I QUIT THE 9-5 LIFE
Quitting the stable salary “9-to-5” life was one of the most difficult things for me to do. Mostly because of the fear of disappointing my mother (I love you mom). Society paints a picture that the correct path is to go to school, acquire a degree (and debt), and then find a good company to work at to exchange my time for money…to pay off that debt, to pay for the car that takes you to that job, to have someone else dictate your worth. Of course there are upsides (a steady pay, vacation days, cushy benefits, work/life balance…) but what about feeling truly fulfilled?
*Disclaimer: I am not saying that one cannot have a 9-to-5 job AND be truly fulfilled. If you are one of those people, consider yourself lucky! I just wasn’t one of them.
My career path has been anything but normal. After I graduated university with an MIT degree (Media, Information & Technoculture - yes, a made-up word), I decided to live abroad and explore the motherland in Korea. I reassured my mom that I would only be gone for one year and then return to pursue post-graduate education… but the one year quickly turned into 5 years! So, what did I do in those 5 years?
Kindergarten ESL teacher - I taught the cutest 6 year olds the ABCs and how to read
Private ESL tutor
English voice-actor - mainly English audio curriculum but a video game too!
Arirang Radio reporter - reporting on various segments on health & entertainment
Club Promoter - hey, in your 20s - this is a great way for you and your friends to party for free - no judgement!
Fit Modelling - I was a human mannequin that got paid to try on Victoria’s Secret & LaSenza clothing in pre-production. Who would have ever thought this was a thing?!
Fashion Photography - got to work the Seoul Fashion Week circuit for 2 years straight
It all sounds pretty awesome, right? IT WAS.
But there was that voice inside of me telling me that everything I was doing wasn’t a “CAREER” and that I should go back to Canada, in order to pursue a “real career”. After all, I wasn’t getting any younger.
Silly, right? …IT WAS.
THERE IS NO ONE DEFINITION OF A SUCCESSFUL CAREER
I was 28 and moved back to Canada having to start from scratch and figure out my next chapter. That same voice that was telling me to find a “real career” meant I was to find a secure, corporate job with cushy benefits and vacation days. So that’s what happened.
I worked for 3.5 years in an entertainment distribution company in marketing. The work-life balance was great, I had a stable pay-check, I liked my coworkers…but I still felt empty and unfulfilled. I literally was exchanging my time for money, with no personal growth or satisfaction at the end of the day. It was easy to get complacent though. So I continued to stay.
But don’t be fooled, The Universe will always find a way to make you shift and change when you need it most. I was at a pretty dire point of unhappiness when The Universe made it so I didn’t have a choice anymore and I got laid off! Now to make matters worse, I had also just torn my Achilles for the 2nd time and I was spiralling down the rabbit hole of pity-party-for-one.
YOU HAVE A CHOICE
I realized I could wallow in my misery (and the “WHY ME” mentality) or I could shift my attention to something positive. I chose to focus my journey on self-development and fill my days with things that would inspire me. This is where the path to my spiritual enlightenment began. I listened to countless videos/podcasts/audiobooks that would gradually start to shift my mindset from woe-is-me to i-am-a-badass.
(I will list some of my favourites in a different post, but if you haven’t read You are a Badass by Jen Sincero yet, I highly, highly recommend it! It was one of the first books that really got me on a different path.)
THE PATH IS NOT A STRAIGHT LINE
As I was learning how to physically walk again (and re-wire my brain), there was something in my heart that was telling me that I was meant to do something different. Something bigger. But this “STABLE CAREER” program came back and got me. As I was listening to all of these empowering podcasts about being your own boss, I got another 9-5 desk job (as an Executive Assistant) and I would soon realize I had fallen prey to the trap again. I was unhappy, unfulfilled, and waiting for the next bend in the road.
ENTER: MY PASSION
The thing I was most excited about was that my office was super close to my favourite boxing studio - Studio KO. It was the thing I looked forward to most in my day.
And then it happened. The next bend in the road. Studio KO posted a call to hire new boxing instructors!
I had been a client for years and wondered what it would take to become an instructor. I thought, welp - it doesn’t hurt to ask….and next thing I know, I was being trained to be an instructor - personally by the Master Trainer.
BIG LESSON HERE. Don’t shrink yourself in fear or doubt. Believe you are worthy and good enough to receive anything you want. If you don’t go for what you want, you’ll never have it.
ASK for what you want!
Things started to align. One thing was for certain - I was not meant to be an EA, but that job brought me to the people that would open up the doors to amazing things to come. Anthony was one of those people and he was leaving our current company to work at a new restaurant venue. So, I put it out there that I was looking for new opportunities as well. And within a month, I had an offer for a role as an Events Manager. This brings me back to my point — ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT and manifest it.
NEW JOB, NEW PURPOSE
Clearly, I was still tuned into the “STABLE PAY-CHECK” channel - part of which was because I felt like I had no choice (in order to help my family financially) - but it was also because the thought of not having direction or stability - that someone else put in place for me - was overwhelming and terrifying. So I moved on to yet-another “9-to-5” job. But this one was slightly different. I enjoyed the role I was in and I felt more connected with the people I worked with, and (for the most part) I felt valued at work. So, working longer than normal hours, and dealing with the nuances of a growing establishment didn’t really get to me at first. But as the months went by, I felt like my wheels were spinning again, I was feeling undervalued again, and I knew I had to make some changes. I refused to be unhappy in another work environment where I was there to simply exchange my time… for a pay-check. So I focused on what I wanted and what I could do to change my situation.
I wanted my time back. I wanted to focus on things that excite me. I wanted the energy to get back to the things I loved (family, fitness and wellness). SO I QUIT. And have no plan on finding another 9-to-5.
Becoming a fitness instructor was not part of the “STABLE CAREER” plan but when I connect with clients and feel like I’ve made a positive impact on someone’s day, I know that I’m in the right place. Not having a salaried job and a steady income is definitely a scary thing for most people, but if you have heart & hustle and find your purpose, the possibilities are endless.
I’m teaching more classes at Studio KO, I have time to create more content with Gunnarolla, and I’m finally putting my time and energy into my own projects that I’ve been wanting to for a long time (ie. this blog). I spend time everyday expanding my mind, working on my spiritual growth, and becoming the person I’ve always wanted to become but was too scared to.