5 Reasons Why Quitting My Six Figure Corporate Job Was the Best Career Move

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It’s been almost 3 years since I quit my six figure corporate job for my unpredictable life as an entrepreneur and I’m not going to lie; this is the most scariest yet liberating thing I’ve ever done in my life.

Sure there are still days, when I say to myself “What the hell did I get myself into?” but I wouldn’t trade this emotional roller-coaster ride for anything in the world.

Between calling all the shots on what I will and won’t do, helping other entrepreneurs turn their vision into reality and having the freedom to work anywhere in the world, fleeing the cubicle farm feels like I jumped off of a clip without a parachute and landed safely on my own terms.

So how did I get stuck in a career that I hated? Well for many years, I was following someone else’s path to success.  Seriously, I just wanted to make my parents happy. So I went along with the traditional career path.

Related: 4 Common Mistakes Career Changers Make and How to Avoid Them

After I graduated college, I had dreams of working at a well known communications firm with all the perks—fancy title, first class business trips around the world, luxury car, designer bags, six-figure salary, and of course, a house and husband.  I got everything I wanted but the Chanel bag and husband–but hey that’s another post. I spent about 10 years waiting for one of those ‘things’ to make me happy and validate my worth. But real talk,  I cringed every morning before I walked into my office and cried when my head hit the pillow at night. Each year, I  thought to myself, “maybe it’s the company culture, the project or the client.” It took about 2 years before I got the courage to say “Screw You I Quit”—okay it wasn’t that harsh because I actually gave my former employer 3 weeks notice, but the point is I was miserable. So when I finally got tired of my own BS, I took a huge leap of faith.

Kandia Johnson

You’re probably thinking, “In this economy, who in the heck would give up a good paying job with travel and benefits? And then you’ll probably say: “Many people would give their arm and a leg to land a job making that type of money.” It’s a feeling I really can’t describe. I was tired of hiding behind degrees, titles and money. I knew I had a greater purpose in life and trying to fit someone else’s definition of success left me mentally drained.  Looking back, I can’t believe I wasted so much time unhappy about my life.

So, here are five reasons why quitting my job was the best move for my career.

  • I found passion and purpose – Several years ago I felt my life had no purpose. I had little to no time, to be of service to anything that wasn’t a company-sponsored event. So after I quit my job, one of the first things I did  was volunteer for organizations dedicated to empowering young girls and women such as the United Nations–He For She Campaign, Global Connections For Women and Girls Going Global.  Not only did I help others turn their ideas into reality, I expanded my network and increased my self-confidence.  And I found my true calling for helping people turn their expertise into a marketable brand.
  • I took ownership of my career and developed a kickass network  – One of the biggest mistakes I made while working for my former employer was putting too much time into building my brand and establishing a network within the firm. I only attended company-sponsored networking events, and I wasn’t active on social media, so I faced a huge challenge when making the leap into entrepreneurship. To bridge the gap between where I was at the time and where I needed to be, I developed a monthly networking plan: I attended several “relationship building” events each month to connect with some entrepreneurs and industry insiders, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram became my go to networks for establishing meaningful connections, and I started my own blog which helped me land an opportunity as a  freelance writer for Black Enterprise Magazine, which ultimately helped me land new clients and speaking engagements.Employee to Entrepreneur
  • I stopped seeking approval and built my confidence –  As an employee, you follow a set career path or script for getting ahead within a company. And you may receive feedback from your managers or colleagues, which ultimately helps to boost your confidence. But entrepreneurs don’t have a blueprint for success. As an entrepreneur, you’re forced to learn the job of 3 different people. You’re challenged to make decisions quickly, and learn new things regularly. And honestly, entrepreneurship can be lonely.  It doesn’t feel good when you’re “growing” through it and figuring it out all on your own. But Oprah said it best “Learn from every mistake, because every experience, particularly your mistakes, are there to teach you and force you into being more of who you are.”
  • I found the ultimate form of freedom – The absolute best part of quitting my job is the freedom.  I was traveling weekly to client sites throughout the US and Canada, and returning home about 4 times a month, my entire life was confined to a suitcase. The transition from employee to entrepreneur allowed me to eat dinner with my family and friends during the middle of the week and choose the types of projects that would allow me to make a positive impact on the lives of others.
  • I created my own sense of security – Listen, despite what I was told as a child, there’s no such thing as job security.  Most people are 100% dependent on a company to determine their career and life path, and give them a paycheck–every two weeks. But what do you do when you walk into the office one-day and your job is no longer available?

