5 INDISPUTABLE SIGNS THAT IT'S TIME TO WALK AWAY

I'm sharing 5 signs that are indicators (red flashing lights) that it's time to leave that "perfect" job and run for the hills. #midlife #women #letgo

WHEN IT'S TIME TO WALK AWAY

If you're a grown-up you've been around long enough to know that you don't give up at the first hurdle. You persevere and push through, you adjust, you compromise, you suck it up, you make the efforts required to come to a good resolution. 

If you've done all those things and you're still in a situation that is draining the life blood out of you then the time has come to walk away - head held high and with a determination to forge ahead towards something new and better.

I want to share 5 signs that are indicators (red flashing lights) that it's time to leave that job, friendship, relationship, or whatever you might be facing, and start afresh. Each of these signs indicate that something is seriously wrong. If you're experiencing several of them then you know it's time to make some changes.

1) WHEN THE ENVIRONMENT IS TOXIC

Three years ago I was approached and offered the "perfect" job - great work days, great hours, great pay, great office, great co-worker, all the boxes were being ticked. But there's a saying that "if something seems to be too good to be true, then it probably is too good to be true". Over time things became toxic - drama and upset were a daily issue and I knew I couldn't stay in that situation for much longer.

It takes courage to make a change, to admit that things aren't perfect after all, that the job you thought you'd love, or the person you thought was your soul mate (or BFF) isn't as wonderful as you were led to believe. It's hard to start again, but it's harder if you keep ignoring toxic behaviour and nothing changes. Living or working with people who are erratic, or angry, or childish, or irresponsible, is soul destroying and if they're not prepared to work towards change then you know it's time to walk away.

2) WHEN YOU DON'T HAVE A VOICE

If you're an employee in a difficult work situation and there is no appeal process or there is no way to address the problem, you have no voice. If you have nowhere to turn and no support system in place then the situation isn't going to improve. If your concerns aren't being heard and your voice is lost in the void, then you know in your heart that there's no way forward.

If you're in a relationship where you are talked over, where your opinion isn't valued, where you're not listened to - then you have no voice. It heartbreaking to always be the person who has to give in, the one who makes the concessions but has no reciprocation. Friendships where you're always the one to make contact and the one who initiates every get together aren't true friendships. If there's no give and take, if there's no sharing and the other person isn't recognizing your value then it's time to walk away.

3) WHEN YOUR BOUNDARIES ARE DISRESPECTED

If you've read the self-help articles and understood the importance of boundaries, you know you need to outline them in detail and figure out where the line in the sand needs to be drawn. If the other person just walks over that line, rams through the walls, knocks down the barriers and proceeds to put their own needs first with complete disregard to you and your requests for sanity and peace then they don't value you.

The only people who get upset about you setting boundaries are the ones who were benefiting from you having none.

Boundaries are vital in every aspect of life. We need to know that we're worthy of respect and that others understand our expectations and limitations. When another person - workmate, colleague, friend, lover disrespects your boundaries continually then you know they see their needs as far superior to yours. There's nowhere to go in a relationship where you aren't shown the respect you deserve and if they aren't prepared to honour your requests then it's time to walk away.

4) WHEN YOU'RE MADE TO FEEL GUILTY

When you feel guilty for not being sympathetic enough, when you constantly try to think of new ways to fix the situation and each new attempt fails. When the person who is causing the problem is oblivious and plays the "poor me" card every time - with an excuse and passing the blame to everyone around them then you know that the guilt is going to be fully in your court because they like it that way - because it couldn't possibly be their fault! 

If you have a pre-disposition towards feeling guilty about behaviour that is not your fault, then you're going to spend a lot of time trying to fix things that you didn't break. You're going to be constantly wondering what the next issue is going to be and how it will become your problem. If you stick around then you've bought the ticket to the guilt trip from hell and there will be no escape - unless you walk away.

No one can send you on a guilt trip if you don’t accept the ticket. #midlife #women #letgo

5) WHEN YOUR OWN MENTAL HEALTH SUFFERS

When you're the one who is made to feel guilty because you aren't fixing the other person, when you come up with workable solutions that are ignored or forgotten it's time to reconsider your options. When work overflows into your home life - the stress, the headaches, the loss of sleep, the need to just talk about it over and over to purge yourself of the frustration - it's time to go. Nobody wants to end up on anti-depressants because another person has failed to respect and value what they bring to the table.

