Is there anything more terrifying in this day in age as not knowing when your next paycheck is coming in? Money isn’t everything. Well – it’s not everything but it is something. It’s debated at lengths right from parliament down to the Smith’s household dinner table on life is perfect avenue. It can make or break your relationship and very often is the cause of all your daily woes. How do I afford rent? How do I pay for the replacement high-pressure fuel pump for my car? Can I afford a soy chai latte this week or skip it for an instant Nescafe sachet? We indirectly or directly make decisions that involve money on a daily basis so why would I give up a guaranteed monthly income stream for daily stress on how my bills are going to be paid? There were a number of factors that played into my decision for leaving my corporate Sally job and I’ll run through each below.
True to form, I grew up with a tiger mom and tiger grandmother whose sole purpose in life was to turn me into a child prodigy. Struggling in mathematics? No problem, I was enrolled in a coaching college the following week and dedicating half my weekend to tuition from the ripe age of 8. Grades were so important that having a childhood was secondary and this fed right through to my teens. When I entered tertiary studies with a near perfect admissions index, I thought I had really found my calling with a double degree in Actuarial Studies and Applied Finance (ha).
It only took one statistics lecture on binomial and normal probability distributions to plant the seed that this wasn’t the right path for me. At the instruction of my family I begrudgingly completed it with blood, sweat and many tears. Fast forward five years and I was wearing my graduation robes and throwing that hideous square hat in the air whilst holding that plaque. Add another 18 months and I’ve landed my first corporate banking role in a company known as the ‘millionaires factory’. And before you ask, the answer is no, I was making nowhere close to that sort of money.
I spent the next year working from one division to the next and all the while telling myself that I was on the right path – establish yourself in the company and claw your way through the ranks. As each month went by, I found myself dreading the thought of work on Sunday afternoons and started the countdown to the weekend from Mondays. It wasn’t long until I started planning my gradual exit and decided to hand in my resignation to my manager (who was incredibly supportive – bless his soul) and held off telling my family until the time came for me to pack up my desk.
I shared the news with my brother and dad because they for the most part don’t place pressure on me nearly as much as the matriarchs of my family. Being the ditz that I am sometimes, I snapchatted my entire last day at the bank forgetting that my mother religiously trolls my social accounts. Of course there was a tremendous uproar resulting in a cold war stand off in the household where we refused to acknowledge each other’s existence for a week. Harsh words were thrown around, questions of self worth were posed and tears were shed. They’ve since accepted my new job and embraced that the path I’ve chosen in blogging. This was something that I was truly passionate about and being stuck behind a desk and yelled at by unhappy financial advisors was in no way bringing me any joy.
The spirit of entrepreneurialism is something that is still foreign to my grandmothers generation and to some extent my mothers, which was essentially what I needed to educate them on. Its not hard to understand my family’s intentions that all they want for their kids is financial security and with the increasingly unserviceable costs of property in Sydney – being comfortable with your fiscal position has never been more important.
Having lived my entire life to my family’s expectations from what I should study, where I should work to whom I should marry – I was ready to do something for myself.
I’ve always been a free spirited soul; choosing to give the proverbial finger to guidelines, processes and controlling environments outside of my family confines. Having a boss will always mean doing things their way, answering to them every single day if you’re unlucky enough to land yourself with a micromanaging ponce and doing things on their terms. You could dedicate your entire youth to working for someone but doing this only makes them rich and though I respect the institution behind big corporates; working to line the pockets of CEOs is not something I wish to waste my youth doing.
I remember when my doctor made the recommendation for me to book in an MRI on my head and coordinating this with my then manager proved to be harder than solving world poverty. Did I book in that scan? Nope. The concept of having to ask for permission to perform tasks that contributed to my potential livelihood is something that still confounds me.
This played in two different ways for me, having a full time job meant that all my blogging activities needed to occur before, after hours or on the weekend. It was manageable in the beginning but as my business and profile grew I was finding less and less time to even sit down let alone sleep. Whilst December is known as the silly season for a reason, my weekly days looked a bit like this: wake up, work out, go to work, uber to a lunch event, rush back to work then rush to an event after work, go home, work and respond to emails, sleep. Rinse and repeat for three weeks straight. Leaving my job was to create more space for me to breathe and take time off to myself – whether I have taken time to myself is another question for another day.
The second element was the fact that if I didn’t take the risk now then when was I going to do it? If I had waited an additional five years then it would have been an even harder decision to make given I had invested half a decade to the business and would have felt it a waste to just give that up.
Escaping the rat race and forging my own brand and business has been a tough decision but even through all the tears and near burnouts – I can still safely say that I made the right decision. Being your own boss and having control of your schedule forces you in so many ways to excel and work beyond your limits.
Is anyone else thinking about leaving his or her job?