1. Successful on the Outside, Miserable Inside

Never be afraid to try something new.
Remember, amateurs built the ark, professionals built the Titanic.

Author Unknown

Leave a "Good" Job You Hate

When I handed in my resignation, the President of the Association shook his head in disbelief. "This must be a joke" he questioned, "You mean to say you're going to give up a salary of $80,000/year to make only $8 bucks an hour pushing plants?" Yup. At the time, I didn't have my entire horticulture career path planned out. I knew I couldn't swallow another serving of corporate b.s. and wanted out. My loose plan was just to have a brief respite for about a year then figure out what to do next.

During the dot.com boom, I thought I had scored it big. My newly minted resume was still fresh from a stint as a product manager for washingtonpost.com when I parlayed this into a job as an e-mail marketing manager for a software association working only 4 days a week. Good job, good salary and a compressed work week.

Months later, when the Director of Marketing & Communications moved on, I assumed his responsibilities. Blinded by the Director title to add to my list of accomplishments, I accepted the position with barely a thought on how I would handle double the workload in a chaotic organization. The work day was relentless, my to do list endless. Thoughts would continue to spin in my head long after I retreated home.

At that time, three things I valued most in my job were the 4 day work week, the excellent compensation and title. I was in my thirties and had finally reached the stage where on most consumer surveys where they ask your household income, my husband and I now ticked off the top tier of boxes. It was everything I wanted, but it was not at all what I expected.

Six years later, I haven't gone back. If you're successful in your career in terms of salary and title but dread heading out the door every morning, it doesn't mean you have to continue down that path. I'm proof you don't need to have all the answers before you make a switch to a more fulfilling career in gardening. What keeps you from screwing up at your current job? You. As a successful person, you have a slight advantage over others. Have faith in yourself that your unique internal G.P.S. will ensure your future success. Your intuition will naturally keep you safe, looking out for your best welfare to take action on what will be most beneficial to you.

Perhaps you're rolling in the dough on Wall Street but hate the intense pressure to perform. Or maybe you're a competent tax accountant bored with counting figures all day. Whether you're a lawyer, a professional with a business degree or a scientist with a long list of academic credentials and achievements, so what? If you're not happy, it doesn't mean anything if you have a PHd in unhappiness.

If you are fortunate enough to have attained a reasonable level of success in your current occupation, leaving what others would consider a sure thing seems insane. You probably work incredibly hard to earn your keep but long term the ongoing related stress is debilitating. I know all too well the decision to leave becomes that much more difficult when you feel you have worked incredibly hard to establish your career. More at stake if you should fail, you hesitate to make any major changes.

But this kind of outward measure of success is ultimately unsatisfying, unrewarding and unfulfilling. Long term, it will fail to sustain your soul because it narrowly defines success. Gauging the worth of a job based on the financial rewards is simple because it is a tangible way to tally your accomplishments and capabilities. But job satisfaction should be your baseline requirement. Do not relegate your happiness to a low priority as if it were an intangible, unquantifiable "nice to have" benefit.

While it seems subjective, you know in your gut whether something makes you feel good. Use this feeling as a compass to determine how you should spend your days working. If you feel compelled to leave your "good" job and feel drawn to working in the garden, trust your intuition and you will be exponentially rewarded with unanticipated dividends.

Excerpt from the forthcoming book Getting Dirty. If you would like me to let you know when the book becomes available, just send your e-mail to adriennejenkins@verizon.net.

"9 of Swords", Tammy Wetzel, ArtGrrl Productions
"The Fairy and the Bumblebee", sweetimaginations

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