More than twenty years ago, I fell into my career. I didn’t graduate with a Marketing degree. In fact, I had wanted to be a teacher and didn’t plan on becoming a marketing professional at all. I loved kids and wanted to make a difference in their lives. At the time, I thought becoming a teacher was the way to do that. I struggled in college due to having to work more than full time to pay for life and school. Life ended up winning and I worked more than I went to class. It took me almost ten years to complete a two year degree.
Not having a bachelor’s degree was a stumbling block that I had to overcome early on. I over came this by having a charismatic, likeable personality. Going above and beyond and just getting things done. I was known as a go-getter, the person who you wanted on your team if you had lofty goals and needed someone to successfully see the project through to completion. Now years later, thankfully, no one is interested in my education but rather my experience and my professional successes. My go get em’ attitude and work ethic has served me well.
A little more than a year ago, I was working in a job that I didn’t love but could do in my sleep. It was easy and I was good at it. I made great money, had even better benefits but it didn’t fulfill me or satisfy my need to “give back”. I worked for “the man” and just helped a corporation make more money. I got no joy from this and in fact, it took more from my life than it enhanced it. I was eternally stressed out, always sick, constantly worried that I wasn’t enough and working 60+ hours a week. I didn’t have fun anymore. I was at the doctors all of the time and took way to many sick days because I was physically sick more than I was well. I was taking more medications than I could count. All of my illnesses were stress induced, and since quitting, I’m so excited that I’m no longer on any meds and have lost more than 30 pounds. I am not making a ton of money these days, but I am healthier and happier than I’ve ever been!
Sometimes, choosing to be happy means giving up what you think may be your security blanket of a steady salary and benefits. Don’t get me wrong, making a good living and having great benefits is important but not compared to your health and happiness. If you are working all of the time but not finding any joy in what you are doing, then what’s the point? That’s where I was at.
I didn’t have the best action plan in place when I quit my corporate job, but I am figuring it out as I go. It’s been a great learning process. I’m learning what I’m really good at, what I enjoy doing, that it’s important for me to give back and help others and so much more! I didn’t make a ton of money over the past year, but I made enough to make ends meet and have a little fun along the way.
I’m happy to report that although I’m not making six figures my happiness level is the highest it’s ever been. That speaks volumes and reminds me every day that I made the right decision to quit my job and do things that make me happy instead of working at a job that brought me no joy. If after reading this, you decide that quitting your job is what you’d also like to do, I recommend that you have an action plan in place BEFORE you do that. Here are a few things that are essential for this plan to be successful:
1. Before you walk into your bosses’ office to give your notice, try journaling to figure out your feelings about your job/career and to help you identify what it is you could start doing that will bring you more joy!
2. Have a plan about what you are going to do to make the money you will need to support yourself. Have at least three to six months of savings to fall back on. 3. Make sure your credit cards and other revolving credit lines are paid off but don’t close them. You may need to use credit when you are figuring things out and just getting started.
4. Be creative and ask your friends and/or professional contacts in your network for their opinion on your idea, business name, business model and any marketing materials. Remember it’s your business and your plan though, so don’t take other’s criticism or any negative comments to personally. It’s ultimately your decision on how you are going make this new way of working and living work for you; be it a new business, freelance jobs or odd jobs that you would love. You will have nay-sayers, but try your best to surround yourself with those friends and contacts that support your idea and lift you up. That will be a lifesaver for your emotional state and well being.
My decision to leave my J.O.B. didn’t happen over night. I had many obstacles, disappointments and challenges that I had to endure before I came to this decision. I have no regrets and feel that I have more opportunities than I had while I was working full time. I now have time to explore different avenues, network and figure out what I really want to do with the rest of my life. It’s working out beautifully for me and I wish the same for you!