When the person you love or the person you've become friends with drains your happiness through their own bad behaviour, you need to look closely at the relationship and figure out if it's healthy or soul sucking. If you're with a person who leaves you feeling less and diminshed when you've been with them then it's time for some serious discussion about the direction of the friendship/relationship. If they don't want to change and don't see the impact it has on you, then you might find that it's time to walk away.

HOLD YOUR HEAD HIGH

When you've done all you can to make an unreasonable situation workable, when you've given it your best shot over and over again, when the situation has begun to make you doubt yourself and your own sanity, be brave and leave. It takes a lot of courage to walk away from a regular pay cheque, or from a close relationship. It takes a huge leap of faith to face the  unknown and to re-discover your self worth. 

But, if you don't make the decision to go, if you don't leave on your own terms with your head held high, then it will eventually implode and you'll be forced to leave in circumstances that are out of your control. Take the step, leave the bad behind - be prepared for a new chapter to begin - it can't start until you move on from the chapter you're currently in. As for me, I can't wait to see what the future holds!

I am whole.   I am learning.   I am letting go.   I am free.   I am talented & courageous.  I am protecting my joy.  I am brave.   I am healing.   I am loving myself   unapologetically.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Are you stuck in the job from hell? Has that great friendship, or new relationship turned out to be less than you expected? Are you willing to be brave and step out knowing that this isn't the end - it's the beginning of a whole new episode in your life. It's time to trust yourself and trust the journey - walk away and see what the future holds.


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I'm sharing 5 signs that are indicators (red flashing lights) that it's time to  run for the hills.  #midlife #women #letgo

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I'm sharing 5 signs that are indicators (red flashing lights) that it's time to  run for the hills.  #midlife #women #letgo

59 comments

  1. Hi, Leanne - Once again you have provided us with very thought-provoking tips...and awesome quotes. I especially like the one from Cheryl Smith. It is very similar to one of my favourite sayings by Eleanor Roosevelt "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." So true!

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    1. Thanks Donna - and yest that quote on guilt really spoke to me because it reminded me that I can only feel guilty if I allow myself to. Sometimes that's necessary, other times it's misplaced and we can walk right past the ticket counter and leave the building!

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  2. Yes, yes and yes! Thank you so much for your wisdom. Sometimes we stay far too long when all the signs say it is time to walk away. Great tips to look for!

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    1. I've been learning a lot lately on what's my responsibility to bear and what is someone else's. Staying in an environment and hoping for change that isn't going to occur is a type of madness in itself. It's taken a while, but I can see that so much more clearly now.

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  3. Yes to all of these - although knowing and doing are, as you know, 2 very different things. I'm particularly bad with boundaries and guilt and, like many people, have overstayed in a toxic environment because of fear. Great post.

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    1. Yes to all of your points too Jo - especially the last part. I didn't know what the fear was that's been driving me, but when I sat down and analysed it, I realized I was my own worst enemy and I deserved a lot better than I was dealing with. It's such a burden lifted when you honour yourself and show yourself some respect :)

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  4. Hi Leanne,
    It's a reality of life that nothing lasts for ever; and there is a limit to how much one can be patient and put up.
    I have been in situations where the interest has worn away, or someone is too arrogant or rude for me to tolerate. I have waited patiently to see if things would get better. And after a point, when I am fully convinced that it'sn't going to improve, I walk away.
    Very well written post. :-)
    -- bpradeepnair.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi Pradeep - I always find it reassuring to hear that others have gone through similar life situations and come out the other end. A lot of it ultimately comes back to self respect and not allowing others to treat us badly on an ongoing basis.

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  5. Thanks for sharing these 5 signs Leanne, and I admit to being in this position when I had a job in a quite toxic environment. Now that I'm retired it's been one of the best feelings not to have to deal with toxic people, listening to rumour and innuendo, mean spirited people and just plain nastiness. I understand it was up to me to allow this to happen around me and to let things affect me but at the time it was so hard. As you know my retirement wasn't my choice but looking back, a men's prison was a very hard place to work and I'm now totally happy with my new easy, comfortable and non-toxic lifestyle. This was another great post from you, and I wish you well in your future, whatever that may hold.

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    1. Thanks Deb - I find it really interesting that we look back and see what we put up with for so long and wonder why. Usually there seems to be a good reason for it at the time, but when you step away and see the toxicity then it's such an eye opener. I'm still really uncertain what the future holds - but one thing's for sure - it holds a lot more peace and a lot more self-respect!

