The Day I Threw My Career In The Trash
But first…let’s talk about how I got there.
After seven years of working full time in disgustingly toxic work environments doing anything and everything related to marketing, branding, and advertising (and I do mean EVERYTHING, from acting and voiceover work, to writing scripts, to account management, to SEO and online content, to graphic design, I have done it all), I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
Every time I left a toxic environment out of desperation, I landed in one that was even worse. The pinnacle of this progression came when I was working for an ecommerce startup owned by a crack addict, coming home every day to drink an entire bottle of wine just to deal with the stress of being there.
It was at this point that my husband at the time pointed out, “You’re not yourself. You need to get a new job.”
At his urging and encouragement, I started my own business. Over the next four years, I grew that business to a level of success I’d never experienced while working for anyone else. At that point, toxic bosses became toxic clients.
A concept I’m very fond of is the bullshit-to-pay ratio. Are you being paid enough money to justify dealing with the existing level of bullshit? If the answer is no, there’s an issue. If the answer is yes, then maybe situation is tolerable, unless the bullshit is tantamount to abuse.
With the power shift of being a consultant and the added bonus of being paid decently, dealing with undesirable personalities was tolerable. I had the option to walk away and not worry as much about how it might affect me. I had the power to say no.
Incidentally, I began In My Sacred Space six months after starting my business. The two grew side-by-side over the course of the next four years.
One day, when I was sitting in a meeting with one of my clients and three employees, he looked at me and asked, “Do you want to run this business?”
I felt a wave of internal resistance. Not because I was afraid or thought I was incapable.
My ego said, “Yes! Do it! You’ll be the CEO of a fashion tech startup at 34.”
But my soul said, “This will suck every ounce of life out of you. And for what? You don’t even give a single fuck about fashion.”
That was when I realized my true passion was not for helping other people grow their businesses. It was for helping other people grow. Period.
My longterm goal at the end of 2016 was to put myself on a trajectory to be involved in a spirituality-based business full-time, slowly phasing out consulting as I continued to grow my passion project.
Then life, as it often does, happened. My single startup client that had grown to encompass my full business went AWOL on the same day that my marriage imploded. Four and a half months later, I packed up my shit, moved to New York City and started fresh with no friends, no job, and no plan.
Initially I thought I’d attempt to rebuild my business in a new place, which was certainly ripe with opportunities for someone with my skillset and I busily set about laying a foundation to do so in my first three months here, even though I was under so much stress from a cross-country move and impending divorce that I could barely function. But I had a limited amount of money and that was going to run out in a few months. The clock was ticking, the pressure was on, and my mental health needed to take a back seat to my survival.
One fateful day in September, I went to a meeting with a potential client – a fintech startup with four employees and $13M in funding. There was never a more perfect potential client. As I sat there learning about their business, a gnawing dissatisfaction began to accumulate within me, not unlike the feeling I had the day it was suggested that I should run the fashion tech business I was working on. The CEO suggested that I work for them for free on a trial basis to see if they wanted to hire me. FUCK OFF. I’m not your intern.
By the time the elevator had reached the lobby on my way out, I’d fully realized that I had absolutely no desire left in me to continue consulting.
I emailed them the next day and told them that I didn’t think we were a good fit to work together, shuttered my business, and went about seeking a full time job that required little mental and emotional energy but still allowed me to pay my bills while I focused on myself and the thing I actually cared about: my own personal development.
It’s been 18 months since I trashed my career, and I haven’t once regretted it.
The time out has provided me with the opportunity for necessary healing and personal growth. I haven’t yet gotten a full handle on what it is that I intend to evolve into when it comes to spirituality, but I do know that I’m pivoting away from a lot of things that I used to talk about in terms of metaphysics in favor of work that involves healing and personal development.
Thank you all for being on this ride with me, and I hope you’ll continue to stick around and see where this thing goes.
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