Six Years Out

 

In April, I celebrated my sixth anniversary of leaving my stable, corporate job. It was a job I held for nearly 17 years. It was also a job that was taking a bigger and bigger toll on my health and my state-of-mind. I saved money. I planned. I hoped for a change that would allow me to stay. And when that didn’t come, I took a leap. Six years later, my life couldn’t look more different than it did then.

When I was contemplating leaving, I had a lot of conversations with my parents. I figured if anyone would talk me out of walking away from a stable income, it would be them out of concern. Instead, I was so fortunate to have them be supportive of the idea. As my mom said, “If you stay, you know what every day will be like. If you leave, who knows what the future holds.” It was that hope for a better future or at least one that I didn’t dread, that helped me make the move.

Six years ago, I worked every weekend, most nights, every vacation, and started checking my Blackberry at 4:50 am every day. It was the kind of life that involved panic attacks or deep funks on Sunday nights, and zombie-like plodding through the weeks. Creativity was being killed off, and while I was in demand, I never felt particularly valued or like what I was doing really mattered. I had no time for anything else. I’m a homebody (or a couch-body) anyway, so trying to get me to socialize with my schedule was pretty difficult. I never dated (though that was as much LA’s fault as the job’s). Now, I actually see friends. I have a social life. I can work at the beach, and my schedule is my own.

And I got married in May 2017. Yep, I wasn’t kidding about my life looking different now.

 

 

Sheryl Bale Photography, wedding photography, marina, casual wedding

Andy and I celebrating our wedding at the California Yacht Club. Photo by Sheryl Bale Photography.

 

I’d love to say that I was a brilliant success from the day after I quit my job. It hasn’t been that easy. I wrote a book. I filmed a pilot for a web series I wrote. I wrote a feature film script. And I became a travel writer. All of this means that there are daily financial and motivational challenges that I had never faced as an adult. I have had to create a support network with friends and my husband in order to keep going. I have had to learn to network (something I am terrible at still). I have had to learn to ask for help – something that makes me queasy whenever I do it. Despite the struggle, I wouldn’t go back.

Will I ever have the financial security I had back then? I don’t know. Success is somehow defined differently now, although I’d like to think financial reward will be part of it. This life is now filled with my choices. And some of them have been terrible, “what were you thinking?” choices. But those mistakes were mine, and I learned from them. I’m thinking of sharing some of those with others who are also contemplating taking the leap towards something better in a “Quitting Your Job” series.

This blog was largely born out of the need to celebrate the little wins. Small victories and tiny forward movements are things I cheer for when they happen to me and when they happen for others. These little things inspire me to keep moving. Because sometimes, all you have are the little things. And sometimes, they are all you need.

18 comments on “Six Years Out”

  1. Steph Reply

    What an inspiration. I have only been blogging for a year now and some days I wonder if I should continue. Congrats on your marriage and your successes so far for your bravery to step outside the corporate world.

    • Patricia Reply

      There have definitely been times when I wondered what the heck I was thinking, but I’m still hopeful. And writing vexes me constantly because sometimes it feels like you put so much work into it and nobody is reading. But if you love it, keep going! I know I’m reading your stuff. 🙂

  2. Claire Summers Reply

    Thank you for this right at the moment when I am questioning my decisions. Worrying about being financially stable and struggling to find some balance. I know it’s never going to be easy. What is 🙂 Thank you for the inspiration and reminder I’m not the only one!

    • Patricia Reply

      There are definitely days where I struggle, particularly financially, but celebrating the small wins really helps!

  3. Andrea Reply

    I left my corporate job three years ago and MY GOD, I can’t imagine ever going back! I feel like I’m really living, even though the cash isn’t always consistent. I’m writing a book too! I love being self-employed, it’s the only way to live!

    • Patricia Reply

      Right?? Going back to that life just sounds impossible now. Good luck with the book!

  4. Patricia Reply

    Thank you! Right now I cobble together a lot of different writing projects to pay the bills. I’d love to be able to focus on something and have it actually be lucrative enough to stop juggling.

  5. Paige W Reply

    What an inspiration! Happy Anniversary! It’s so amazing to hear that you’ve made a happy, successful and fulfilling life for yourself. Good for you!

    • Patricia Reply

      Thank you! I’m still learning every day how to navigate this new life, but it has been worth it!

  6. Jojo Reply

    Often time, the little things are the most rewarding =) I greatly applaud you for what you did and everything you are doing to support your decision.

    I know for a fact my parents would not be that supportive. Even talking about changing roles in the same company gets some kind of no no from them. Stability is most important to them. I understand why but that is not how our world works nowadays.

    Congratulations on six years!

    • Patricia Reply

      Thank you! Yes, I was super lucky in that I had incredible support for the decision. I really can’t say what I would have done otherwise.

  7. Sandy N Vyjay Reply

    After 17 years at a corporate job, giving it up and foraying on your own definitely needs a lot of guts and determination. But the fact that you enjoy what you do is so important at the end of the day. There will be challenges of course, but when you love what to do, the path itself becomes exciting and the challenges metamorphose into objects of pleasure.

    • Patricia Reply

      When things get complicated I have to remind myself that I love to write — and remind myself that I hated what I used to do.

  8. Janna Reply

    I have the same thoughts from time to time. Its comforting to know that Im not the only one. I still work at my job part time and its not something I really want to let go because I love doing it. But kudos to you.

    • Patricia Reply

      That’s key — loving what you do. I definitely did not love working for the firm. And the challenge of the work had long disappeared, so I couldn’t even see myself just switching to another firm. Good for you for being able to find a balance, and loving what you do!

  9. Patricia Reply

    Thank you! There are still days where I wonder what I was thinking, but so far I’m putting one foot in front of the other. 🙂

  10. Reshma Reply

    Wow! 17 years in a full-time job! I admire that totally. I got sick of the corporate job after enduring for just 6 years lol! Glad that you pursued what you loved doing! Your story is so inspiring! Keep going!

    • Patricia Reply

      LOL!! I got sick of it after 4 years and then just held on for dear life. There are definitely challenges to this new life, but I’m going to keep trying to make it work!

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