Trusting Intuition When You Take the Wrong Route

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Have you ever taken a job and then thought, “What did I do?” Hello. It’s a terrible feeling. I accepted an offer and quickly realized that I took the wrong job. So five days in, I resigned. I know that’s not normal. But in this case, I was simply trusting intuition.

I’ve had some short runs, but that was my shortest stint, ever.

Here’s the deal. A little over a year ago, I quit Corporate America because my husband’s job relocated us to a new town. And since hanging up my high heels, I’ve been loving life. I enjoy having an open schedule. I don’t miss the anxiety and stress or the frantic pace. I’m home when my daughter gets off the bus. And I live in yoga pants almost every day.

It’s been nice, except for the part about me making a deal with my husband that I would take over mowing the lawn. Mowing the lawn was the one down-side to leaving the work-force. I was prepared for that.

What I didn’t anticipate, though, was that staying home would trigger my insecurities regarding making money, having a career, and self-esteem.

Money Is Still Defining My Self-Worth

While learning to let go of my old life in the corporate world, I’ve discovered that it’s hard for me to let go of a paycheck. I’ve recognized that I still have money fears. I still tie money to my self-worth. More money means more self-validation, value, and security. I have been groomed to believe that a paycheck defines my success.

The thought crosses my mind every single day that I could be contributing to our household finances. I find myself wondering about a bi-weekly direct deposit, and what that money could do for us. In addition to the emotions I have around money, it feels like I should be doing something more.

After several months of internal struggle; debating whether I should work, I succumbed to old patterns and ways of thinking: Money makes me feel better. So, I convinced myself that I should find at least find some part-time work.

I searched job boards, saw an ad for a part-time Territory Manager (aka: sales) and applied. The next day, I had an initial interview. Two days later, a phone interview with the VP of Sales, in which she offered me the job over the phone.

Without even taking the time to really think it through, I landed myself a sales job. The V.P. assured me that it was a “very simple, straightforward and easy role.” And the income potential sounded great, too. It all seemed peachy; part-time, flexible schedule, working only during my daughter’s school hours. Good company. Great product. And for a few minutes, it felt gratifying.

Except there was one little detail I chose to ignore.

I hate selling. Cold calling makes makes me cringe. And I really, really, really hate it when people say, “coffee is for closers!”

It Was the Wrong Job

A small voice within told me this. But I shut it down.

I ignored the voice, and I sold myself on the “opportunity and potential.” I sold myself on the things that looked good on paper, but, were not for me. I told myself to be practical.

Basically, I lied to myself.

I took the job because it seemed like the sensible thing to do, while deep down, my gut told me to pass. I kept justifying the job by listing out all these additional things the money could do: a new car, bigger house, longer vacations, more clothes, more tech, more savings. And please let us not forget: someone to mow the lawn so I don’t have to, Amen.

Bigger, better, more.

But bigger, better and more aren’t always best.

The truth was that I fell back into the trap of tying happiness and self-worth to more money and more things. I ignored the growing discomfort in the pit of my stomach.

The truth was that I didn’t trust my intuition and my feelings.

Sure enough, as the training dates approached, my anxiety sky-rocketed. I flew to their corporate office with a sense of dread. Trying to be positive and upbeat, I told myself that the nagging resistance I felt was only fear. But with each day of training, as the intricacies of the position were revealed, my anxiety grew with the understanding that this was simply not for me.

After the second day, I made my way to my hotel room with a glass of wine, sat on the bed, and cried.

It’s hard to admit when you’ve made a mistake, especially with a job. We’re taught to tough it out and stick with it. I did consider giving it a few months to see how it went. But this was not a case in which I thought it might be okay. Once I went through the detailed training of the daily responsibilities, I knew I would hate the work.

It’s Like Being on a Road Trip

On a road trip, you might make some wrong turns. You may not be paying attention to the directions. You might have forgotten your map. Maybe you try a short-cut. You may just decide that the destination no longer appeals to you!

But when you finally see that you’re going the wrong way, you don’t keep going just a few more miles to see if you magically get back on the correct route. That’s crazy. When you realize you’re going the wrong way, you turn around. You go in another direction.

That’s what I had to do. I had to turn around.

We Must Learn to Listen to Ourselves

I had a strong gut feeling for a reason. But I wasn’t listening to it. I was thinking about “the opportunity.” What I tend to forget, is that a great opportunity may not be the right opportunity for me.

I had to get quiet and think about what I really wanted. How do I want to live and show up in the world? How do I want to spend my time?

We have worked hard and made sacrifices so I could step back. My husband has been grinding at work so I could have this opportunity to leave a high-pressure environment and explore my creative side. So why would I willingly step back into a role that would lead to frustration and anxiety? Not to mention the stress it would add to our household again.

It’s a noisy world, and it can be hard to get quiet and listen to our truth. At a very young age, we start getting messages about who we should be and what we should do. No one teaches us to listen to our inner voice.

I’m Learning to Recognize My Truths

My truth is that I must stop following pursuits that do not align with who I am at heart. My truth is that I no longer want to do work when I see no value in it if I don’t have to. Currently, I’m in a season of life in which luckily, I don’t have to.

Really, it all came down tuning in to feelings. It felt wrong. Anxiety and dread filled my chest.

I thought that I should do it.

But I felt like I should walk away.

My head was saying yes by my soul was screaming no.

When I returned home from training, I spent the weekend journaling, having conversations with my husband, mom, sister and one of my best friends, and really tuned in to my gut. I realized that it’s time to redefine my definition of personal success. I needed to reroute my journey.

So, I resigned.

It felt extremely uncomfortable. But it also felt really good. I was honest and upfront with them about why I was leaving so soon. Their response was gracious, kind and understanding.

When I resigned, I chose my sanity. I chose my intuition. I chose happy.

So, I’m back to temporary retirement. If a good fit comes along, I’ll take it. But I won’t go back to doing things I dread. This is not the “grown-up, professional life” I thought I would be living. But the life I used to envision isn’t the life I would love.

The day after I resigned, I received a canvas from the friend I had talked to. It simply said, “Choose Happy.”

And I knew, without a doubt, that I had made the right decision.

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