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From Cubicle to Creative: Punching out of My 9-5

When I released my latest audio show episode last week, entitled “Fear Factor: Leaving Corporate”, I got a lot of feedback; it seemed to resonate with so many of you. Alternatively, there were people who reached out to say that they simply could not even press play because the title alone was a trigger warning. Trust me girl, bliss is comfort, it’s all about personal timing and doing what works for you when it works for you - so bookmark the episode and listen later lol. (click here to listen on Apple)

My Current Perspective on Leaving Corporate:

The solution isn’t always going to be, “fuck that job”, but I will continuously advocate to quit a job if it provokes consistent and intense stress and anxiety. I’m talking about that forceful feeling of defeat the moment your toes touch the floor in the morning. The reason you fantasize about your car breaking down on the side of the road, it’s the incentive of having that “out”. Counting down the days until your next long weekend, or the unease of heading back to the office after your two week vacation. We’ve somehow managed to normalize things that aren’t normal. At the end of the day, survival will likely outrank the pursuit of comfort/happiness for so many of us, and that’s a deeper issue.

Now let me be altogether clear, so that there’s limited space for misinterpretation:

  • Having the option to leave your job is a privilege.

  • Believing that you can start over with a new company (or entrepreneurship), is a mental entitlement so obscure that at times, our brains cannot even compute.

  • Some people are okay with the daily stresses at their place of employment and THAT’S ALRIGHT! - respectfully, Suzanne, this is not for you.

Enjoy the read, take what benefits you, leave what doesn’t.

If you’ve read or listened to my stuff, you’d know that I struggled for a really long time in making the decision to leave the corporate world. It was almost a decade that I knew I was making all of the wrong decisions, trudging further down a path that simply was not meant for me because the idea of implementing a course-correct was so dang uncomfortable.

I wish I would’ve had a resource, somewhat of an outline; the good shit, the bad shit, the numbers. Transparency. All I could find were YouTube videos and podcast interviews of success stories, those who had made it to the other side (in which I would find fragmented solace).

What I longed for (and still do) is someone in the mess, sharing the adventure; the moments that make them want to pack it all up and call in sick from life, the missteps, losing it all and starting from ground zero, building the right foundation for their new lives.

Call me deranged, call me twisted, but when I’m making a change or taking a leap, I want to know EVERYTHING. Like that woman who catches her husband cheating and vigorously seeks out all of the nitty gritty details, each and every hurtful bit. Hear me out, it’s not about the negativity or trying to scare myself out of a challenge. I simply want to know what tools I should be bringing with me on my journey. I want to be prepared and well-equipped to win. I’ve always been more curious about what was done wrong than what was done right.

It’s Called Transparency

You’ve made it this far, and you’re on my email list - I may as well just bust it wide open for you:

I worked for the City of Toronto, 40 hours per week, making 70k/year which amounted to a bi-weekly paycheque of about $1800 after taxes. So monthly, I was clearing about $3600 CAD - which allowed me to just get by.

After paying my mortgage, home insurance, car insurance, phone bill, internet bill, electricity, heating/cooling, water/trash, gas, groceries, and emergencies there was room for nothing*.

I was constantly told how lucky I was to have a stable job, making 70k per year. To have a pension and a pretty darn good set of benefits. I do not take any of this for granted. In that same breath, everyone who told me to be grateful for the circumstances that allowed for my survival were also in survival mode. I shut my mouth and observed, things got really quiet before I decided to stop taking advice from people who were so clearly on a different journey - the journey that I was choosing to leave behind.

I believe in advisors, I believe in mentors, and I believe in learning from other people whenever possible. So for anyone who even slightly connects with my journey, let’s start with 3 things to scare you somewhat shitless (the content I would’ve loved to read a year ago).

1. Not me leaving my job with no savings…

Yup, I left my job with no savings. Despite trying to save for several years, I just wasn’t able to (go ahead, run my numbers). I knew that I’d have to be bold, which meant accruing some debt.. a lot of debt**. I DO NOT recommend this if you’re not in a good headspace, don’t have a business that generates income, or if you don’t have access to an escape plan/emergency button.

[My rock-bottom-red-button: sell my home]

2. Team No Sleep (not by choice)

When you leave your job to start your own shit, there’s no end in sight. I work waaay more now than I did when I had a 9-5. It’s not glamorous in the slightest (not yet at least). It’s bothersome, laborious, lonely and overwhelming more often than I’d like to admit. But damn, it’s fulfilling. I have to remind myself when I’m in those moments where I feel burnout on the brink, just how lucky I am to be busy with things that have a direct relationship with my personal successes. I hate back and forth emails, invoicing clients, and sending out quotes, but it’s all a part of the process, my process.

Sidenote: learning how to optimize your time has to be on your list of priorities. I’m a little less than a year in, and starting to figure it out now. Team No Sleep is NOT sustainable. Burnout is real, take care of yourself.

3. People Will Always Have Something To Say

The girls that get it, get it. The girls that don’t, who tf cares!

Some of the closest people to you are going to judge you, question your decisions, and make comments that allude to you being irresponsible. What I’ve discovered is that sometimes the harshest criticisms come from people who lowkey wish they could do the shit you’re doing. .

Fear doesn’t disappear. Fear doesn’t go away. Fearlessness does not exist. The magic is in learning how to coexist with fear. Stop waiting for fear to subside, it’s not going anywhere.

* Mortgage, $1950

Home Insurance, $150

Car Insurance, $200

Car Payment, $400

Gas, $200

Groceries, $250

Phone, $80

Internet, $70

Electricity, $120

Heating, $100

Water/Trash, $125

** this may be controversial, but debt doesn’t always have to be a bad thing, as long as you have a plan and don’t let things get out of hand.

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