It’s the one-year anniversary of turning in my ID badge and being escorted off of the property.
It was a crisp Friday afternoon. The wind was blowing hard, dropping gold leaves off the trees. It wasn’t just the seasons that were changing; I was changing too.
I gave my bosses plenty of notice about my upcoming departure. I was asked to stay, offered more money and a better job title. I was given lectures about what a mistake I was making. I was given a bittersweet farewell, and that was it. After almost 10 years of working in for the federal government, I was finished.
No more outdated laptop. No more Blackberry. No more job security.
I was officially self-employed.
Let’s take a step back. This story doesn’t begin in November 2015. It started years before that when I was a simple blogger needing a creative outlet and something to do after work. Blogging was my excuse to avoid going home at the end of the day and watching television. It was a conversation starter, a hobby, and my accountability partner.
This creative outlet grew into something much bigger. At first, I started by getting support from other bloggers in my neighborhood and in the online community. Then, I built an audience. From there, I became a better writer. I started teaching myself various skills, like how to build a website, design, and email marketing. I became an expert in social media, which eventually led to starting a YouTube channel, and today I have two podcasts.
Life today looks much different than it did when I was a blogger after work. Blogging-as-a-hobby took a turn after an awful day at work. I had the abrupt realized that my “good” job wasn’t going to give me the personal or professional satisfaction that I craved.
On a Monday morning in February 2014, I made my business official: Climb Out of The Cubicle, LLC. was born.
Not only did I become an entrepreneur on paper, but my whole life started to change.
Taking on the role of an entrepreneur is one of the many things I have done while taking the road less traveled. Sure, I did a lot of “right” things: went to college, got a stable job, had a good boyfriend, got into grad school, took a yearly vacation, and lived in a great city. In theory, I had it all.
But, in reality, I wanted more.
After almost 5 years, my boyfriend and I planned our breakup as our lives were moving in different directions. He got his dream job out of state, and I started thinking about ways that I could do what I really wanted to do: travel.
I wanted to see the world. I wanted to live in multiple places to experience the culture in an authentic way. I wanted to get out of the box (and my literal cubicle) that I put myself in. I wanted to be a full-time entrepreneur, not just a weekend hustler.
That was why I had to quit my job. I obviously couldn’t travel and go full-time in my business while staying at my 9-5. I felt suffocated and trapped. I felt uninspired.
Quitting, while drastic, was the only option.
In true Type-A fashion, I researched and created a plan. I was going to travel around Southeast Asia for one year. I was going to live in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Bali for three months each. I was going to live among the locals, learning and understanding cultures and people who were so different to everything that I had ever known. I was going to work hard on my business and re-evaluate my life one year later.
Here we are…one year later.
The plan did not go accordingly. (Shocker.)
I’m still traveling.
Living among the locals is not for me. I’m too snobby.
My second business is much more successful than my first.
I am more confident, competent, and compassionate.
The re-evaluation period is taking much longer than I expected.
I have no idea what is happening in 2017.
Today is also a crisp, Friday afternoon. Leaves have peppered the sidewalks. Looking back at I’m still in awe that I actually made this happen. I’m proud of myself for having the determination to quit my job and go to the other side of the world. I am stronger, smarter, and more sensitive. I’m excited to see what the next few months look like, even though I can’t predict at all how it’s going to unfold.
Quitting my job was a huge milestone in my personal life, and looking back a year later, I couldn’t be happier with my decision.