spell “corporate LADDER” as “latter” instead, and DISDAIN as distain — and publish it with these mistakes. I recommend that you read William Zinsser’s “On Writing Well.” It will help you tighten up your writing. And be sure you get a good editor/proofreader. Good luck. I admire your spirit.

  • This is a great story that a lot of people can relate to and learn from. When the time is right, we must take risks. You’ll never know what else is out there if you never give other opportunities a chance. 

  • This is great advice that many people can relate to and learn from. Though leaving a secure job can be frightening to even think about, we only have one life to live so why not live it how we want? By leaving one opportunity, you are opening the door for so many other to come along.!/CareerHeartedCo

  • Roypaulhutton

    I think the point is to TRY to be happy and if it means quitting your job and writing a blog and you can afford to do that, then be brave enough to do it. If circumstances don’t permit, then of course you are being brave to stay in a job you hate because you need to feed your kids. I worked 18 years in the same job and for the last ten it gradually made me sicker and sicker, you can judge me without knowing all the details but that is just being negative. In the end the economic climate put me out of that job and I felt relieved and wish I’d been brave enough to quit it long before.
    There is a positive and negative side to every story, its not easy but I try to use the positives. Shannon was in a much better financial position than me, and it seems is far more intelligent than me so will probably be more successful with her new venture than I have so far been with mine. I could be envious of that but I’m not. People like Shannon have to tell their story because if it makes one person free and happy then it was worth it, if it makes a million people angry, then that is their problem…..sorry.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for reading my story. WOW to you. Congratulations on everything. And thank you for sharing. What is your book, I can’t wait to check it out. 
    Lets stay in touch. 
    XOXO shannon

  • Anonymous

    Hi David, thanks for reading my story. Awesome. Congratulations to you for being true to you. It takes courage. XO

  • Anonymous

    Pattie and Inionbrigid, thanks for the feedback. I did proof and and edit my work. The wrong file was uploaded. thanks for your genuine concern and kind words.
    Cheers. shannon

  • Anonymous

    Pattie and Inionbrigid, thanks for the  honest feedback. I did proof and and edit my work. The wrong file was uploaded. Thanks for your genuine concern and kind words.
    Cheers. shannon

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for your reply Shannon!

    The book is called “Healed by Anxiety”. It’s currently available as an eBook from Smashwords, B&N, iTunes, Diesel, and should be in Sony and Kobo eBook stores soon! There’s more info at my personal site: . Thanks!

  • Great post! My girlfriend and I have experienced a similar transformation lately; letting go of status quo ridden hopes and dreams and opting for our own paths, on our own terms, autonomous from the illusion we often buy into.  It wasn’t easy at first, but life is so much better and abundance is more appreciated when it just comes to you – and there’s no there to take it away =)

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  • My boyfriend has just recently decided to leave his job. This has been a long and hard decision for him because of percisely what you’re saying! The risk of the unknown, the fear of what he’ll do and how we’ll get by. We just recently bought a car and so his worry has been heightened, naturally. We had a talk last night and he explained his fear of leaving his job, us not having enough money and the car being taken away, leaving me to ride the bus, which would complicate my insanely busy schedule. I assured him that everything would work out and to try and focus on feeling good about leaving his job, because it’s what he really wants. This seemed to bring him some solace. I have not one single cell in my body that’s worried about our future. I really believe we’re going to be okay. That’s such a great feeling, especially when I can communicate it to him, because it allows him to free up some of the guilt he’s been feeling. Anyway, I sent this article to him because I feel it will inspire him. So thank you for sharing.

  • Jacob F.

    This was so inspiring and relatable!  I quit my job as a teller for a check cashing store after four years of unfulfillment and dissatisfaction for the work itself, even though the pay was good and stable for me.  I’ve been in many jobs like this, and now I’m back looking for the same type of work yet there’s something telling me “You need to be true to your values”.  I am a creative person myself with an interest in writing, designing, and peforming.  Shannon, you are so right in everything you felt and believed in and I applaud you for going after the things you truly wanted and building a real happy life for yourself.  I wish you the best!

  • Erica

    AMEN, Lori! Exactly what I was thinking.

