“If you don’t build your dream, someone will hire you to build theirs.” -Unknown-
I walked into the office of my boss and told him I would not be returning for the 2016-17 school year. I gave up great retirement, outstanding health care, a steady income, and a steady career. Seems pretty insane to give that up in today's society where debt is at an all time high, unemployment rate is up, and according to some economists our economy is suffering. So why did I give up my steady career to grow our business?
While I was growing up, I was never really sure of what I wanted to be as an adult. Society put the importance on college, education, and a steady career with benefits. After failing miserably my first year of college, I took a semester off and went back and finished. When it was all said and done, I had a minor in English, a minor in Elementary Education, a Bachelor's in English Education, and two years ago I finished my Master's in Organizational Management. I applied for jobs and thankfully I was hired by my Alma Mater as an English teacher. Fresh out of college and I had a job and was engaged to be married. I chose teaching because I thought I could inspire kids to be great. I loved to coach and most importantly I wanted to help people. My first three years were great. I had a mission to help change kids' way of thinking about life. I jumped through the political hoops. I didn't teach by the book and it bothered some, but I was reaching my students. I enjoyed showing up to work.
Fast forward four years. Going to work was something I didn't want to get out of bed for, but I hate letting people down, so I was usually the first one in the parking lot in the mornings. I tried to overcome the misery I was feeling. Thinking it was just a phase. I liked the people I worked with. I was coaching at the time and that helped keep me focused. As I progressed, something was missing. My will and want to teach began to fade. My career became stagnant. My family life became broken. I was not buying in to the school culture. I was becoming unproductive. When I realized I was just there to collect a paycheck and reap the benefits, I knew I had to do something better with my time.
7 REASONS I QUIT A STEADY CAREER
1. I was a waste I was a waste of space in my previous job. I was under performing. I skipped meetings. I was unengaged at professional development. I was not meeting the needs of my department, nor the kids I was working with. I was simply there to collect a paycheck. It made me ask the question, would I hire me? I became a terrible employee. I wanted nothing to do with my job and what it entailed. Once I came to the conclusion that a paycheck was more important than the work I was doing to help kids, the school, and the community, I knew it was time to look for other avenues.
2. 22 more years of working for the man?.......not a chance We get one life to live and we should be passionate about our work. We spend most of our lives working and our work should be meaningful to ourselves and those around us. We all have to have money to survive in this life, but you have to think if the money is worth the misery of a "steady career." I came to the conclusion that there is no way I could work for somebody, follow their rules, pursue their dreams, and be happy. I would rather pursue my dreams, live by my rules, and have my freedom. My dreams and freedom became more important than my steady career.
3. Making life meaningful I have watched people ahead of me go through their lives and the only meaning is money. Again, we all need it to survive. I developed the exact same mindset. I was always "money stressed." I still worry about our incoming and outgoing money and try to find ways to save, but it has not become the meaning of my life. I have never been to a funeral or read an obituary where people discussed how much money the deceased made or how much they have in their bank account. Typically you hear about how they effected people and how meaningful they were to the people around them. Changing my focus from making a million to helping a million has lead to my work being much more meaningful.
4. BIGGER than you This life is bigger than us. We are a small piece to the puzzle. Our world has issues that are bigger than us. I want to help people in ways that I can. Teaching was a great way to help and inspire young people, but I was becoming unsuccessful. I decided that pursuing our business might be more productive to helping people, so in April of 2016 we developed our Charity Spotlight where we give 5% of our earnings to a selected charity. We use our business as a pedestal to promote giving because taking care of humanity is bigger than all of us. The issues in our country and world are bigger than any one person's bank account. The legacy we leave behind will always be remembered.
5. I am in control I have always seen myself as a terrible employee. I do not respond well to being told what to do or how to do things. I like to be in control and I feel much better when I am in control of my destiny. I do not like others to control my pay, my time, my dreams, my agendas, etc. Leaving my career has given me much more opportunity to see what I am capable of and take my life where I want it to go. I can look for more opportunities to grow as a person and grow my business. I can control how I help people and in what capacity. If my business fails, there is ONE person to look at. The blames fall on me and my decisions. That is scary, but I like having that control. Being in control of your own time makes it possible to spend more time with those important to you. I never had the time to spend with my family that I do now and I wouldn't trade it. Essentially, I control my own destiny and to me that is worth more than any "steady job" can ever offer.
6. FREEDOM! I have more freedom to make decisions. Whether they are hindering or beneficial, they are my decisions. I have the freedom to dictate my income. I have the freedom to dictate my schedule. I do not have to sit through meetings that others see beneficial, but I do not. I evaluate myself and my products. I do not have mindless, unproductive hoops to jump through. I get to donate to charities and spend my time learning more about our community. I have the freedom to be creative and find means for my business to grow and prosper. I do not follow or make policies that I see unfit for me and my company. Most importantly, I have the freedom to be a larger part of my kids' live. Freedom is something you cannot put a price tag on.
7. I have a DREAM..... I have always dreamed of owning a business, but I was scared to take the leap. Our business is small, but is slowly growing. I have a dream of building a business that will be highly regarded in business, but also for the work we do in the community and potentially the world. I want it to encourage and help others pursue their dreams and goals. My dream is that our business will be recognized for giving, providing good jobs, helping families, while operating with integrity. I want to be able to hand my business to my kids if it is something they see fit for them. I dream of our business being recognized for our charitable work in our communities.
When I left my career, I heard many times, "That is great if you have the means to do that." Bottom line, we all have the means. Leaving a career is risky, but up to this point I feel this has been the best decision I have made.