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Life is too short to spend time doing things that make you unhappy. I'm trying hard to do just that and I've hit some bumps along the road in the meantime.
As a kid and teenager, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up and became an adult. That's how I ended up going to school to be a child care educator, something that I thought I could enjoy, but not my true passion. I took a program to become an educator and spend eight years trying out different daycare jobs and age groups of children to see what I liked and if something suited me better. I enjoyed the job for the first several years but after a while, it became a routine; a boring and tedious daily routine that gave me no joy or hope. I thought it was the daycare centre that was the problem, and if I found a different centre I would be happier but that wasn't the case. Even between jobs I searched for other non-child care related jobs, but somehow always came back to childcare for whatever reason. It was my safety net because I had that experience and I knew how to do the job well, but it didn't ignite anything inside of me.
Each year I grew to hate the job and the politics of the job more and more. For a career that is mostly female oriented, there was always so much unnecessary drama between staff, it felt like being back at high school.
After being at my last job for over a year, I started feeling depressed and having problems with other staff, children and management. Management knew the problems I was having with a particular child, but they did nothing to give me more support and kept defending the particularly troubling child. I loathed going into work and the anxiety I had because of this particular child lingered on and became worse each day.
One day, enough was enough. All the pressures of the job were not worth it, and I was tired of coming home in tears all the time. I debated quitting but there was always something standing in my way like, "what would I do without childcare," or "what about money", "what would I do every day now?" So many thoughts and questions and I didn't know the answer to any of them. I was so miserable that I didn't care though and with the support of my boyfriend, who helped me feel better and gave me the courage to quit my crappy and stressful job.
I quit that child care job the next day and haven't looked back. Sometimes I look back on it with fondness and there were some good memories, but it wasn't worth staying because I knew things wouldn't get better. I told myself if I quit this job, then I would be done with childcare because that was the best daycare I worked at, and I've stayed true to my word because I know that it's something I don't want anymore and I've outgrown it.
Do I regret quitting my job? No, I don't at all, and I realize now that it was the best decision I could've made. It's been four months since I've left and there are struggles that I deal with all the time, mostly finances. Quitting childcare all together has allowed me more time and energy to discover what truly makes me happy and it turns out that it's photography.
During my time working at that last daycare, I started doing photography on the side and uploading my work online and selling stock photography. It's much more satisfying and freeing and is something that I truly love to do and hope I can continue to expand my work. Does it provide consistent money? No, it doesn't and it is an adjustment. Does it make me happy? Yes, it does.
To sum things up, life can take you on a lot of different journeys. If you're doing something that you can say you honestly hate, I say life is too short to be unhappy. If you aren't happy with what you are doing, only you have the power to get up and change. It might take some time for you to realize what you want to do and how to go about it. It might help talking things out with a close friend or family member. Never be afraid to change. Was I terrified of quitting and thought that I was making a mistake? Yes, it was extremely nerve wracking but I wouldn't change what I did.
Make the most out of the life you've been given and follow your dreams. There's so much possibility out there that if you go and look and explore, you might just find what you're looking for.