It was the scariest choice I ever made and it took every bit of courage that I had, but I decided to quit my job.
After four years of study at the University of Amsterdam of Applied Sciences I graduated as an occupational therapist in the summer of 2015.
I landed a job straight out of university at a private occupational therapy practice in Amsterdam. I couldn’t believe that I got it, this was my dream job! (so I thought...)
I worked four days a week and the job included cycling through Amsterdam to visit clients at home. I would generally have an hour therapy session and then cycle to the next client. I was in charge of my own schedule and clients which gave me a sense of freedom. Every week we would meet up with the team to discuss clients and team matters.
Two months into the job I started feeling as tough I didn't really enjoy what I was doing. I ignored that feeling at first, thinking that it's normal not to enjoy every aspect of a job.
However, some clients that I was trying to help, weren't even wanting my help. They didn't want to take responsibility for where they were at or simple weren't willing to make any changes. They would just complain about their situation.
Every morning I would get up and have good intentions for the day. But at the end of most days, I would come home feeling completely drained.
With my own new felt interest in health and nutrition, I felt restricted by the occupational therapy guidelines and protocols. I felt there was so much more that I wanted to teach my clients, but it wasn't part of my job.
Besides starting a new job myself, my partner Brad had received an amazing job opportunity in London and took it. In November he moved overseas, and we started having a long-distance relationship. It wasn't easy. Every two or three weeks I would fly over to London to see him and spend a long weekend together.
It wasn't however what made me decide to quit my job...
One afternoon I came home and was lying on the couch. I felt tired, drained and emotional. At that moment I asked myself: 'Is this what life is about?', 'Now I just work?'.
I saw my whole life mapped out in front of me: I was to work, then get a house, get married, have kids, go on holidays, work some more, and then retire. It scared me to think that this was all that life was about. Surely there was more?
Weeks went by and I felt more and more unfulfilled in my job. I had only been working at my new job for three months, and I tried not to let anyone notice how I was feeling. Thoughts were running through my mind: 'What was I to do?' 'I couldn't just quit?' 'I studied for four years to get where I was!' 'I had a nice pay check every month and wasn't this what I wanted?'
I tried to convince myself to at least finish my contract that would end after one year.
The Christmas holiday came, and I took two weeks off to be in London with Brad. During that time, I became physically ill and had a massive fever for days. Every ounce of my body was trying to let me know something wasn't right.
Brad helped me realise that I wasn't being honest with myself. That I hated my job and I wanted to get out of it. He told me that I didn't need to know what I was going to do next. All I needed to know was that continuing the job wasn't going to make me happy.
He asked me to come and live with him in London and figure out my next steps from there. He was very clear about the fact that it had to be my decision, he wasn't trying to convince me.
Deep down I knew he was right. This wasn't my path.
I was so scared as I knew I was going to let a lot of people down. The owners of the practice had put their faith in me, my family would be upset, I would let my field hockey team down who I had committed to for the season and leave my friends behind.
But then I realised that I could either please everyone else or choose for myself. It was that same part of me that realised that I needed to choose self-love.
I quit my job the first day I got back from my Christmas holiday. It was the scariest thing I had ever done and took every bit of courage. But it was also the most liberating feeling in the world!
As of today, I am so grateful that I made this decision.
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