When I decided about a year ago that I wanted to quit my very secure job as a national network news reporter to travel the world, most people thought I was crazy. And they were right. But not in the way you might expect. I was crazy to continue working in a field I hated. I was crazy to pretend to give a shit about Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus just because the pay was decent. I was crazy to be working a job just for a paycheck that I couldn’t even enjoy spending due to the limitations of the actual job.
In the five years I worked at my last job, I was never allowed to take more than five days off in a row, but I still managed to travel to Mexico, the Bahamas, Ireland, Scotland, England and Italy. Those trips lit a fire in me that I hadn’t felt in a long time. Kind of like the one Amanda Bynes lit in a stranger’s driveway… man, I wont miss that train wreck. I use to feel that kind of passion for my career. I sure as hell fought hard enough for it. But the fire I had inside me for journalism was slowly and painfully extinguished by mind numbing “reporting” on celebrity break-ups.
I knew I needed to get the fuck out, leave the corporate mentality behind, and literally flee the country to cleanse my soul of all things celebrity. Which brings us to today. My last day at work. If you ask my bosses, they decided to terminate my contract a year early to “move in another direction,” – essentially a nice way of saying, “you’re fired!” but with less Donald Trump and more kid glove.
If you ask my friends, family and strangers I’ve had too much wine in front of… I got exactly what I wanted. I wanted out of this job so badly that I systematically tried to get “fired,” or at least convince my bosses they’d be better off without me so they wouldn’t fight me when I tried to leave. Think, “How to lose a guy in 10 days,” but more desperate and with a non-existent wardrobe budget.
Some of the best news of my adult life came last week, when my boss called me out of the blue and said, “this isn’t a good call.” I smiled and thought…. Let ME be the judge of that. He went on to say they weren’t going to keep me on for the final year of my contract (that would make six years total- just kill me) I tried to appear much more professional than I actually am but that shit went out the window when I started giggling like a little girl. I couldn’t even control it. The relief and happiness I felt is truly indescribable. I already had a meeting scheduled with the bosses the following Monday, to ask them to do what they had already decided on. My plan had worked.
I know that I seem like a total asshole. It’s not lost on me that the unemployment rate is high, and people are struggling while I’m choosing to walk away from a six figure salary to become a gypsy – minus the gold jewelry, which just doesn’t work with my skin tone. So now that I am no longer property of my former employer, I can tell you my new plan. Starting in May, I am going to travel the world. For a full year. Despite my generous salary, I’m not rolling in cash. This adventure will not be a luxurious one. I’ll be averaging spending about $60 a day while traveling. That includes transportation, lodging and meals. So now maybe you know why most people think I’m crazy. I’m willingly trading in red carpets and designer dresses for couch surfing and youth hostels. Yeah… the kind in the horror films. I plan to drink heavily so my organs aren’t worth harvesting. When I wake up in a bathtub filled with ice… the joke is on them.
For those still questioning my sanity regarding taking this trip and blowing my savings with no employment lined up, you’re about to feel terrible. I told myself I wasn’t going to play the “cancer” card here, but…since it’s my website and I’m in charge…I’ll do what I want. A few years ago, I was diagnosed with cancer. And in keeping with the amazing timing of having to renew with my job for another three years when I already wanted out, just to keep the medical insurance, my mother was currently battling breast cancer. I don’t know who I pissed off in a past life, but they have serious connections.
At the time, I was established in Los Angeles, making decent money and other than hating my job, I was loving life. Then, all of it was threatened. I lost everything. I lost the childhood security you let yourself hold onto long into adulthood… the security of thinking your mom will always be there for you. We were both sick. She couldn’t help me and I couldn’t help her. I lost my health and all of my savings in the span of about a year. And I was still being forced to report on Kim Kardashian, just so you truly understand my hell. But it was all about to change.
My epiphany came while I was sitting on my couch, writing a story about Lindsay Lohan’s latest legal troubles. I reached up to brush my hair out of my face with my hand and when I brought it back down to the key board, I could see more of my hair had come out. I just stared at the brown, thinning, brittle strands wrapped around my fingers and thought… how is this my life? I was lying to my bosses about working from home because I was too sick to go into the bureau. (When you puke more than once in the office trash can in front of your co-workers, it’s time to reevaluate things.) I clicked out of the story I was writing about LiLo – (What a stupid nickname) and immediately pulled up my bank statements. Empty. So this job, that I hated and only put up with for the paycheck was now barely paying my medical bills. I looked around my apartment and again at my statements and decided right then and there. I was done. The minute I was out from under the medical debt I would quit and do something different with my life. However long it may be.