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    2. So true Leanne, good luck with for whatever you decide! Pinned this for #mlstl

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  6. Bravo! I love everything about this post. I hope that anyone who sees themselves in your examples will take your advice. The first time you walk away is so hard, but the next situation will be much easier, and so on and so on.

    You are so wise!

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    1. Hi Mary - thanks so much for your lovely words. I can't believe how long I dithered over whether to walk away - and how much time I wasted and how much mental stress I went through before finally saying that enough is enough. I gave it my best shot, but you can't change some situations and if that's the case then the only option is to be brave enough to walk. I'm so glad I did.

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  7. Great post, Leanne. As an Italian Catholic girl I know all about the guilt. It's only in the last few years that I've been declining some of those tickets!

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    1. Guilt is a big driver in most church circles Janet (including the Baptists - speaking from experience!) It's also something we inflict on ourselves, but I'm learning not to line up for a ticket so often these days too.

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  8. A great post! I have some in-law members that I just had to limit my exposure because of their toxicity. Toxic people I have found usually never think it is them.

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    1. That's a definite in the case I've dealt with too Haralee - even when it's acknowledged, there's no desire to change or move forward. It's all so defeatist in nature and I need more than that in my life these days. The fresh air of freedom smells pretty good atm!

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  9. Excellent post Leanne - just as relevant for relationships and friendships as jobs!

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    1. You're so right Janet - and something I noticed more as I wrote the post - we often put up with a lot from family and friends that needs to be adjusted or distanced from if there's no common ground.

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  10. great advice here. I've recently made a major change and its amazing the weight that seems to have lifted from my shoulders. Anxiety that I didn't even realize I had suddenly gone #anythinggoes

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    1. I'm the same Jeremy - I think when stress builds up slowly it's like the frog in hot water. We don't realize how much pressure we've been under until we take ourselves out of the cooker.

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  11. Such a good post! It is difficult to leave toxic relationships. People often don't recognize that they are in toxic place. You spell it out. Thank you.

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    1. I think one person's toxic is another person's 'normal' and that's why it's hard to define it until you're drowning. I kept thinking I could help or fix the situation - and I couldn't, so time to walk away.

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  12. This post is one of those that will help other people so it is an important one. I am going to read again as I have my own choices to make moving forwards #AnythingGoes

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    1. I think we all have choices Kate - some more earth shaking than others. Every time I think life has settled into a safe zone, another glitch in the matrix occurs and I'm off having to decide about stuff - hope your choices turn out well.

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  13. Great post. You can sit in a toxic job for quite awhile before you realise what it's doing to you. #MLSTL

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    1. Don't I know that Lydia! It's tricky when it's so sneaky and when there are good days that make you question if the bad really was as bad as you thought. Then the bad comes back - and YES it was awful and time to leave.

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  14. After too many years in a very toxic work environment, I finally had the courage to leave. Such a wonderful feeling. Funny how I still have some guilt but this was the best decision that I ever made.

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    1. Oh Karen I am exactly the same! I'm so relieved to be out of the chaos, but guilty for walking away and leaving my co-worker to deal with it and also leaving the business in the lurch a little. Still, I'm not the first to leave and probably won't be the last!

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  15. I can relate so much to this post Leanne. I was working in a toxic work environment that caused me years of living with chronic stress and absolute exhaustion. Chronic stress was my normal so I didn't know that I was suffering with it until after I walked away (LEFT) the toxic workplace and was advised by medical professionals. After I left that place, I fell in a heap (breakdown) as the reality and impact of living that way finally caught up with me. Slowly but surely I have been rebuilding myself since then. This is why my blog is so focussed on self care, prioritising oneself, understanding yourself, zen and balance, peace etc! Noone should live as I did and noone should endure the impact and consequence of long term chronic stress as I have. Thanks for writing about this Leanne! I'm visiting for #MLSTL and will share on my SM xo

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    1. Hi Min - I think I've escaped before the stress really tore me down - I think it's definitely affected my thinking processes, my objectivity, and my self-care. So, I'm making the most of the months ahead to pull it all back together, then I'll see if there's something interesting to move onto, or if retirement suits me enough to not bother (the latter seems to be the case atm!)

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  16. Hi, Leanne! Very well said. And I think you were brave not only to walk away from the situation, but also to write and share about it. I think your words will definitely help others who find themselves in similar situations, so I've shared on my Pinterest board under "Words to Live By". Thank you for this post and thank you for hosting #MLSTL.

