Recently I quit my job. How stupid is that you may ask? Where is the wisdom? Actually it was the best thing I could have done for personal wellness, growth and development. I was in the wrong place and it took as much bravery to quit that job as it would for me to jump off a cliff.
From the looks and sound of it, I had it all. Decent salary, 401K, health insurance and other benefits like the opportunity to take professional development courses. The organization was a nonprofit with great intentions for the environment. The problem though is that the job made me ill. For me, it was a toxic environment. I got terrible physical symptoms including a 12 day long headache. Still, I felt the pressure to stay on but when I was actually violently ill in the bathroom, I knew my days with that organization were numbered.
I’m well aware of our shaky job market. I also hit quite a few of the demographics for people that are underemployed or unemployed. I’m over 50, African American and a woman. As I thought of my options, my head pounded and I tried everything to get rid of the headache—to no avail.
Finally, I went to the emergency room and they were able to bring down the headache using an IV combination of medications. Could this be real? I’m allowing myself to be injected with medicines to stop a headache caused by conflicts at work. Well, it was all too real. Shortly after the trip to the ER I made my decision to take the plunge. Was I stepping into the abyss? Would I be setting my family up for poverty? I didn’t know but I did know that wellness, of the mind, body and spirit had to come first.
So, for the past month I’ve been unemployed. I’m headache free but broke, though walking in the direction of holistic wholeness. I am seeking work now that fits my interests and utilizes my talent and skills. For a good decade I was self-employed and now once I again I walk that path—headache-free, I might add.
Stephanie Rose Bird is the author of five adult nonfiction books including “A Healing Grove: African Tree Medicines for Body and Spirit.” She lives in the Chicago area with her family and is working on her first novel.