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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

If I'm flying solo, at least I'm flying free

I left my job of 15 months. As of today, I am no longer a full-time employee.

The problem with being a blogger is that not much can be kept private, especially big life changes such as these. I put in my notice a month ago, and since then I've been contemplating how I'm going to explain the situation on here. It was hard enough telling my co-workers, family members, both California & Michigan friends.

In this economy -- that's the term of the century, in this economy -- you're expected to be happy just to have a job. You're supposed to shut the hell up and stop complaining because people across the country are struggling to find work. You're seen as selfish if you aren't satisfied and want more out of your career life.

On paper, it looked good. I was making enough to pay the bills and then some. I had full health benefits and vacation time. I worked an afternoon shift that allowed me to sleep in. I met some of the richest and most famous names in Hollywood. I worked down the road from where I lived so traffic was nearly nonexistent.

On the inside, however, I was hurting. I didn't have an interest in what I was doing and forcing enthusiasm into something I felt nothing for was draining. I was at the same company for over a year without a raise or promotion. I was reprimanded for small details while big accomplishments were overlooked. I was working 8-hour shifts without a break most days. I felt unappreciated, disrespected by management. Most of all, my skills and talents and passions weren't being used.

It wasn't what I had planned for my future back in college. I hadn't gotten a degree for this; I hadn't put in hundreds of hours at unpaid internships for this; I hadn't moved to Los Angeles for this. It wasn't what I wanted for my life.

Although certain co-workers betrayed or insulted me, I also met some wonderful people who kept me going, who encouraged and motivated me with positive energy -- such as the one who drove me to the hospital after my car accident and generally stood by me during that dark time; and the one who took me out to dinner after I said I was quitting, making me laugh and letting me cry and being a great person and friend. My team was generally a good, supportive group of people.

But by the time you read this sentence, someone I worked with has probably already shown this to my former boss, perhaps even the president of the company. And you know what? I'm okay with that. My only hope is that I've planted a seed that will soon grow into positive changes that should be made at my former workplace.

I know your comment, dear reader, will include some form of the question what will you do now? As you may already know, I've been working at Ann Taylor for years, first alongside my college classes and then my full-time job; I'll be increasing my hours there. I'll also be blogging more than ever! And, I am fortunate to already have an interview for something new -- we'll see how that goes.

I'll leave you with this quote from SELF magazine. I flipped to it in the March issue and I feel like it was written straight to me:

"Take the reins. Think about what makes you happiest -- the one thing guaranteed to get your heart racing and a big grin spread across your face. Got it? Good. Now do that thing. Yes, today. Taking control of your life is about knowing what you want and going after it without hesitation. You don't need permission. You just need to know you deserve to be happy."

33 comments:

  1. I AM NOT going to be a commenter who asks you ANYTHING...I am going to congratulate you on making such a brave life move. You are a very smart girl, you have plans, this post shows it...now go live them:)

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  2. I'm also just going to offer you my congratulations on making what sounds like the right choice for you and wish you all the best in your future endeavors (at which I am sure you'll be brilliant)!

    xoxo ~ Courtney
    http://sartorialsidelines.blogspot.com

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  3. Good luck! This is exactly what I am experiencing with the school thing! <3

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  4. Congratulations! It takes a lot of courage to make yourself truly happy in life and when you do, there's nothing you won't do to keep it that way! Good luck on your future endeavors!

    MJ
    www.fiercebeautyandfashion.wordpress.com

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  5. CONGRATULATIONS! It can be really difficult to make a decision like that, but it is clear you had not only your short term, but your long term happiness in mind as well. Bravo. I really enjoy your blog and wish you the best on your new journey- wherever it takes you!

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  6. LOVE that quote. We are so working towards that. With a family, it has been hard to do the "responsible" thing and save up for a move, but we're definitely heading in that direction. (LOL, literally your direction:)

    Good luck in your endeavors, you'll do beautifully I'm sure!

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  7. You will be great at whatever you do, just remember to stay true to yourself! You are an inspiration to us all and you always have your readers to cheer you up. Thank you for having enough courage to share your story!! YOU GO GIRL!

