Who quits a six-figure career to write “for fun” amid layoffs and an impending global recession? This lady.
Last month I quit my job as editorial director to take a long-overdue break. My self-care and creativity are now my full-time job until the end of the year.
What does that mean? Instead of working a traditional 9-to-5, I’m writing, resting, decluttering, fixing, bouldering, socializing, and anything else my curious little heart desires… until I figure out what to do next.
That’s right: I’m taking a break without another job lined up, as more layoffs are announced, right before the holidays, to write things that make me happy, which right now is mostly comedy.
Cristy, are you sure this isn’t another life crisis? You seem to have one of those every 2-3 years.
I’m not sure. Ask me again later.
Work Stress: A Tale as Old as Time
For the record, quitting wasn’t an impulsive decision. It was just a quiet one. I gave my notice and received a generous leave offer, which I accepted, then ducked out without any pomp and circumstance. I’m sorry to everyone I did not notify before my last day. It wasn’t personal; I just ran out of time.
I’d been struggling with burnout for quite a while, kicking the can down the road as long as I could. Although I knew it wasn’t true, I told myself that if I pushed myself just a little harder or worked a wee-bit longer, I’d finally catch up and everything would miraculously work itself out.
You know what I mean, that fantasy we tell ourselves to stay afloat when we’re drowning?
Turn Around, Don’t Drown
Then, one week before my vacation in September, something didn’t feel right. I couldn’t understand what was happening to me. It felt as if my brain was so fried I couldn’t physically function at all.
So, I quit.
It actually wasn’t that easy. It was a very hard decision. In fact, it felt very selfish to put myself first. I also didn’t want to give up everything I had worked so hard to build (the sunk cost fallacy).
I assumed people would try to talk me out of quitting, but instead I received support and encouragement.
I finally gave myself permission to let it all go. Then I quit.
Working on Myself
After spending the last three years writing for others, I’m reclaiming my creative voice. It’s going to take me a while to find it again, but I’m already enjoying the journey.
I’m writing every day. I journal in the mornings, mostly free-association writing to take out the mental trash. I’ve been using my Notes app on my iPhone more and more which helps me write whenever inspiration strikes.
I’m visiting friends and family and remembering what it’s like to be an introvert in the world again. I missed being overwhelmed by people and societal norms.
On Saturday my husband and I competed in our first indoor bouldering competition. 💪🏼 It was super fun! I did much better than I thought I would.
I’m reading again, picking up where I left off, literally dusting off books from my shelves and revisiting old purchases in my Kindle library. (I will finish you, “Lonesome Dove.” 👀)
I’m decluttering, cleaning, and reorganizing my home. I actually really enjoy doing this kind of stuff, so I’m not complaining.
I’m taking charge of my mental health. (Sorry to all the people I’ve texted lately with links to self-help books. I’ve had so many epiphanies lately. Also, please use the referral link I sent you so we can both 60 days free on Scribd. I can resend. Lemme know. Thnx.)
Honestly, I have a lot of writing projects on my mind. The hardest part is narrowing down what I’d like to focus on.
Here’s what I plan to work on:
- Finish the first draft of my screenplay, a comedy about competitive climbing, and host a table read for notes.
- Write my first 3-minute stand-up set. Some friends and I signed up for a stand-up class and have our showcase next month. (I wrote my first joke last week, a dark one-liner that earns an uncomfortable chuckle. I’m so proud.)
- Launch a new blog to publish my not-so-marketable musings, like my rant about “The Shining”. (Welcome to my new blog!)
- Start a Slack community with trusted writer-friends, inspired by this The Screenwriting Life podcast episode, for table reads and healthy doses of accountability. (Interested? Request an invite to join the writers group right here!)
- Edit videos from the hours of existing footage in my external hard drives. Not the highest priority, but I’d like to at least start this project before the end of the year.
- Do improv on stage again! My last in-person show was in February 2020; my last Zoom show was in January 2021. Need another player for your show? Pick meeeee. 🙋🏻♀️
Finally, I’ll need to figure out what to do next. There’s no plan. I honestly have no idea what I’ll be doing in January 2023. I’m saving that problem for Future Cristy. Please don’t tell her yet.
You’ve always been so brave and unafraid to speak your mind. You enjoy this time to lose yourself and find yourself again and again! Love you!
I am a big fan of whatever you do! Here’s to recharging and doing what you love!
Love this Cristy! Thanks for you sharing this and congratulations on putting yourself first. I am excited for what the future holds for you and I think future Cristy will agree 🙂
I love the word “Funployment”! ❤ Those sound like wonderful goals. I hope you enjoy it.