Six Reasons Why I Left a Job I Loved

In the spring of 2016, I decided to leave a job that I loved and start my own business. It was a hard decision as I was experiencing great success and on a career path that I was proud of. While I knew my ultimate career goal was to start my own business, for years I was content with the success I was experiencing. I could see myself making it to a C-level position which was exactly what I thought I wanted.

Then one day I started to question everything. Was my happiness of today holding my back from my true goals? I wanted more than I was letting myself achieve. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I had to leave a job I loved in order to truly be happy. Holding a top position in someone else’s company was a second place goal. If that was all I achieved, while still a great accomplishment, it would have been because I settled. Why just take second place? I needed to try for first. I realized that I needed to give up my current success in order to truly be successful in my eyes.

Getting to this realization was not automatic. I needed to think long and hard about what I wanted versus what I had. In the sections that follow, I will take you through the top six reasons I decided it was time to consider leaving a job I loved in order to start my own business.

I let a moment of stress spark the plans for my future

It all started when I had an emotional rock bottom day at work. It was one of those days where your projects and team members are pulling you in every direction and it’s an endless string of items not going as planned. A day where you are counting down the seconds until you can leave the office because you know it’s just today and tomorrow things will be back to normal.

To add to that stress I was in the middle of trying to find new childcare for my youngest. Two places had returned my call that day; one was $120 more per week than what I was budgeting and the other had a 10-11 month waiting list. While trying to decide if I could stomach the additional money going to childcare and not savings, I continued my search and become more and more stressed.

That’s when I hit my lowest moment of the day. I closed my computer, let the tears flow, and said “That’s it. I’m quitting my job and becoming a stay at home mom”. That thought lasted about 5 seconds before I told myself it was crazy. Being a stay at home parent just wasn’t for me. That’s when I let my mind shift to I always wanted to start my own business. Maybe now is the time…

My family

I have two young kids. When I was pregnant with my second child, I took random days off of work to spend with my first. These days made me realize how precious that time really was. I also realized that once the girls were in kindergarten we would not be able to take random weekdays and go to Disney, the zoo, or just stay home and play. If I wanted more of that precious time, I needed to do something about it now.

I once heard someone say that owning your own business means working 10 plus hours a day so you don’t have to work eight. It’s true but the beauty of it is that those 10 hours are the hours of my choosing. While I’m sure things will change as my business scales, for now, I don’t have to be stuck to a 9-5 work day. I can enjoy morning trips with my girls and still put in a full work day that afternoon and evening.

I also realized that leaving the job I loved meant spending more time with the rest of my family. Most of my and my husband’s families live in different states. We have always done our best to travel and see them but we feel that we miss out on a lot. With the type of business I was starting, I could work from anywhere. No longer do I have to limit how many days I can spend with my out of state family.

I have a great support network

Before I had even convinced myself that quitting my job to start my own business was a good idea, my husband was 100% sold on the idea. When I told my parents, their response was “It’s about time,” and my in-laws asked what they could do to support our business idea. Every person I talked to encouraged me that I was making the right decision.

My network wanted me to succeed and they thought I could succeed. If so many people believed in my idea, I had no reason to not believe in it myself.

I had reasons why not to leave but no reasons for why I had to stay

As part of my plan to see if starting my own business was right for me, I created a Pros/Cons list. When I was finished, my cons list included items like:

1) I enjoy the people I work with at my job.

2) I love the company culture.

3) I have had a lot of great career opportunities in regards to advancement and learning.

4) I have a network of people at the office that care about me on both a personal and professional level.

My career at Catalina was overall amazing and my list showed that. My cons focused on what I would give up if I left Catalina. As I read the list again it hit me. These were not reasons why I shouldn’t start my own business; they were reasons why I shouldn’t leave Catalina. If I was making the decision between staying at Catalina and taking a job with another company, this list would have made me stay. However, that is not what I was deciding and the list showed me that I did not have a reason as to why I had to continue working for someone else.

I wanted to be happy

Now, don’t get me wrong. I was happy. I have a great family, a great network of friends, and I had a great career. While there might be the occasional stressful day in the office or item that I did not agree with, overall I was extremely happy with my career to date.

However, the path I was on wasn’t my main dream. What would happen when I retired? Would I look back and be disappointed that I never tried to make it on my own? While it’s hard to really say how I would feel 30 years in the future, in my mind the answer was “Yes. I would regret not trying”. Knowing this, I had to try running a business of my own at some point in my career. Why not now?

I have the time to make mistakes

I have a lot of time left in my working lifespan. If in five years I decide that working for myself isn’t what I imagined, I will still have 20+ years left to build my career and get to the c-suite in someone else’s business. By making the decision now there is time for me to learn if I can succeed on my own. If I wait ten more years to leave my job, I’m then reducing the time that I would have to recover if I cannot succeed on my own. Time is simply in my favor.

When I looked at all these reasons, I knew I had to explore the option of leaving a job I loved. Now that I gave myself permission to consider the idea, could I afford the decision and was I leaving for the right idea? In an upcoming post, I will walk you through the steps I took to answer these questions.

Did you leave a job you loved to try something new? What helped you decide it was the right time to explore the option?

Idea to Success: 13 Action Steps for Starting a Business

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