(written in September of 2012)
This is a tough post for me to write. It’s been a long time coming, and it’s not until now that I feel ready to actually write about it. I haven’t been totally upfront on the blog about a big change in my life, but here goes:
After more than three years at my corporate job in the finance world, I gave notice this summer and slowly but surely wrapped up my career and left. August 23rd was my last day.
Just writing this is making me once again emotional, as this was undoubtedly the hardest decision I’ve ever made in my life. I started at my company almost straight out of college as a consultant. I traveled all over the southeast, creating relationships with clients who used our financial software and trying to do everything I could to help them, impress them, and represent my company as best as I could. During my last year there, I became a consulting manager, where my role was to mentor and develop younger consultants and help guide and improve our group in New York.
I take pretty much everything in my life very seriously, and my job was no different. I put everything I had into it. I worked really hard, created a lot of amazing relationships, and got a ton out of it. The growth that I went through during my three years there can largely be attributed to the responsibility I was given and the people who helped manage me and constantly help me become better. I know that I wouldn’t have been able to make such a bold decision this summer had it not been for the way I was able to grow while with my company.
As much as I loved my job, I now and then had this sinking feeling deep down that something was missing. I guess it’s hard to pinpoint, but I think you know when you know that something isn’t totally right. I had conversations with my friends and family about exploring other things, but it never really felt right to leave. So I stayed.
However, about 6 months ago, my thoughts really started to take over in terms of leaving. I think I had finally gained the confidence to admit to myself that I wasn’t totally happy and that I could be if I changed my career to something else that I had in mind. There was this passion that I had since I was young, this thing hanging over my head that I was too scared to just grab on to. Really, it was a dream that I had thought about but didn’t really know if I had what it took to try to turn it into a reality. It was risky. But I started to think that maybe I could do it…
I thought about it over and over and over and over.
I don’t know if I will ever forget the moment that I knew, 100%, that I was going to make the jump. I was in Charlotte visiting a friend and we were out at dinner. We were 1 mojito in, discussing this decision I was trying to make. All of a sudden, it’s like it just clicked. I remember thinking to myself, yea, I am doing this. 100%. It’s the right decision, there really is no other option. And that was that. This was going to happen and now it was just up to me to put the pieces in place to get ready.
Most people give two weeks notice. I gave three months. Because of the nature of my role and the incredible amount of respect that I had for the people I worked with, I gave them ample time to prepare. Telling my managers, the people who I am closest with and who have had such an affect on me, was so hard. I told them separately, one after another, the lines that I had rehearsed to myself countless times. There was definitely shock, but they knew that I had to do this and that I had my mind made up.
These past few months have been a whirlwind of emotion. Like I mentioned before, I put everything I have into anything that I do. My heart was so invested in the people I worked with and I feel so grateful and lucky to have had the opportunities I did. Walking away from a place where I really felt at home was just really hard for me. I cried a lot this summer. Tears of pure sadness to leave, but also tears of relief that I was finally giving myself this chance to follow a dream.
This is one of the quotes that stayed with me throughout the decision process:
During college, it’s hard to know what you really want. During your first job, you learn so much and have a chance to figure yourself out professionally. For me, I learned that while I was good at what I was doing, I wasn’t being totally true to what I wanted to pursue deep down. And that what I actually wanted to do was completely different than what I was currently doing. So I picked up my pen and decided to write a new story.