How Did We Get Here? A Short Story of Burnout, Recovery and the Reigniting of Hope

The 30 something woman who possessed the work ethic, brains, determination, and good fortune to shoot up her career ladder finds herself surveying the view from the near-top. Her empire below is the scorched earth of missed birthdays, Saturdays at the office, and calls, texts and emails from her loved ones left unattended on her phone. The skies above are darkened by the type of cloud that can only mean stormy days lie ahead.

So she makes a choice and she hops off the ladder. She hangs out at home with her cat, baking cupcakes crafting, and writing. She starts an Etsy business or maybe a blog. When she looks at her queendom now, it’s bucolic - rolling green hills and blue skies.

I mean – we can all agree that she’s an archetype in today’s career-obsessed, success/failure culture. Right?

Since archetypes are based on the universality of experience, I don’t mind saying that the 30 something career-driven woman who burns out and finds a better life is me.

When I first wrote about leaving my job (or you know, my life as I knew it), this blog wasn’t even a glimmer in my mind. I wrote for two reasons: catharsis and to stoke my creative fire that had dwindled to one glowing ember. And now here I am, four months later, looking back on what is now the inspiration for my first blog post and I see so much hurt, but also, so much hope. And I want to share that with all of you so you can understand how A Fiery Peace came to be.

Choosing to leave my job was a slow building, long coming decision. I can say, with absolute conviction, I did everything I could to find a way to stay.

These were my truths: I loved my job. I loved my marketing team. I loved the management team that I was truly grateful to be a part of.

These were also my truths: The company culture was inhospitable. Shame-based management destroyed my creativity and ultimately, my desire to succeed at that company. I worked tirelessly for years because I loved my job, my employees, and the company. I worked myself to actual, honest-to-goodness exhaustion. My marriage suffered. My friendships and relationships with family members suffered.  My mental and physical health suffered. If you read a checklist of stress-related physiological symptoms, I’d just nod my head yes through the whole damn thing

The decision to leave was, to date, the most difficult decision I made. Choosing my health, my marriage and my well-being over a Director of Marketing position was months of unrelenting mental anguish. I had faith that what I would gain was the freedom to explore a diverse world of career opportunities, a happy marriage, and, most importantly, my mental and physical health. (I was right!)

It was terrifying to choose to leave financial security and a sky-rocketing career. But it was even more terrifying to think about everything I might lose if I chose to stay. In the end, I chose me and I chose my husband and I chose this wonderful life I am building for myself every day.

Recovery has not been easy. Every day I renew my dedication to a combination of therapy, exercise, nutrition, and my own non-denominational version of spirituality to see me through to a whole new version of wellness. This combination of wellness practices has dramatically altered my life for the better and it seems pretty selfish not to share what I’ve learned. Especially because I know there are lots more of these archetypal women and men out there, quite literally killing themselves for the next promotion. Cheers to you if that’s the life you love living. I’m here for you if that’s a life you’d like to change.

Let’s learn and experiment and grow and get better together. Shall we?