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Let’s be real. We all know how easy it is to leave a job we hate. Leaving a job that is draining us takes no heavy lifting. Yet, how many of us have had to grapple with making the decision to leave a job we appreciated? I’m talking about a job that provides us stability, security, and reliability.

We tolerate the job because it satisfies all of our needs.

In my life, I have had to make the decision to leave that kind of stable, totally comfortable job a few times. And let me be the first to tell you, the decisions were never easy.

I loved my first full time job out of college. I was working in the headquarters of a state agency in Tallahassee, Florida, where the legislature convened. With both Florida State and Florida A&M Universities in Tallahassee, I was living in an exciting, lively college town. My place was right off of the interstate. It was perfect.

However, I had decided that I wanted to pursue a graduate degree, which meant I’d have to leave the job, the town, and the pad I really enjoyed. The transfer meant I would have to work in a field office for about 2 years, and I did not want to work in a boring field office. I was young and wanted something fun and exciting, so my morale dropped once I transferred.

In the end, I got the degree and a few months later, I joined the Navy.

I had to once again leave a job I enjoyed when I decided if I wanted to become a lawyer. At the time, I was a Naval Officer. I enjoyed being in the military and the associated perks like a $10,000 bump in pay and free medical and dental care. By going to law school, I would have to leave the military, the job, and the perks.

In the end, I decided to go to law school and eventually became a lawyer.

Then, I decided to open my own firm. At the time I was contemplating leaving my job, I was earning more than I had ever earned or even thought I would earn. My office was across the street from my alma mater and had an awesome view. I had been practicing a particular area of law for about 6 years so I was fairly proficient in what I was doing. Everything was great.

The downside of opening my own law firm was starting all over again. This decision would mark the second time in my life I was starting from ground zero. In the end, I decided to open my own law firm and ran it for almost 10 years.

Let me clear that not every decision works out so smoothly.

With each decision I made, I made a lot of dumb decisions and foolish moves that could have derailed my progress, career, or what I wanted. Yet, the one thing I realized in each of these decisions is that I grew so much more once I pushed myself out of my comfort zone.

Stepping away from a job you enjoy is tough, but sometimes you need to take that big step toward becoming a better version of yourself. Opportunities don’t knock. You do.

Anthony Reeves

From chasing ice cream trucks to serving as a lawyer, professor, dancer, and activist, I'm on a mission to educate and inspire others to be their best selves.

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