5 Lessons from my last day of work

I walked into the clinic holding a latte and the weight of the world on my shoulders. It was my last day of working as a nurse, and I was terrified. Terrified that I was making a mistake, that I would never make it as a freelance writer, that I’d be right back here in a few months.


But as scared as I was, it felt right. I felt like I was taking the next step in coming back to who I truly was. I know that I am meant to be home with my babies. I know that I am meant to work for myself.

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And so here I was, about to accomplish the biggest goal I’d ever set for myself. I’m not sure what I expected to feel on that last day, but it was truly just a normal day. I ran around from patient to patient like normal. I found a few minutes to eat lunch like normal. And when I walked out the door at the end of the day, I felt… normal. When I got into the car, Alicia Keys’ Girl on Fire came on the radio, and the magnitude of this day started to set in. I started to sing along, and then got really into it. It was like she was talking about me. As I drove along singing and crying - this was during a snowstorm and traffic was moving at about 5 mph, so everyone on the road got a real show - I thought about what I had learned that day.


You’ll give others the courage to be brave


When you go after something big, something you really want, you will give others permission to do the same. I was absolutely floored at the number of coworkers who came into my office that day and told me that they were also thinking of leaving. These were people who I assumed loved their work, because they’d been there so long, but just like me, they had bigger dreams and aspirations.

I had been feeling so guilty about abandoning everyone there, but if I had stayed, I wouldn’t have helped anyone. By being brave, I (hopefully) gave others the courage to do the same.


There are no guarantees


Whenever I thought about leaving my job to pursue freelance writing, I always felt a little selfish. Nursing is a dependable profession, and I am willing to risk that job security just so I can be home. But what I never realized is that maybe freelancing is the real safe choice.

The day after my husband and I decided that it was time for me to leave my job, I went into my director’s office to quit. Before I had the chance, she informed me of the new scheduling requirements for the nurses. I had been working about 3-4 days per month, but that was going away. I was going to be expected to work quite a bit more, and I wouldn’t be able to choose the days (like I had been doing). Had I stayed, we would have had to go back to daycare, but would have needed a daycare that let us constantly change our schedule based on my work schedule.

We always think of our traditional 9-5’s as being the safe choice, but those roles can change at any time. We could get laid off or our hours cut.


There truly are no guarantees, so I’d rather depend on myself. If I want to make more money, I simply take on more projects. If we want to go on vacation, I adjust my schedule. I’m betting on myself instead of an employer.


You’ll never be ready


This is a big one. Years ago when I knew I wanted to be able to leave my nursing job, I set a big income goal. I wanted to be making a full-time nurse' salary from home before quitting.

That number seemed so unattainable, and I knew that if I was ever able to hit it, I would of course have no trouble leaving my job. But the thing is, I hit that goal without even realizing it. I plugged away making mistakes and learning new lessons for years, and when I finally hit that magic number, I still didn't feel ready. I immediately started thinking of reasons why it was too soon.


You'll never feel totally ready and safe to make a big leap. Do it anyway.


Just take the first step


When I decided to make a change, I felt lost. I had no idea how I was going to replace that income, and the unknown intimidated me. But what I learned is that all I had to do was to take the first step.

Every time I made a decision and moved just a little bit forward, the next right step presented itself to me. You don't need a 5-year plan mapped out. All you have to do is take the first step.

For me, the first step was simply setting a date. I decided that my last day of work would be December 16, 2016 and I stuck to it. I wrote that date all over my day planner. I changed my work passwords to 121616, so that I was always staying mindful of and inspired by my goal.

It was never about the job

I had just spent YEARS of my life believing that I needed to quit my job to be truly happy and fulfilled. I was SO focused on hitting my goal, that I missed the chance to bring happiness and fulfillment into each and every day.


So now I want to hear from you. What's your big take away from today? If you're currently working towards being able to leave your job and work from home, what is the one step forward you'll take today? I can't wait to hear about it in the comments!

Carrie Madormo