Garden Leave: Quitting Finance

Monday of last week, I turned in my letter of resignation. I did the normal thing of giving notice. Wednesday morning, I quit. I walked out on my anxiety. I quit finance. I am not sure if I am allowed to speak on it – confidentiality agreements are in place but I did want to speak on my brand of crazy: 

It gets dangerous when you go to a doctor and they give the monster hiding under your bed a name. Once things are named, diagnosed – they grow up to have a life of their own. This is due in part because we feed it. I fed into my anxiety. I added dread. Every Friday, I would agonize over the arrival of Monday. Entire weekends were spent me waiting for Monday to arrive. I lost time. I would spend days in bed unable to get out. Horrible anxiety would arrive with my bad case of the Mondays. Life became less enjoyable. 
You know things are bad when you are running down the stairs going to work and you wish you’d trip, fall and break something (maybe not break but I would have settled for a sprain). When you are in deep negotiations with God over visiting the ER to postpone one day in the office – you know you’re not on the right path. Anxiety became its own thing. It overtook me. I became complicit by hiding it behind a smile. 
And then, it struck me what was causing all of this – I was being inauthentic. I was in hiding. I was addicted to the vicious cycle of fear. I was having panic attacks in the bathroom again. I learned to flip my head between my knees and do breathing exercises just to get through the day. One more day… if only I could make it one more day. Could I last the week? Maybe I could make it through the month?
Back in April, I went to Gabrielle Bernstein‘s book launch. Today, I saw a tweet advertising a free webinar she was having. In it, Gabrielle said: 

“Don’t ignore what is within you. If you don’t listen to the voice within you – you will forever feel disconnected from your higher purpose. You are a spiritual leader wherever you go – you have to walk that talk. Nothing can be hidden.”

The anxiety I felt was the disconnect and subsequent fear that I felt. Here I am preaching happiness at all cost and living a lie. I was not genuinely happy. I had no energy- I was running marathons in my head. 

I had gone from Private Equity and had chosen a second job in finance only to realize that I was wrong.  I was too scared to admit to myself that I had failed to tell myself the truth. I took myself along for the ride. You can’t sit and do nothing forever – your soul dies. You lose a little bit of yourself every day.

I called bullshit. I took myself to task. In the end I quit, with a quivering voice and zero eloquence. I did a courageous thing – I chose myself. 
Sometimes big scary monsters aren’t so scary anymore when you speak about them and bring them out into the light. Hopefully my experience can help you. For now, I will be FUNemployed and I am at peace with that. Since quitting, all I have had are good days. I see the little things, I am grateful and I smile.
Denzel Washington speaking to young actors: “‘God, Somebody out there needs us tonight’ – we all have that unique gift to go out there and touch someone. Use it and share it – that’s what counts.”

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