Why I quit my 9-5.
Updated: Aug 20, 2019
You know all the things you've always wanted to do? You should go do them.
Everyday we make choices whether we're conscious of it or not. Everything in this life is a choice. No one is forcing us to do anything. For the majority of people, if you're unhappy with your life, it is a direct result of the choices that led you there. So if you are unhappy, make a change.
It is HARD to take control of your life. We complain, talk about our hypothetical lives, and passively live day to day. It is EASY to let life continue on without making any real changes. If you're not actively making changes towards the life that you want, then you are actively choosing to live the life, work the job, date the partner that you don't want.
Luckily for me, my entire childhood was change. I moved around a lot; had to constantly make new friends, go to new schools, learn new cities. Adapt. While at the time I'd cry and bitch about it, now I am so thankful. It's shaped me into someone who is capable of making a change when I'm unhappy.
photo credit: Rosey B. Photography
I’ve made substantial choices that've shaped my life- for better or for worse. When I was 21 I was in college and extremely unhappy. I made some rash decisions, and was maybe a little too spontaneous or self sabotaging, but I quit my job, left toxic relationships, dropped out of school, and moved from Massachusetts to San Diego. When I was there I freaking THRIVED. Realizing I was in complete control of my life, and in turn my happiness, was so amazing. As cheesy as it sounds, I found myself and what I was capable of.
There have been so many instances since then where I've kind of "woken up" and look around and say what am I doing to myself? I'm slowly dying. I need to make a change.
Most recently I was in a software sales job. In the beginning of my employment I felt so lucky. I was in my senior year of college making great money for a job where I could work part time and remotely, choosing my own hours and working wherever I wanted to. The work wasn't very fulfilling and it definitely wasn't what I wanted to do with my life, but I decided to take advantage of it while I could. So after I graduated I went on a five month road trip and brought work on the road with me. I worked anywhere my cell had service; at the beach, parks, from my car, coffee shops, my bed, etc. I could've worked at the top of a mountain if I wanted to. It was the most fulfilling experience of my life. I chose where and when I wanted to go, and what I wanted to do every single day. I had the ultimate freedom, all made possible by my extremely flexible job.
photo credit: Kelsey Converse
Once I returned home from the trip I told myself that I'd find a job to put my degree to good use. But, what was that? I didn't know what I wanted to do. So I continued working the sales job. It was a passive choice, but a choice nonetheless. One year turned into two, two to three. Since I wasn't traveling as much and taking advantage of the freedom, I wasn't quite as happy. It crossed my mind to quit, but again, I wasn't sure what else to do. Plus, I was incentivized to stay with raises and bonuses.
During my road trip I got super into photography. Driving around the country really lets you see so much beauty in between destinations that you wouldn't ordinarily see if you fly everywhere. After my trip I got my first DSLR and dove head first into learning everything I could about photography. I first loved landscapes but quickly transitioned to portraits and would fill my free time with creating styled shoots and even picking up some paid gigs.
Once I realized I could actually make money with my hobby, it changed everything. I decided to put all my energy into creating a photography business. It was great- I had all the time in the world to set up my business and practice photography with none of the pressure to make great money yet since I still had this sales job to keep the money coming in.
photo credit: Tim Waters Photography
Then, last summer, the software company was sold to a larger company. The new owners required me to work full time and to go into the office every day. Gone were the days I could work remotely and choose my own hours. I was still putting all my free time into photography, but the office job really limited my opportunities; both in being able to accept gigs as well as the time I needed to devote to grow the business. Not only did it stifle my photography business, but I became extremely unhappy. I started gaining weight and became this negative person which really affected my relationships with all those around me.
After months of manipulating myself, denying my feelings, and making excuses for why I couldn't quit, I finally decided to take control of my life. It was time for a change.
So I saved up a lot of money. I worked my ass off and managed to book almost 30 weddings for 2019 to give myself a secondary income. I made a clear cut plan for what my day-to-day will be like with my photography business once I quit.
And then I quit. I gave a whole months notice. I was very respectful. I did not self sabotage or burn any bridges. I took control of my life and regained my freedom and happiness.
photo credit: Lindsay Dennison Photography
Think of a situation in your life where the outcome was awesome. Now, think back to all the events that led you there. There are so many times where I've thought back to the very beginning of a defining moment and am so surprised how the littlest factor that led me there. One little decision leads to another, which leads to another, which plops you into this season of your life. You may never have that opportunity for that first moment, that moment that projects you on a path, unless you put yourself out there, take chances and make decisions.
Right now, yes, I'm a little nervous to be fully reliant on myself without a stable job. But in a year I might look back at this moment and say wow- I was so scared to quit but I am so happy I made that change for myself because if I hadn't, look at all these things over the past year that wouldn't have been possible. I think I'll thank my current self for having the courage to know what was right for my life.
I'm so excited to see where my life will go from here. I have such a passion, such drive, and such ability. I know what I'm capable of and it's freaking THRILLING that I have the freedom to create my future.
So, if you're struggling, if you hate your job, hate your relationship, or hate where you're living- YOU are responsible for making that change for the better. Quit your job, move, cut out toxic relationships. Find a career you love, move to a place that fills you with joy, and find supportive friends. It's amazing the life you can create when you make conscious choices to create that life. I encourage you to take control of your future.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story. If it made you think, or made an impact, I'd love to know. Leave a comment or send me an email to share your story with me. If you'd like to support my business, please share my webpage to get my photography in front of more eyes.
photo credit: Kelsey Converse