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    1. Hi Gale - thanks for your kind words - I think I've learned a lot of lessons over the last couple of years about how stress builds slowly and how you drown by degrees! I felt quite guilty calling it quits and it was frustrating to walk away from a job that could have (should have) been ideal - but you've gotta do what you've gotta do!

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  17. You definitely gave more than you should have. It's a relief to look toxic relationships in the rear view mirror.

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    1. I still feel guilty Jennifer - even branding it as toxic is a sad moment for me, but when someone else's behaviour sucks you dry then there's no other word for it - and I was a husk by the time I walked away.

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  18. Hi Leanne, so true ... and I think you rationalised well about your own situation. It's always hard to walk away, but sometimes it's harder thinking about it than it is actually doing it. More often than not we should also trust our gut instincts, and when measured against your tips here, I think that would provide conclusive evidence to walk away either from a bad relationship or bad job/career prospects. #MLSTL Shared on SM :)

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    1. You're right Jo - I think we feel what needs to be done, but rationalize/argue around it because it's so hard to toughen up and walk out the door. I particularly feel for people in unhealthy relationships and how they find the courage to leave. Work at least is a separate entity and walking away has an air of finality to it (hopefully!)

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  19. Excellent advice...from the heart and the head here....I know it's been a challenge for you to leave the workplace and now you have probably wondered "why did I leave it so long?" My thoughts are we leave it for a longer time than necessary because 1. we are the good people 2. we women 3. we are the eldest....ring a few bells?? It does for me. Over the past year when I started getting back into the world outside hospitals I volunteered and ran a class and offered to do more. There was no incentive for me to return to these in 2019 as there was no-one who could have cared less whether I did continue or not. I then stopped my involvement. It is not something I regret trying but I know who is losing out from the apathy and it's not me. Denyse #MLSTL

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    1. Denyse - YES! To all three points and I think we're our own worst enemies at times. We pour so much of ourselves into a situation and often for very little thanks or appreciation. I wish I'd been brave enough to leave sooner, but maybe it needed to hit rock bottom for me to see that not working isn't a bad thing (in fact it's pretty darn fabulous atm!)

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  20. Yet another thing I appreciate about being "older" - the ability to recognize when to let go of people. I used to rationalize not cutting the cord but when a relationship, a situation becomes toxic, it is the best route. The revived energy will guide us to a better person and/or circumstance.
    #MLSTL

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    1. We do get braver with age don't we Agnes? I think we realize that our time is shorter and more valuable. I don't want to work for another 5 years in a job that sucks me dry and then find I wasted that time when I could have been using it for things that bring me joy. For me it's now about more joy and less stress - and I'm loving it!

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  21. I firmly agree that you can get dragged down by difficult people around you. It was amazing how the weight lifted from my shoulders the day I handed in my notice when work got too much from me. It was taking over my life. I haven't looked back since. Erith #MLSTL

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    1. That's such a relief to hear Erith - and interesting that so many of us have a story to tell about a workplace that hasn't been good for our mental health. I think we can all cope with a heavy workload if the environment is supportive, but when fellow workmates are difficult it adds another layer to the situation and it's time to head out the door.

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  22. This is so spot on. Leanne your writing is just getting better and better! I am not in an toxic situations currently, but I have been in the past. Sometimes you have to walk away, and it is very, very difficult. Your points show that it really is the right thing to do sometimes. When I look back now, I have no regrets.

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words Michele - it's always nice to think my writing is improving :) And yes, I think we often wait too long to make a move - all that trying to work around it and figure it out and change things, but ultimately we know that the situation is unsolvable and it's time to go - I should have left 2 years ago!

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  23. Hi Leanne, sorry I'm late to the party but #MLSTL has again taken off! I totally agree and have been in a similar situation at work. I was up against a bully who had worked there for 20 years so of course, no one wanted to take her on - even management. It was easier for me to leave as I dreaded each day going in to face here. I tried talking to her but to no avail. I think if you've tried and it just isn't working there is no shame in walking away, especially if it is to preserve your mental health and happiness. Another inspiring post and I'll be sharing on social media. Glad that you are out of that toxic place! xx

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    1. It's hard when you think you can approach the person and they'll see the impact they're having and value you enough to make changes - when that doesn't happen we're left in a no-win situation. Bullying takes on a lot of faces and it has such long lasting repercussions - I'm glad you got out and I'm really glad I'm out too - even though the leaving was a difficult decision - but you can't fix everything can you?

