My palms were sweaty. My heart was racing. My fingers were moving frantically.
“I need to know if this is OK, ASAP,” I texted my wife.
“Brady, I need you to be here with me raising our boys,” she replied. “I can’t have you dead or in a bed unable to do anything.”
That was the only reminder I needed.
In the previous two months, my health and well-being had deteriorated. My blood pressure, despite being on medicine to control it, was always high.
I’d wake up every two hours at night in a cold sweat. I’d wake up in the morning and my first thought was not that I was happy to be waking up, but about work and what challenge awaited me that day.
It got to where my career wasn’t fun and the person I was becoming wasn’t pleasant.
I had become bitter. I couldn’t even celebrate small victories because my focus was always on the big setbacks.
The budget cuts. The layoffs. Having to do more with less.
I once loved my job. It was my life. It was, in fact, everything I wanted.
My career afforded me opportunities of which I wouldn’t even have dreamed. It took me places which are on bucket lists.
I started at entry level and worked my way into a management position.
As far as career planning goes, I couldn’t have been doing any better. I had a wife, three kids at home and living in a wonderful city.
I had too much to throw it all away.
But it had been a long time since I felt good about myself.
Despite my accomplishments, despite everything I had worked so hard to attain, I woke up every morning hating my job more and more.
Several times in my head, I imagined myself walking out.
But the fear of the unknown paralyzed me. The fear kept me there, almost like a prisoner.
And that’s what my workplace started to represent to me, and many people working there at the time. In fact, when people would get a new job (usually a job outside the industry altogether), we’d joke that they got paroled.
After a while you stopped being happy for the people leaving and you started to feel jealousy.
Even for the ones that were fired or laid off. And that’s no way to live.
As I carefully read my wife’s text messages that final day, my workplace represented somewhere that I started to resent. And it frankly became nothing but a paycheck every two weeks.
So that became the big question.
Can we afford for me to not have a job, not have that steady paycheck every two weeks?
“We’ll get by,” my wife assured me via text message.
With that, I put the finishing touches on my resignation letter that I had been working on in my head for quite some time.
I hit the print button. I attached the letter to the email addresses of my supervisor, my boss and our human resources director and hit the send button.
I walked into my supervisor’s office with my resignation letter in one hand, my badge and company cell phone in the other.
I handed them all in, turned around walked out the building for the last time.
And as I exited the building, never looking back, I felt a huge weight lift off my shoulders. All of a sudden, I could breathe again. I could literally feel my blood pressure dropping. As I steered my vehicle onto the interstate to head back home, I felt my eyes start to water.
It wasn’t sad tears. It was happy tears. Tears of relief.
But tears mixed with a lingering fear of the unknown.
EDITOR’S NOTE: I wrote this the night that I quit my job as a sports content coach for the Pensacola News Journal. I had been in the newspaper industry for nearly 20 years when I decided to quit. It was something that I had been talking about for a while. Naturally, the fear of not being able to pay bills, make ends meet was there, but I had to think about my health. Since I’ve quit, I’ve become closer to my family and I’m currently a stay-at-home dad, taking care of our 2-year old and getting the older kids back and forth to school. I’m also trying to grow my travel agent business, so if you are looking to travel to Disney World, Carnival Cruise Lines, Universal Studios, etc. please give me a shot. And also spread the word because the best form of advertising, as my old priest used to say is not a telephone, it’s tell-a-friend. Thanks for reading and share this page with others so I can grow it.