 In a weird twist of fate, the challenges, twists and turns on this entrepreneurial journey have forced me to create my own lane and figure things out. When things go wrong, I say to myself: I am the problem, and I am the solution.

 

Are you ready to make a major career change? Are you feeling stuck in the wrong career but you’re unsure about how to make the transition into a new career? Well, in 2012 I quit my corporate job for a life on my own terms. Since then I’ve helped many other career changers successfully launch new ventures. Check out my consulting packages or simply shoot me an email hello@kandiajohnson.com, even if it’s just to say ‘Hey!’

 

 

 

 

 

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9 thoughts on “5 Reasons Why Quitting My Six Figure Corporate Job Was the Best Career Move

  1. Yes, Yes, Yes! I couldn’t agree more! I also quit my six-figure job, albeit a lot more recently – just about a month ago. It took many many years to finally take the leap, and it was only after a brief health scare that I found the courage to do it. Like you said, it has so far been the most liberating thing I have ever done. I am learning to rely on myself, to become more resourceful, and am more confident and passionate than I have been in a very long time. Kudos to you for making it – three years in – Wow!

    1. Love it! Isn’t it the most liberating feeling ever? I always say most people have an “AHA moments,” “Eff this I’m out of here moment” OR a Defining Moments which propels them to change the direction of their lives–I’m happy you’ve found your moment! XOXO

  2. Love it! I’m a currently in the situation where I’m gathering my strength to take the leap of faith out of the corporate world and to a whole different sector (I’m a corporate lawyer, but lately figured out that law is not my passion). It’s so scary and also difficult to admit that my job is not making me happy. Thank you for sharing your story, it definitely inspired me 🙂

  3. I’ve been wanting to leave for years but feel trapped. Heath care is big concern since I’m in my early 50s. I want to quit so bad and am depressed most of the time even though i make 6 figures. So many depend on me and I can’t let my wife down. I see what little is left of my life, continue being wasted until i can retire in 13 yrs maybe.

  4. I’ve been scouring the vast web for encouragement like this. I’m about to leap off the corporate cliff and say farewell to six figures. I’m planning to lose half my stuff, pare down and find happiness. I took a corporate internship at 25 years old in college and have been on the treadmill since. I’m now 45. Thanks for posting this as it is very inspiring and helpful to those like me. Thanks and congratulations. I hope to be reporting the same happiness in 3 years time.

    1. Thanks so much and kudos to you for taking the leap! You have to believe that your worth is not tied to your income. It’s probably one of the hardest things you’ll ever do but you’ll be so proud of yourself in the long run. Never give up on your dreams. Keep me posted with your success–because I’m speaking it into existence!

  5. Great article! I agree 100% with your take-aways. Moving from employee to entrepreneur is so empowering. Once you discover who you can become and what you are capable of doing, your heart won’t be satisfied with anything less. Yes – I may put in long hours learning skills and jobs that I never had to do before but I am excited about the growth opportunities. The freedom and flexibility makes every moment worth it. Thanks for sharing your story!

  6. I know this is an old post, but I so agree with everything you wrote about. Today is my first day no longer with my six-figure job and although it is scary, I’m also excited for many of the same reasons you listed!

    Also, I completely agree with you that there is no such thing as job security.

    1. Hi Suzanne! First off, congrats on your new chapter and thanks for reading my post. I have to admit the scary feeling never really goes away, I’ve just learned to “grow” through it. LOL. Surrounding myself with other women who have taken a leap of faith has helped me tremendously. Feel free to reach out anytime.xo!

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