The New Midlife Crisis: Quitting Your Job

I’m not buying a Corvette to cope with my midlife crisis.

Instead, I quit my job. Which is also one of the reasons why I’m not buying a Corvette.

Are Corvettes still the go-to choice for men going through a midlife crisis? They don’t even have a back seat. Where do you put the baby’s car seat? And does having a baby mean you’re in your “midlife?” Or does “midlife” mean my life is halfway over? At 37?!

Sorry. Let me back up.

I’m not having a midlife crisis. It’s more like a rebirth. Or an awakening. “I was blind but now I see.” I could turn this into tons of metaphors.

But the bottom line is I’m 37-years old, my wife and I have a 7-month old baby, and I just quit my job. I didn’t change jobs and take a position at a new company. I flat-out left without a concrete plan for what I’m going to do next.

Pretty responsible thing to do with a new baby at home, right?

Despite what you’d think, quitting wasn’t easy. I had a well-paying job at an amazing company with a great group of coworkers. It helped my wife and me enjoy a very comfortable life. It’s hard to walk away from that.

But the biggest reason it was hard is that I am NOT a quitter. Or at least I wasn’t a quitter.

But the truth is I was no longer cut out for what I was doing anymore. I had a successful run managing construction projects for 14 years. But for the last year or so, something was different. I found myself becoming overwhelmed with the amount of work in front of me, and my to-do list never shrunk. I started feeling like a failure.

Worst of all, I would bring that lingering anxiety home with me. And that had to stop.

Ever since I got married, I knew my life was going to be different (in many ways). One of those ways was going to be my career. And I didn’t know exactly how, but I knew I was going to “reinvent” myself or something.

When we started talking about having a baby, that’s when the voices in my head started screaming at me.

The absolute most important person in my life is my wife. And now we have a beautiful baby boy, and he’s a perfect little angel. And I know that the best thing I can do for our son is to be the best dad I can be.

What does that mean? I’m not sure yet. I just know it means that I want to be there for everything in his life: learning to walk; potty training; elementary school; ball practice; adolescence; learning to drive; swim meets; prom; etc.  I want to be present for everything, and I’ll figure out the details along the way.

Could I have stayed at my job and still be the dad I want to be? Maybe. There are thousands of dads all over the world doing the same job I did. Most of them seem to have figured it out.

But it wasn’t working for me anymore. My head and heart weren’t in it. The work was piling up faster than I could get it done. I was miserable every morning on my drive to work. And that’s bad for both me AND my (former) employer.

So with the full support of my wife, I left my well-paying job to start a new chapter in my life (the pun will be evident in two seconds). I don’t have a “concrete” plan that’s completely mapped out, but I do know exactly what I want to do:

I want to write and create things.

Throughout my 14-year career in project management, there was one compliment I received over and over: “Great email” or “Nice job on that letter” or some variant of that. To most in the industry, that means nothing. You don’t get promotions or bonuses based on your writing skills. It’s all about how much profit you make on a project or if it finishes on schedule.

I had plenty of successes along the way, but those compliments are what I remember to this day.

When we got pregnant with our son, my wife suggested that I start a blog to keep our friends and family up to date. Since I’d already built about a dozen other WordPress sites that never saw the light of day, I could do this in my sleep. And so I did.

Then a funny thing happened. I started getting comments on some of my articles like, “You missed your calling” and “You should have been a writer.” The comments may or may not have all been from my mother, but that’s beside the point.

The point is that all the compliments I’d received at work over the years came rushing back into my head. I won’t say I had a light bulb moment or some other spiritual epiphany, but I will say that I started thinking, “What if?”

What if I started writing more? Could I make a living doing that? What if I started creating the things that I want to create and shared them with people who actually care?

What if I can create the life that I want to live, instead of the life that high school counselors and college professors and the corporate world force down our throats?

I’m about to find out.

Am I nervous or scared? Absolutely.

But I’m going to write about everything I learn along the way and share it right here.

Want to read a book about this whole job-quitting, midlife crisis thing?

It’s finally happening. Three years after writing this post, I’m putting everything I’ve experienced and learned during this transition into a book.

Want to stay updated on my progress? Just drop your email right here:

I'm Brandon.

I’m a dad who writes about being a dad. When I can find the time between wiping butts and breaking up fights and chauferring and working. 

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