Are You Ready for Change?

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Five years ago today (it was also a Friday), I walked away from a well-paying job that was making me sick. At the time, I wasn’t certain I’d never go back, I only knew that I needed to leave. For more than three years previous, I’d been tremendously unhappy, but never thought I could quit. I made a very good salary, had excellent benefits, and marked time toward a retirement and a pension. But I was so miserable that it was affecting my health, and a month after both my husband and my longtime friend advised me to leave, I did. Then my doctor advised me to stay away until my health issues were under control and I figured out what to do next.

My blood pressure was sky-high. I was overweight. And the following month I developed herniated discs in my back that I’m convinced were stress related. I took painkillers, blood pressure pills, anxiety medication. I was despondent over the fact that my professional career might be finished, even though it was a career I never intended to have.

A reader since the age of four, I devoured books. Majored in English in college and soaked up novels by Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Lawrence, and Joyce. My parents encouraged me, even giving me a Creative Writing course at Brown University one summer. But when my father died unexpectedly while I was a junior in college (and abroad), everything changed. There was no more dreamy talk about being a writer. I got a job in a bank after college (so ill-suited to me!) and worked in a number of banks before landing a job as a Securities Regulator with a state agency. (Even I have to laugh at that – I knew nothing about securities regulation, but worked hard and learned what I needed to know). That led to a job as a Medicaid Fraud Investigator with the Attorney General’s office, and the peak of my professional accomplishment, an elected position on the Board of Regents for the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. I did the job well, even if I wasn’t passionate about it.

Then, through a series of events, I was ostracized by the men I worked with. I dreaded going into the office, but stuck it out for more than three years before finally saying ‘Enough.’ And five years later, I have absolutely no regrets. I began writing novels, and have published six of them. The positive feedback I receive for my writing means everything to me, really, because I am doing what I love.

You can change your course as well. It’s a lot easier to do if you have no debt, so if you’re inclined to switch paths, get yourself out of debt NOW. Believe me, you can live on less and be ten times happier. I do and I am.

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22 Comments

Kathie Reynolds Percival March 20, 2016 at 4:47 pm

Martha….I LOVE your courage and ADMIRE your honesty. You Go Girl !!!!

Congratulations – you seem to have made a very satisfying adjustment to your life. I have too, when I chose to take early retirement rather than be moved to a job I know I would have hated, but like you I was aware of my good fortune in being in a strong enough financial position to do it. I’ve been saying a silent thank you for that every day for the last three years. Others aren’t so lucky and I can’t imagine what it must be like to have to stay in a job that makes you ill. One of my friends had a similar problem to yours (being isolated by the men she worked with) and I saw how utterly miserable she was. Eventually she was made redundant and has now found another job where she is happy, thankfully.

Martha, it is a remarkable story. Walking away from a job – yes – but six (!) published novels since? That is also amazing. Did you go through ‘I don’t know what to write’ stage? Do you plan the structure of your novels before you sit down to write them?

    Thank you, Polly. Three of those six are part of a trilogy. I’ve never felt at a loss for story topics, perhaps because I have so much I want to say! I do some rough planning, but have made plot changes as I write. Sometimes you ask, ‘but what if THIS happened now?’ And the story goes somewhere else.
    Thank you for posting!

You have always inspired me Martha, and I am so happy for you and proud of you! Our Dad’s were good friends and mine was a PC Grad like you, in English..
I forwarded the message to one of my daughters and others who my benefit from the message, thanks for sharing your your heartfelt struggle and courageous solution!
I am so grateful for my Profession and Vocation of being a Physical Therapist, I learn from every person and have loved teaching Tai Chi as well. Thanks again…keep writing about your journey!
Peace and Blessings!
Tom

You are so brave, Martha. After 27 years working for wonderful people, a large company bought the mail order catalog I worked for. Convinced I couldn’t walk away from the paycheck (I was in management), I stayed three stressful years until they eliminated my position. Life goes on and my health is so much better. Wish I’d had your courage. 🙂

Change sometimes can be hard but it can be a blessing as you have found. I discovered that too when I decided to walk away from Blue Cross Blue Shield and go to work in my church office for quite a bit less money. I wouldn’t change a thing.

Lovely to read such an inspiring story, Martha.

BRAVO! You are an EXTRA-ORDINARY woman and an inspiration to all of us. It is wonderful to see you going from strength to strength. You rock, Martha Reynolds! xxxx

Great inspiration Martha! 🙂

How inspiring! It’s hard to make the jump- a lot of us stay unhappy in our jobs because we’re too scared to think of the consequences!

I’m so glad it worked out for you. Since leaving “rosewinelover” and starting this new blog I’m happier, and am making new connections too. I’m still deciding how my book should go, but I know I can make it work for me 🙂

Fabulous story of a very wise decision!

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