Hey,ladies! I promised this post a while back because I know it’s a hot topic for so many of my peers. Today I’m talking about how I made the decision to quit my day job, the tough questions I asked myself, and what I did to prepare to make career changes.
I think it’s important to preface my story with my past. Both my parents had ONE job their entire adult lives. They raised me to ALWAYS finish what I started, and they were very firm about making commitments. While I value commitment, I have found that it is NOT something that necessarily applies to my career (let me explain). I’ve struggled with getting to a place where I am OKAY with knowing the jobs I previously started are not for me. My message: there are circumstances, and I’ll tell you mine, that led me to change my way of thinking about committing to a job or career that no longer fits who I am and what I value in life.
The minute I was introduced to the career path of “buying” while I was studying abroad in Italy, I knew I had found MY career. I had my heart set on becoming a buyer for a large corporation. Less than a month after graduating, I began my corporate career on a development path that would ultimately lead me to being a buyer. Working a corporate job is not for the weary, and let’s just say thoughts of “corporate life isn’t for me,” crossed my mind frequently as months passed.
In April 2015, my mom fell extremely ill very unexpectedly. I left work the morning of April 3, 2015 and never went back to my job. In some ways, I was bummed that I quit my career, but in other ways, I was relieved that I had a legitimate reason to leave that didn’t involve “quitting.” By the end of the summer, I had a new job that was the complete opposite of corporate life. Working for a smaller company was a much different experience. Overall, I was much happier with my work/life balance (although I did miss the power of working for a large company) and lack of corporate politics was a refreshing change. Nonetheless, I still felt like something was “missing.”
My mom falling ill taught me so many lessons, and her illness opened my eyes to how quickly life can change. Her illness opened my eyes to how much time I SHOULDN’T waste because tomorrow is never guarantee. It also awakened a drive in me that I knew I had, but had never tapped in to, at that point in my life. I knew I wanted to be my own boss, make my own decisions, and work for my own bottom line. But I honestly didn’t know where to start when it came to starting my own business.
So, now what?
If you feel that drive, but don’t know WHAT to do-you’re not alone. The first step in making moves to change your career is acknowledging that you need a change and believing that you deserve to fulfill that desire. I’ve found that it takes a lot of honesty with yourself: where you are in life, what makes you happy, what you’re willing to sacrifice, serious conversations with spouse and loved ones, etc. I thought long and hard about those things and it has led me to a stronger, more secure place despite having just made the most risky career move I’ve ever made.
I’ve had so many people ask me how I ‘ve discovered my passion. How do I KNOW my passion? And how do you find yours? I think that’s a whole other topic (that I’d love to dive in to), but for now, I’ll leave you with a question. “What do you find yourself doing when you SHOULD be working?” That question guided me to where I am today. I hope it gives you a starting point.
When you have direction to what you THINK may make you happy, it’s time to dive in. You have to give every ounce of free time and energy you have in to that one thing (yes, while you’re still working your 9-5). In my opinion, quitting your job before you have a plan is risky. What if you don’t even like “the thing” you thought you would love? You have to form a plan, direction, and create opportunities for yourself before saying “bye” to your paycheck. This includes investing money and time in to your baby business and stepping out of your comfort zone to network. I have spent more nights in the past year up past midnight than ever before-cranking away at the computer and sleeping 4-5 hours a night to make my business happen.
Pro Tip: To mentally prepare to keep grinding at your 9-5, think of your current job as the way you’re “funding” your new business.
The million dollar question: “How do you know when it’s time to give up your salary and benefits?” Giving up financial security scared me the most. It is my comfort zone, and it’s what held me back for a long time (a year). Instead of quitting cold turkey, I went from full to part time salary and negotiated to keep my benefits. If you think this is a path you want to take in the near future, start considering strategies to spend less and save more. Are there luxuries you can afford now that you’re willing to sacrifice (drinks out, concerts, expensive dinners)? My advice to you is to talk to your significant other (or parents) and determine what moves you can afford to make. This is not a scenario you can compare to someone else and not a decision someone else can make for you.
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I was so stressed and worried about cutting back from my full time job. My paycheck is my safety zone but it was also holding me back from pursuing my passions. Once I made the move and had the conversations, I felt relieved, empowered, and motivated. Do I miss the full paycheck? Of course! But I am confident in my gut and the decision I made.
This post has gotten pretty long so I’ll stop here for today. I hope my story gives you motivation to make moves towards a more fulfilling career for you and your future. If you ever need a listening ear or advice I am always available!
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