I am sure that you all remember my post about leaving my job at Abercrombie after I realized that I could no longer work in such a toxic industry with a clear conscience. However, what I am talking about today is when I knew that it was the right time for me to make the big, terrifying, and ultimately life-changing decision to quit my safe, corporate job and pursue the uncharted territory of working for myself as a blogger.
For months leading up to my decision, I had toyed with the idea of blogging full time, but it was in a more whimsical “one day’ kind of mindset that I would go to when I was struggling to fit in with co-workers or being forced to cancel my already booked vacations because the work calendar changed. Basically, I knew that I would not be happy if I continued to work in the surroundings I was in, for a company that honestly didn’t care much about its employees let alone the environment.
While I knew I wanted out – figuring out how to do that was hard. Because in reality, we all love to think that being a fashion designer would be a super high paying job, but it wasn’t. A and I had barely anything in our “rainy-day” fund and we still owed money on both of our cars, so the idea of quitting the only thing paying our bills seemed ludicrous. Then on December 5th of 2015, a lot of things changed for us.
As much as this part of the story pains me, it was the huge eye-opening life shift that changed my situation in numerous way, but even as I write this years later I am tearing up. A and I had just gotten to Nashville Tennessee to celebrate his 23rd birthday when my mom called to tell me that my grandpa, and one of the greatest men to ever walk the face of the earth, had passed away. It was something we had seen coming, but I was praying that I could see him when we flew out for Christmas and the shock was almost unbearable.
Going through this stirred up a lot of feelings obviously, but strangely I found one of the most predominant ones was the anguish of realizing he was never going to get to see me do something I was proud of. He would never see me help the environment, he would never see me be my own boss. To top it all off, my work was HORRIBLE about it. I had already lost my step-grandfather the month prior, and they all seemed to take on the “well how many grandparents can you have?” mentality. I was told I needed to come in the day after I found out despite being an emotional wreck. They even forced me to come to the employee Christmas party that night because it was a “team building exercise”. FYI Not sure how much team building resulted from me weeping in a bathroom stall of a disgusting bowling alley in Ohio for two hours, Abercrombie.
As unfortunate as these circumstances were, they led me to become introspective about my goals and desires and helped me layout tangible ways of getting them. I realized that if something like this happened to another loved one, I couldn’t bear to be told I wasn’t allowed to mourn again. I was sick of the bullshit of being told when and where I was allowed to do things that were basic human rights. I was sick of overhearing my co-workers say disgusting, racist, demeaning things and having HR say things like “You are just too educated” when I complained (whatever the hell that means).
Once I came out of that dark place, I worked harder on the blog than I ever could have imagined and slowly that profits began to roll in. I opened The F Word Gift Shop after that which added a lot of revenue to our lives. I started writing our Podcast. In other words, I took charge. I was not OK with being the passenger in my own life anymore.
So when it comes to making a big, scary, life changing decision, it really boils down to a few key questions:
Are you happy now?
Are you proud of the work you are doing? Do you feel satisfied? Do you like your work environment, co-workers etc? Do you find your mind wandering at work constantly or are you engaged?
If not, what will make you happy in the long run?
That doesn’t mean slacking off in the name of happiness, it means building something to make yourself happier. What can you add to your life that will make it happier? Do you care about money or integrity more? Because for a while you might not be earning that much money. My first month blogging I made $700! That’s it! Buuuttt….go from there and now I make more than I did at Abercrombie!
Do you have backups in place?
While I don’t agree that you should put huge amounts of energy into a plan B (that just detracts energy from plan A), I do think that you should access your alternative streams of income or ways to save. We ate ramen for many meals and I stopped wearing makeup so we could save some money. In other words, we got creative with our money saving and it definitely worked out to our benefit.
As scary as it can be to make a change this big, all I can say is that in my experience, it made my life magic. I was relieved of all the toxicity and negativity I faced daily. I was relieved of the annoying burdens of working a 9-6 (but really more like 9-8) that allowed no wiggle room for my family or my life. I was relieved of the burden of knowing I was working for a disgusting company whose values didn’t align with my own. These freedoms mean more to me than words can say. Last week I had a dentist appointment in the middle of the day! The week before that I saw a matinee movie on a Friday. And while it is certainly not all fun and games, the hours that I pour into my blog are hours that I am proud and happy to put in.
…Plus I don’t have to live in Ohio now! Haha (no offense to anyone in/from Ohio, it was just not for me!).