    XX!
    YvonnaLivianna
    A Tout le Monde: YvonnaLivianna.blogspot.com

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  8. Whoa! You are so brave and I salute your courage. Once you reach a certain age (ahem, no old lady jokes please) turning your back on your livelihood becomes almost impossible. I envy you - in a way. I wish I had your bravery and the guts to take a flying leap. Best wishes to you...
    www.fashnlvr.blogspot.com

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  9. Congrats n Good luck!, You made the best decision for you and you alone. The benefit of working towards your goals will leave you richer than any amount of money.
    -xo
    Bobbie

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  10. Congratulations! I can honestly say I have never felt more sure of myself than when I turned down a job offer to return to my former employer. I have daily doubts and fears over money and the future, but you know what? I had those when I was working for other companies as well. Having been laid off three times, after receiving glowing work reviews mostly consisting of words and high fives not money, and busting my butt to help others while failing to get the same help I decided to stop the nonsense. I wasn't happy, I wasn't moving, and I wasn't succeeding so I really wasn't losing anything by walking away. My parents were actually the ones who helped me realize this and I really appreciate that they were able to show me what I was so afraid to find out myself.

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  11. Hear! Hear! You HAVE to be happy, well, at least as far as I'm concerned. As long as we have the freedom to choose we should exercise it.

    Good luck in your endeavors! Looking forward to hearing/reading more about it.

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  12. I'm so excited for you. I know its scary but you know what you want and who you are, this entry just proves it. You're a beautiful strong person and all these people really see it and commend you for it. That's so awesome. If you need anything just let me know.

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  13. Good for you Steph!! I think that ending your job is really just the exciting beginning to something new. Congrats! You've inspired me. xo

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  14. I don't think you should feel the need to explain yourself to anyone. You have to do what is best for YOU, and shouldn't have to justify that to anyone, least of all us!

    It isn't our place to judge, it is simly our place to support you. And support you we do! There is no doubt that you have a bright and SUCCESSFUL future ahead of you. Bravo for being brave and doing what was best for YOU.

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  15. This is a beautiful post steph. Don't worry about where your life is heading, just go with what feels right in the moment and you will have no regrets!!
    I understand everything you wrote, my last job was so much like this. I had been there for nearly a year, had applied to move up in the company but they knocked me back because I was the best at my area, but I was bored of that and in turn felt suffocated. They told me that I was good management material and yet they didn't want to promote me higher, probably scared that I'd do a better job than them! lol but it wasn't very fair and isn't fair to hold someone back like that! You definitely deserve more and I can tell you've worked your ass off to get to where you are!

    You are wonderful steph, don't forget that and don't settle for anything that doesn't make you happy!!
    I loved the quote at the end, very inspiring!! I need some of that right now
    Xoxo
    Meg

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  16. I am so rooting for you Steph!
    You've trusted you gut and acted on it. Now set your sights high and go the course. You are a people person, a good communicator and an EXCELLENT writer. I hope soon we both will be making our living with our writing chops.

    Hugs to you!
    Enter to Win My Shabby Apple Dress Give-Away- the Citizen Rosebud

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  17. Congrats on leaving. My GF did the same thing at christmas everyone was a bit shocked and thought she was stupid as it's hard to get another job in this climate but she hated the work and they wouldn't even give her time off to see her family at christmas. She wanted to be a teacher so that's what she put all her time and effort into. She ended up getting some voluntary experience and has now just got a full time job as a teaching assistant.

    Blog:www.arashmazinani.com
    Twitter:@arashmazinani

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  18. Awwwee hon! I am just happy that you are doing what you need to do to find your happiness. It's not worth it if you are not happy. It's a scary road you are headed down, but it is the right one. You will find what you need in the end :D

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  19. It takes a lot of courage to do what you did. Congrats and best of luck!

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  20. Congratulations on making such a brave life change! I've done it, too, and it's not easy, but you'll be much happier.

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  21. I think it would be quite nice to work at Ann Taylor, and to have discounts and inside information on their new styles. I like what they've done since their "The New Ann" campaign back in '09 -- it's stuff I wear happily now, even though I'm not in an office environment -- Ann Taylor blouses and suit pieces go to date night restaurants, cocktail get-togethers, and (nice) parties. I keep wishing for their shoes, too, and I wish I were more of a scarf person so I could indulge in their pretty offerings.

    Anyway, congratulations on having the courage to make positive changes even in this scary economy, and best wishes for your interview!

