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:

13 Responses

  1. Fantastic!!!! That was awesome. I’m so excited for you and your family’s new adventure you will do incredible. I think you are so very talented and I wish you the best of luck and I look forward to reading your first book in the near future. ?

  2. Awesome! Seems like all of us middle aged folks are going thru the same crises! 🙂 excited for you to have found your calling and getting out of the rat race.


    1. Adi, I still resent the “middle aged” title! If I’m only living to 74, then I have a lot of things to check off my list.

  3. Brandon,
    I’m proud of you! Your supportive wife has given you her blessing, and that’s huge! Y’all are a team! You are now coaches of a new little team mate! You want the best out of life for your family and yourself and you are going for it! Good for you! May God bless you and your many new endeavors! The best is yet to be!

  4. Proud of you Brandon! Follow your dreams and see where they take you. Everyone deserves the chance to be happy with what they do. You are in a position to do that at this time and I truly believe you are a great writer!!! The Consulting and Amazon projects may keep you busy as well. Who knows what else may be in store for you! I for one am excited to see!!!

  5. This article is amazing and so close to my own life, that I can’t even believe it! I quit in December after teaching for 21 years and even though I’m afraid, it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. I’ve really done a lot of soul-searching and have honestly never felt better about myself!

    1. That’s awesome, Emily! It’s definitely a scary decision to make. But sometimes you just know it’s the right one–mostly when you know there’s no other way 🙂 And the best part is you always know you could go back to teaching if you HAD to. So the worst case scenario isn’t really all that bad! Best of luck in whatever you’re pursuing!

  6. I did the exact thing last week . After 20 years at the same company. Quite a stressful role that was taking an increasingly bigger toll on my happiness . I’m single and have no plan but I believe I did the right thing. Time to slow down, breathe and evaluate what my next step will be. But first, time for me. Scary but exciting.

    1. I am forty two this year. I have had a fantastic career in finance for the past twenty years. But I woke up this morning and feel with a certain degree of certainty that I just do not want to do it anymore. The feeling has been nagging me for a few weeks now. At first i tried to create the change by sprucing up my working space. But after weeks of creating a space designed to make me focus, i realised the change i am looking for is in me and not my environment. So here I am mulling what to do. I have not quit my job yet but am very close to it. It is scary. I have commitments but yet I cannot imagine beign stuck in my career for the next 10 years.

      1. That feeling has probably been under the surface for a lot longer than a few weeks! It’s like something slowly erodes in you over time. And you don’t realize it’s happening until it surfaces and it’s too late. I can also relate to that whole exercise of changing your work environment to improve your morale or boost your motivation. I used to buy new monitors or office chairs (and even new iPhones). But you know this–the “new” is just a short dopamine blast that wears off in a day. The only thing I can say (from experience) is to have a plan before you quit! Well, that and go read “So Good They Can’t Ignore You” by Cal Newport.

    2. Good for you! And taking time to “slow down, breathe and evaluate” IS a plan. So you do have one. Just call it a “tactical retreat,” a la Jocko Willink. Nothing wrong with taking some time to decompress and just THINK–especially if you have enough savings to float it!

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