  • Thanks Erica. =)

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  • Siddartha67

    wow!! nice! thanx for sharing…i’m already in the unknown…im just have been allowing my fear to cover up my joy and happiness about what I want to do for REAL!! I’ve been out of work for a year but I moved to a new city near the mountains and IM much happier being here1 but the work….Im ready to let go and listen and do whats in my heart!

  • Siddartha67

    AND Happiness and fulfillment comes in many shapes and sizes depending on the person and how they are made and bent!! There is NO standard for what is right or wrong for a person!! It’s ALL relative to th eperson and their circumstances.That being said ALL circumstances can be shifted changed and rearranged to accomadate what makes a person happy ! There are NO impossile circumstances  – just impossible mindsets!! Responsibility is in the eye of the beholder! For me and obviously for Shannon it would be totally irresponsible to continuously do a job that creates depression and sadness and lack of fulfillment continously when our hearts are crying for something else!! AND for those whom “can’t”  their responsibility lies elsewhere with their families and friends and being where they are – or whatever calls to them as being their right path!! Ther isnt just one!! All roads lead to Rome! Enjoy your own personal journey and always follow your heart!!

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  • beaches

    Hello.  My understanding is that Buddhist teachings would guide you to not attach to those things like job or social status, as life is impermanent and ever changing. This doesn’t mean quite your job.  It just means don’t attach your self to it. 

  • beaches

    Hello.  My understanding is that Buddhist teachings would guide you to not attach to those things like job or social status, as life is impermanent and ever changing. This doesn’t mean quite your job.  It just means don’t attach your self to it. 

  • Shannon

    Thanks for this note. I some how missed it when you posted it last year. Thank you for your feedback. Cheers to living life fully

  • Shannon

    thanks for your message. 

  • I want to be free. My guess is this author has been fired many times (not laid off as she euphemestically claims). I don’t condemn her for it, since a job is just a job and sometimes careers, fields, or a string of jobs just don’t work out. However, it seems more like she is misrepresenting the fact she wasn’t given a choice as opposed to having the luxury of oneWell I have the luxury of working in this career. I am in a high demand job, and I get paid well for what I do. I love what I do, and I hate it. I want money. I have student loans and I have lawyer fees to pay for my legal defense. I am tempted to say to hell with my career and take a opportunity to hike the appalachian trail. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a decade. I have the money.

    Just a few caveats. I will burn through savings…savings I need to pay to save a career I love and hate. I will ruin my relationship with my girlfriend. It’s likely I won’t have the opportunity to find a job with as good working conditions and pay I have now and god only knows if I will actually find a job if I take time off. So what do I do? I don’t know.

  • Shannon

    Thank you. 

  • mcc

    I am in a similar boat. I desperately want to quit my job and pursue writing full time, but I’m afraid. I have a mortgage, pets, a husband that I don’t want to worry about money, and who hates his job maybe as much as me, not to mention a cadre of physical problems that have probably begun because of my internalized anxiety over this job.

    This fear thing is truly insidious.

  • Play With The World

    What a great comment, thanks Ariellabaston for sharing. I love that you said “Despite the mismatched numbers and big deficits, the spaces fill themselves through creativity and TRUSTING change.”

  • MakingEndsMeet

    Yes, you can stop preaching, especially to someone who–unlike you–has real responsibilities and can’t afford to be a self-absorbed narcissist.
    You become an adult the day you realize the world isn’t all about you.

  • MakingEndsMeet

    Whoa, and what happens when you come down with pnemonia or you appendix goes kerplooey? Are you trusting creativity to pay your medical bills?

  • Mell22c

    thx for sharing Shannon… I am at a crossroads myself and thinking about taking the risk myself… it’s scary but I also believe the universe will provide if you let it! check out my blog to learn more about my journey! I also moved from Chicago to the west coast 😉

  • kessphoto

    I quit my job. I am terrified to leave the security of it by happy to feel like I have my soul back to create my own future. It is a good scary. Am I free falling or flying?

