Yes….I did it! Earlier this year, I left a career and I had known for over 15 years. A career that allowed me to afford a very comfortable lifestyle, that allowed me to be in rooms and rub elbows with some AMAZING people. A career that started out as the career of my dreams ended up being the catalyst for change.
Now, I didn’t start off hating my job but I remember thinking several years ago, “Is this it?”. I mean, I had worked really hard to get into the pharmaceutical industry and it literally took me years to “get in” and months of travel and extensive training to get up to speed so I was not even thinking about a new path at that point because I’d worked too hard to get here. And quite frankly…I was already comfortable. I worked from home, I could create my own schedule, my boss lived in a whole other state, I had a company car, an expense account, fat quarterly bonuses and business was going well so I was not about to risk losing all that so I stayed in that comfortable environment for many years.
But then I began to experience a shift, a very uncomfortable shift. I came to the tough realization that I really didn’t belong in this career. I was evolving and what was tolerable back then was becoming less and less tolerable. I was tired of faking like I liked my job. I was tired of going into meetings trying to be engaged in an environment that no longer served me. I simply had outgrown that season of my life. Back then, it was tough to even think about letting go because I had no clue what I wanted to do instead. I didn’t really have a passion that I wanted to pursue or some amazing business idea that I was anxiously awaiting to execute, I just knew I didn’t want to do THIS anymore.
There was no real balance in my life. All I would do is work. Weekends I would be exhausted from the mental stress of my job and playing tug of war with the fact that I was unhappy. Then I went thru the period of feeling guilty for hating my job. I would tell myself “Girl, you need to be grateful for this job!”, “you’re making six figures, you get to travel, company car, you have flexible hours,” “people would DREAM to have your job or trade places with you so how dare you not want this! Be grateful and be quiet!”…… So, I did for several more years.
Even with knowing all of that, I was still fighting change. After several more years of being miserable, I pursued another job, I thought maybe putting another pretty Band-Aid on the issue would make it better. Maybe I just need to work for a company with a better work culture or maybe if I had a better manager, I would like my job. So, I interviewed with another pharmaceutical company and they offered me a position. The offer included more money and a chance to manage accounts in California and Hawaii. Yep, Hawaii. Exciting Right? Then my pivotal moment happened….
The hiring company sent the flight itinerary for San Francisco to meet with senior management and I needed to confirm the itinerary quickly so that the flight could be booked. When I realized it was the flight itinerary, things got real. In that moment, I was at the fork in the road. I could either have a lot of money and continue to be unhappy in an industry/career that no longer served me or I could take a chance, trust God and take an entirely different path. As I’m looking at the email in a shopping mall parking lot, I’m sobbing. With tears running steadily down my face, without much thought or contemplation, I emailed the hiring company my regrets, gave notice to my current job and never looked back.
And here I am….almost a year later FREE and HAPPY! Do I have all the answers? NO. Does the idea of this new season scare the crap out of me? YES! Am I the happiest I’ve ever been in my life? YES!!!!!!
I struggled for months to share this journey publicly. Mainly because of fear but I knew that keeping my process to myself was serving no one. What good is this journey if I didn’t share my process? So, I am sharing my journey to inspire and encourage others that may be feeling a tug to do something different. I’m not saying you should go quit your job, but I am hoping that my story will inspire you to have the courage to pursue whatever your heart desires.
And here I am, almost a year since I left Corporate America and I will be launching my clothing line KOKO HARLEY in 2020.
I don’t know exactly what the future holds but the journey has been great so far and I have faith that God will light my path at every step. This is just the beginning…