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  24. I have never looked back and I retired for all of these reasons over one co-worker. As one of my therapist told me you can't get walked on if you won't lay down,

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    1. There's so many of us who've walked away from good jobs because of one problem co-worker aren't there Victoria? Such a shame and I wonder if our employers realize how many good staff they lose in the process? I think about a dozen people have left from my old workplace over the years for similar reasons to me going - what a waste. But it's good to be out and it's good to have my headspace again.

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  25. I'm so happy for you, Leanne that you had the guts, and the self-respect to walk away from a situation that was dragging you down. I've been in your situation, and it's amazing how I was able to recover my self-worth, after removing myself from the toxic environment. Best of luck in whatever the future holds for you.

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    1. Thanks so much Christina - interesting that you're yet another person who has experience this work environment - why is it so prevalent??? Still, it's their loss and our gain in the end. I'm sad to walk away from the job, but so glad to be out of the chaos and drama.

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  26. Yes, leaving can be difficult, as you know Leanne, but when you've done everything in your power to fix the situation and you know in your heart it's time to move on, you gather your courage and leave. I know you recently did that and I hope you are looking eagerly forward to your next adventure--whatever that may be. #MLSTL

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    1. I think that sums it up beautifully Christie. I did everything I could possibly think of to improve that work situation and ultimately if you can't make it bearable then it's time to go. I'm planning on using the next few months for some "me" time and then I'll decide if retirement is permanent or a stepping stone to something else - who knows??!

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  27. Oh yes! This post is spot on! I had a toxic job for 6 years. It was awful. I literally had to harden my heart just to survive there. I didn't like who I had to become and eventually quit. Walking out that door for the last time was such a freeing celebratory feeling. I only wish I would have quit sooner.

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    1. Amy your story is identical to mine (except I only lasted 3 years). The lightness in my soul when I finally wrote my letter of resignation was enough to tell me that it was the right decision - and one I should have made a lot earlier!

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  28. Yes multiplied by a billion. You and I have talked about the work thing. And you know I recently walked away from a pretty cruise-y 3mth contract half-way through for MANY of the reasons you include on your list, but mainly because of the way it impacted on my mental health.

    I messaged girlfriends one day after 7hrs of sitting at a desk with nothing to do and staring at a screen and said "I deserve better than this." It felt very arrogant and explained that I didn't mean I deserved more $ or a better job, but just 'deserved' something that wasn't wearing me down and diminishing my sense of self and sense of purpose.

    I just saw a FB reminder from 2010 and I'd been awake most of the night stressing about work and I was reminded how I spent SOOOOOO many years like that. Until taking my redundancy in 2012 (after 20+yrs) and even since then I've stepped into jobs that have sucked the life out of me.

    I think I just assumed it was something you HAD to do. My dad worked in the local council for 30+ years and he hated it. I grew up thinking work was a necessary evil to pay the bills. I guess I still think that, but - as you point out, I'm older and wiser now and perhaps have more freedom than my dad had to say, "That's it."

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    1. I worked for decades with the belief that it was something you sucked up and got on with Deb. It drained me dry and gave me a lot of resentment in my heart - especially towards my husband when he was working from home or doing something that didn't earn much money. I felt like I worked in miserable jobs so he could follow his dreams.
      Now I'm following mine - it might mean less $$ and less "this is what I do/what I am" but it makes my heart happy to not be driving into work knowing that I'm already counting down the hours until I can drive home again. I refuse to ever go back to that again - I'll downsize, eat baked beans, wear op-shop clothes, whatever it takes to not be dependent on a pay cheque from a job that destroys my happiness.

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  29. Hey Leanne. I'm so happy you were able to escape the toxicity of that job. I've been there and sometimes it's hard to make that leap but we must do it. Just like in relationships. My marriage was toxic. I tried my best to make it work but it started eating at me emotionally. That's when I knew, it was time. I really appreciate you sharing this. Shared, as always, to my SM. :)

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    1. Hi Bren - I think we're wired to keep pushing through, to keep trying different approaches, to think that all we deserve is what we have. The sheer joy of not doing that anymore sneaks up on me at random times of the day and I smile to myself - life is good and I'm NEVER going back - I deserve this life I now have (and so do you!) x

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