Today is my first day of freedom. As of this moment, my full-time job is to make this site the best it can be and to create new content for you all to enjoy.
Since graduating from college in 2009, I have been working in higher education, first in a fundraising capacity and then arranging housing for international faculty. While I have been fortunate to work with amazing people, I have never felt fulfilled. Deciding to leave my current position was easy, answering the question ‘what comes next?,’ was not. I found myself applying for jobs I wasn’t interested in or for similar types of positions where I knew I wouldn’t be happy.
But the answer to my question was right in front of my face. What makes me happy? This site. This creative outlet that started as a hobby has become my world. I look forward to writing new posts, styling photography shoots, and collaborating with brands and other bloggers. And in that realization, it became clear that I had found my passion and what I was meant to do.
Do I have all the answers of how I am going to get from point A to B? No. I have goals I hope to accomplish and a strong desire to succeed in doing something I love.
I’ve read countless stories of people following their dreams — abandoning their careers and putting it all on the line. I always sat back and thought, ‘I wish I could do that.’ Those stories inspired me, but fear told me I couldn’t dream.
After my thyroid cancer diagnosis, I made a promise to myself that I would stand in my truth, no matter what. My truth was that I woke up each morning dreading the day ahead of me — with a pit in my stomach and feet that felt as though they were encased firmly in cement preventing me from taking a step forward. I daydreamed about Friday at 5 pm starting on Sunday evening, and as every weekend ended, I was greeted by the “Sunday Scaries.” My truth was that I was wishing my life away.
I realize my path is not for everyone. To be honest, I’m not even sure it’s for me. It will be a huge adjustment not going into an office every day, seeing my co-workers, and taking a walk with them at lunch. But it is the path I have chosen, and the one that tempted and intrigued me the most until I could ignore it no longer.
To everyone who has offered advice, encouragement, and words of wisdom (and to those who think I’m crazy for leaving a full-time job for the unknown), thank you! And to my readers who put a smile on my face with every comment they write, I am most grateful for your support. I hope this new endeavor will be the much needed change in my life that I’m looking for and I’m excited to share this next chapter with all of you!
I’d love to hear if any of you have ever changed careers and pursued a new path, or if you work from home, how you manage your days.
Robin S. Kent says
A bold move, indeed. I look forward to the story that is about to unfold. I wish you much success!
Vanessa Steil says
Thank you for your support, Robin! I’m excited to see where this journey takes me.
How exciting! I started my site less than a year ago, but I can already see myself falling in love with it, too! Congratulations!
And I currently work from home and have to say that the most important thing for me was to stock with a regular working day schedule, or as close to it as possible. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself replying to emails 24/7 or not brushing your teeth until your about to meet your girlfriends for cocktails… Not speaking from personal experience or anything, haha! 🙂
Vanessa Steil says
Thanks for the tip, Jessica! I plan on keeping to a regular 9-to-5 schedule…or more like 9:30ish, since I’m not a morning person. The only struggle I’ve found so far is not walking into the kitchen for a snack every five seconds. And, like you mentioned, not getting totally lost in my emails.
Ha, totally with you! When I first moved to working at home, I had to plan my meals so that I got in a groove. It’ll be fun to test out a few strategies. 🙂
Little Kokomo says
Wishing you all the best in this endeavour! your story is all too familiar as I got laid-off several months ago. At that time, my boss offered me another job that was so far from what i had envisioned myself doing, so i turned it down. i also dealt with the possibility of cancer (my chances were between 15-38%, but i’m in the clear thankfully) and that experience changed my perspective A LOT. When you are faced with an actual crisis, how can you go back to dealing with a demanding A-type boss who can only see their priorities? Anyway thanks for sharing this new step in your life.
Congratulations and keep it up!
Vanessa Steil says
Thank you so much for your encouraging words and for sharing your story! I am glad to hear that you are in good health and spirits. I know how scary it can be when dealing with a health crisis, and it does make you reevaluate what’s important in life. For me, I am grateful for this time — to enjoy the rest of the summer, take it a little slower, and just to be able to focus on writing and this space.
christina, esq says
Best of luck! I too worked in development/fundraising at an independent school when I was fairly fresh out of law school because I didn’t know what I really wanted to do, and a newly hired bad boss was the final push I needed to get out of there and into real law work, which I ended up loving! I always think how 4 years ago when my son was a newborn, I would never have imagined Id be here today.
Elana Lyn Gross says
Ooh how scary, I’m so jealous. I’m an office, structure, benefits kind of girl. I also really don’t trust myself creatively. But what a delicious idea. I’ll look forward to following your journey through this transition. Congratulations.
Vanessa Steil says
It’s certainly a scary transition, Katie! But I’m a “nothing ventured, nothing gained” type of person. I’m excited to have this time to be creative and work on my blog, but if I found a position that was a good fit I probably wouldn’t pass it up. We’ll see how it goes!