I Quit My Job
You heard that I quit my job right? I had been working at Starbucks full time for about a year and a half when I left for trail. The pay was slightly more than minimum wage, tips that weren’t taxed, and I received discounted health insurance through the company. Super, extra bonus: you get free Spotify Premium when you work there and a free pound of coffee every week. The job was alright in the sense that I stayed busy and I was rarely bored there. The human interaction with all of my customers seemed kind of nice at the time.
Before I left, I went to work, hiked occasionally, hung out with friends once in a while, or stayed at home. 40 hours a week sucked up a lot of time. Often, during the winter especially, I couldn’t get a full 40 hours so I ended up having two jobs that could equal up to 70 hours per week sometimes, at minimum wage, with a college degree. With student loan debt hanging over my head, SSRIs pumping through my body, and unhappiness being a pervasive force in my slump of a life, I decided to hit the trail. My biggest decision before hitting the trail was deciding not to acquire more debt by going to law school.
When I came back from trail I gave myself two weeks before going back to work. I was on a roll when I got home. I had a lot of energy and motivation. I was running a lot, spending time with Miles, getting our camper trailer ready to go, and getting Terra ready to drive. I spent a lot of time writing trail journals and just being productive in general. As soon as I went back to work I felt drained. The noise, multitasking, and socializing in that environment was so hard post-trail. I couldn’t multi-task anymore. I still remembered all of the drink recipes but sequencing (making 2-3 drinks at once) was so hard. Talking to people all day was absolutely exhausting for me mentally. My back pain that I had lost on trail came back: partly from stress, partly from standing on a tiled floor all day.
I couldn’t work 9 hour shifts with ease anymore, four hours felt like a long time. It felt like someone was locking me in a building when I didn’t want to be there (5:15am). I would get home and immediately want to lay down, more exhausted than even some of my biggest days on trail. I stopped writing. I barely worked on getting the trailer ready. I turned to my old habits of eating junk food. I started to feel unhappy, overwhelmed, and like my goals were completely out of reach. When just a week before I’d felt like I could reach for the stars and productivity felt so good.
I talked to my dad. “I have almost no money.” I told him what he already knew. “I’m unhappy at my job.” my number one reason for keeping that job had been to maintain my health insurance. Well, I’d missed the sign up deadline by a week so I had to make some sort of ‘life change’ happen to get insurance again. I realized then that I no longer really needed a gold plan insurance. I was no longer seeing a psychiatrist weekly, I didn’t do physical therapy anymore, and a bronze plan on the marketplace wasn’t totally out of reach. My dad told me to quit. It was the approval I needed. No, I didn’t need my Dad’s permission to quit a job I no longer liked. But it felt better to know that someone I trusted would also make that choice.
I went in the next day and talked to my boss about leaving. I gave my two weeks notice. After that I worked my last two weeks. It was hard, but I made it through with relative ease. My first week post-Starbucks was even harder, though. Miles had just moved up here from North Carolina and we were still trying to get moved into the camper trailer. My computer died and my van had to go to the shop for some body work and a new starter. I’ve been low on funds and stressing out about it.
I immediately regretted quitting from the money standpoint. But then, while standing in an apartment I’d just been paid to clean (a one time gig filling in for my sister), I realized I would make it. I’d just made $50 in three hours. It would have taken me at least 5 hours to make that at Starbucks.
I’ve spent the past week getting our living space ready. Next week is Thanksgiving and I’m going to make it the most productive week I possibly can. Post-Trail Depression won’t get me but it’s certainly on my heels. The trail gave me the tools to help me make decisions for sustainable well-being and quitting my minimum wage job was one of them.
Some other ways I’m fighting post trail depression:
Get outside and move as much as possible (moving firewood, going for a walk or a jog, shoveling, kettle bell lifting outside, whatever it takes!)
Write about it, talk about it, find your community!
Eat right (no more junk foods and sugars and trail bars. Clean veggies, fruits, grains, and fats!)
How I plan on making money now:
Odd jobs like cleaning friends’ Air B&B Apartments, dog sitting, etc.
Freelance Writing (from job boards and through problogger)
Private School and Organization Workshops
Patreon (COMING SOON)