  • ASapundjieva

    I told my boss i want to quit my job today, w no back up plan or another job around the corner It was scery and naw i feel so relaxed and happy like i win the lottery 😀 . I want to work as a holistic health coach or anything that benefit someone’s life from the inside and the outside. Want to serve myself by doing what i love and others by helping them. Unfortunately i live in a small European country in a small town where most of the ppl dont know what holistic health coach even mean . Shouldnt worry abouth that right, if it ment to bi ti willl be or something like that 🙂
    Great article indeed

  • Irish

    If none of you are supportive of Shannon’s story – why are you on her site, and reading her story???

  • Imiy

    Interesting. However, alot of these type of articles don’t take into account that a lot of these people more than likely have the financial means to live there dreams and leave there WELL PAID comfortable jobs. There world is so much different. It’s so difficult and hard to do this when you do not have the financial means to travel, money to create a new career, go travelling etc. Alot of these articles are unrealistic.However, the other story that this aurthor tells is one off wanting freedom and traveling a path more trueto herself. It must have taken alot of courage to break free from her comfortable well paid job.

  • sandeep

    hi shannon i am happy to know you moved past your fears, very few do that in the world, am glad you truly are feeling and seeing whats it like to be alive !!!!

  • Donnell

    This almost made me cry!!!! Thank you! 🙂

  • Amy

    I agree with the other poster… Seems like the author was regularly fired, which is something different entirely.

  • Ashley Johnson

    Here’s a novel idea. Don’t have kids…

  • Lynn

    I recently resigned my job and got another in another city doing the same thing. Occupational therapy, just in a new city a few hours away, was unable to find one local. I was at my current job 2.5 years and was a high performer but the management demoted me, took away my perks and program and gave me bad reviews with no raise in over 2 years. I felt worthless and my self worth crumbled.
    I landed this job, my home is being bought by first person who looked, I am getting a condo near new job. I have so much anxiety about starting over. I’m alone and have had anxiety issues in the past with change. This is huge for me, I pray I can handle this. I could have stayed in the current job, but I could tell they wanted my program and me gone. Life throws curveballs………if I fall , at least I tried.

  • Primal

    The sooner you understand that life is pure hell (regardless of objective reality, non-dualism etc. being indifferent) the better off you will be. If you can let go of or find away to manage this hell then you might actually find contentment. This is not human nature however nor a natural state of affairs [that causes this hell]. It is Collectivism or Statism that thwarts our otherwise easily accessible human potential. It [the State] stifles creativity and growth by way of taxation and regulation and it forces people into invisible prisons with nowhere to turn.

  • Nathan

    I found the point about making clear goals really useful. I’m just about to leave my job of 11 years (and I have a family) and it feels terrifying sometimes.

  • Watson Cyrus Anikwai

    This is how I feel right now. I googled and ended up here 🙂

  • J.R.

    Thank you for this inspirational article it really spoke to me. I feel trapped in an unhealthy pattern I want to free myself of where I know fully in my heart I need to be a full time artist, that it is my calling and destiny and brings me the most love and joy in my life. When I wake up and know I am going to my studio, I am happy and filled with excitement know I have so much more I need to do and it requires a lot of time. However I am having trouble letting go of my freelance job. I quit two and am down to one and feel I need to quit, but I don’t have money flowing from my art and feel stuck and already have a little debt. However I also know that part of the reason of why I am in debt is because I all of my energy goes to my art, not my job. This is what I want most of all! I dread going and there are many reasons why this is no longer the right thing for me. I am bored, sick of the same tasks, the same people, the hours, most of all there’s not room to grow or my true gifts or talents to be used. I want my work to sell in a gallery but I’m not sure if it is only fear or self sabotage or something else I haven’t thought of. But this article was truly an inspiration!

  • Hi Shannon,

    That’s a great step you took. You have been a source of inspiration. Thanks a lot.

  • Savannah Gilbo

    This is just what I needed to hear. I have had the same experience as you – jumping from job to job, climbing the ladder and realizing over and over again I’m not fulfilled. I have been getting a crazy amount of signs from the universe to quit my current job and I’ve even been dreaming of birds escaping or being freed from their cages, but the fear always creeps in and tells me to hang on for just one more week… This weekend I will be doing some meditation and gearing up to put in my notice next week. Thank you!

  • Ankit Shankhdhar

    i was in need of such motivation