    Hey, what do you think of Zooey Deschanel on the April Lucky cover? I'd requested a feature on her via the Lucky Facebook page last year, so I had to buy the issue at the grocery store today! A quirky brunette -- a nice change, although she's still Caucasian.

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  22. Bah, being sick has made me so behind on blogs.

    Congrats on making such a difficult decision!

    It may seem scary now but I'm confident you'll figure everything out.

    xo
    Melissa

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  23. yes, yes, YES!

    first of all, you rock. this takes guts and courage. it's a hard step and i APPLAUD you from the bottom of my heart.

    DAILY i hear people complain about their jobs. people i went to college with who used to have interests and aspirations now toil away doing something they loathe. after winning full time fabulous they would say things to me like "you're so lucky, i wish i could score something like that" and it would infuriate me.

    while luck has a hand in everything we do in life, i think it's an overrated concept. having the guts to really GO FOR WHAT YOU WANT is far more beneficial than luck. it's such a hard thing to do, and it can be so scary sometimes, but it's the absolute must if you want to be happy.

    i am thrilled for you because i know you are going to blaze trails of greatness. from the very first moment i "met" you due to the blog event back in november, i could tell you cared. you care more than the average person. you have insight and passion and it can't be contained. so congratulations! i look forward to hearing about your new adventures and am excited you'll be blogging more as well! (especially now that i have a bit more consistency in my life!)

    and since you hate being cold, i assume you're going to come to new york when it gets warmer? can i pencil you in for april or something? seriously, let's meet! i will organize a blogger meet up around your coming to new york.

    so many hugs to you!

    Kristy Eléna - Full Time Fabulous
    Vogue Gone Rogue
    Twitter: @kristyelena

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  24. You have my full support sweetheart! I am pondering the same, so thank you for sharing and staying true to your self. It is very inspiring. Sending you warm hugs!

    <3 Anika
    http://byanika.com
    @AnikaByAnika

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  25. Congratulations for the great choice you made! Very brave of you! Nothing great in life is achieved without passion so find out what makes you happy and do it... and do it often:)

    XoXo
    Plami

    http://fashion-thrill.blogspot.com/

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  26. Let me start by saying that I applaud you for this decision. Your choice was the harder one, and far too many people would have stayed, feeling exactly as you described “happy to just have a job”…any job. Congratulations, you’re on to bigger and better things, I’m sure.

    I was feeling very much how you described not so long ago, which lead me to where I am now. After being unhappy in my job for way to long, I decided to take a break from the work world. I’m now living in a small beach town in Mexico and couldn’t be happier. Sure, I will return to the States eventually (actually it feels all too soon) but for the moment I’m happy living a simpler, more carefree life. And isn’t that all we have? Right now?

    Santina
    http://stylebysantina.blogspot.com/

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  27. Go you! Okay, I have to admit that my greatest fear in life is having to make a career out of something I don't enjoy - or, for that matter, something I'm not absolutely over-the-moon in love with. Cubicles, deadlines, bosses and Microsoft Excel are all things I generally don't care for. So my greatest adventure in life is figuring out what I do care for the most and finding a way to make a sufficient living out of it. It hasn't happened yet, but I've been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to devote time to it and it still remains a distant-yet-achievable goal.

    I don't think there's anything wrong with choosing to leave a job "in this economy". On the contrary, if you have the wherewithal and the means to leave your job in pursuit of something greater goodness knows there's someone just waiting, needing to take the life you left behind. It's a win-win, if it's not too unabashedly romantic to say.

    I hope everything works out for you!

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  28. UGH!! I am sooo behind on the news!!
    DUDE. That is awesome! Not what you expected to hear? You are doing EXACTLY what I've been toying with for a year and a half! is it risky?...maybe. But you have the luxury of what sounds like a very loyal employer to fall back on while on the hunt for your nest new and exciting venture!! WOOTWOOT!! The next step for me will be school...and then THA STARSSS!!
    Here's to grabbing the reins and jumping for the stars!!!
    :)
    -Jude (Namaste27)

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  29. Amazing post. I remember the freeing feeling of leaving an unsatisfying job. Congrats! $$$ ain't got sh*t on happiness! :D

    You can read my post here actually: http://mioaradragan.blogspot.com/2011/01/smiles-and-transitions.html

    :-)

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