Sunday, August 31, 2014

Why I Chose to Quit My Job and Create a Career

June 13, 2014 I quit my job to pursue my passion.

From July 2005 - June 2014 I worked my way from a temporary receptionist to a full time Contracting Officer/Research Associate 1; 2 months ago I quit to pursue my passion in Health Education and Fitness.

So how did I get here? 30 was the magic number that let me know it was time to make a choice: Chase your dream, or embrace a career as a Contracting Officer. I was spending 40 hours or more a week at my desk and teaching group fitness and personal training in the mornings and the evenings. It was a 70% desk 30% passion life. I was getting burned out trying to satisfy who I thought I needed to be and who I truly am.

With the help of Jenn Hall I really started to reflect on what was truly important to me. I realized I felt 100% me when I was sharing my passion for fitness.  Standing in front of a room packed with participants sweating and sharing my fitness experiences brought me more joy than a successful contract negotiation. I was spending more time at my job than I was spending with my family, friends, or enjoying life. I would rather spend that time in pursuit of my passion and with the people I love. 

So why was I not pursuing fitness full time:
  • I have bills! Student loans, car payments, mortgage. I was getting paid very well for the knowledge and skills I acquired over the past 9 years. 
  • Feeling Selfish. I got married 3 years ago August 13th, I felt some guilt about sacrificing part of our joint income. 
  • Stability v. Instability. With my desk job I knew that if I completed consistent work, showed up on time, and provided great customer service 5 days a week I would get paid. As a fitness professional, your pay is reflected in the hours you can book jobs. 
In January of the new year, My passion overrode my fears. I was already creating more fitness opportunities for myself.  In February I had the opportunity to serves as a Keynote speaker for Gamma Sigma Sigma National Conference. I became a Sweat Pink Ambassador. I applied and was accepted as a presenter for Fitbloggin. I was teaching 2 activity classes a week for APPH 1050. All of these opportunities helped to reinforce that I was good at what I do.

The real game changer was being offered a consultant role as Subject Matter Expert with the CDC Work@Health program. I would have the opportunity to train and collaborate with health and fitness professional to create evidence based worksite health programs. It was always a dream of mine to work on a CDC project. I absolutely had to pursue this opportunity.

So I sat down with the husband to discuss my dreams and my concerns. He told me to go for it! I am so lucky to have such a supportive partner. From there it was just choosing the right time.

I had already planned a 10 day Italy/Greece trip with my girlfriend. My 1st day back to work I got into a car accident that totaled my car. 

So you can interpret signs anyway you want to. Was the universe telling me not to go back to work? Who am I to argue with the universe. About 7 days later I put in my 2 week notice.

As I was clearing my desk several co-workers asked me if I was sure, but more surprising were the number of co-workers commending me for pursuing my dream and confiding in me the dreams they had. Many people commented how happy I was and how they saw a full change in my personality my last week at the job.  I think I finally felt comfortable being my authentic self. 

My co-workers have always been some of my biggest supporters: attending classes, personal training with me, and supporting me when I went to grad school for FREE thanks to my job.  I learned so much during that time. But, I no longer wanted to take the spot of someone who had the same passion for contract negotiation that I have for health and fitness. 

So, 2 months ago I quit my job. I have no regrets. It was the right choice at the right time. Now I have the freedom to pursue my passion. My new priority is to create a career that combines my passion for helping others, my wellness and exercise science knowledge, my skills in health education, and my abilities to train, teach, and coach. I have been traveling, attending conferences, and diving into creating my ideal career. I am loving my life right now.

I look forward to the next phase of my career.

Thank you to everyone for all of your support, you made this post possible!

Are you currently considering taking the next step to pursue your passion? Have you already transitioned successfully? Comment below or share any tips. I would love to hear your story!

Health and Happiness,


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