Earlier this month I revealed in a long overdue personal update that I had resigned from my full time public relations job last spring. It took me a really long time to work up the courage to share my news publicly. I wasn’t sure how people would react to my decision and was truly surprised by the overwhelming positive feedback. It was incredibly comforting to know many of you had been through similar situations and that I wasn’t alone. It made writing today’s post a little less scary. THANK YOU!
For those not familiar with my career journey here’s some background… Shortly after graduating in August 2012 I moved to New York where I landed a public relations assistant job at a respected luxury fashion and beauty PR agency. At the time I remember feeling overwhelming anxiety about not being able to find a job so when I got the offer I honestly felt like I’d hit the jackpot.
Fast forward four years– I’d moved on from my first two jobs, been promoted and had taken on more senior responsibility at my latest role. On the surface it looked like everything was going as planned– and it was! I feel very blessed to have had positive experiences at all of my jobs. The public relations industry is cutthroat and if you aren’t proactive it’s very easy to get lost in the shuffle, never find a mentor or receive a deserved promotion. I’m lucky enough to have navigated the ladder and worked alongside some incredibly smart and talented publicists– many of whom I still keep in touch with and call close friends. Looking back I wouldn’t have made any different decisions.
So why did you quit your job?
For the first time since beginning my career I began dreading going to the office everyday. Even at my first job as an assistant I never had this feeling. No matter how mind-numbing or anxiety-inducing the work, I still found motivation knowing everything I did contributed to a greater goal. Those first few years I remember feeling elated when I’d complete a tough project in half the amount of time given or after getting glowing praise on a PR plan I had drafted. During those times I thought, wow I love my job. Looking back I wonder if I just loved the validation of knowing I was good at what I did, and not the actual work itself. Fast-forward to January 2016 and everything had shifted.
While I was making advances in my career, I didn’t feel fulfilled. Pitching and securing a major print story for a client in a top womens’ magazine (something I used to dream about accomplishing) didn’t even make me feel proud. I no longer enjoyed what I was doing and still felt empty even after getting positive feedback. I found myself stressing more and more about real life issues like the quality and cost of my health insurance, my biological clock, the long office hours and travel required of a publicist and my 401k. I saw my boyfriend and many of my friends making dramatic leaps and finding happiness in their careers, while also enjoying life outside the office. It was becoming increasingly clear that my chosen career didn’t necessarily align with my longterm personal goals.
I was crushed when it finally hit me that just being a great publicist wasn’t enough to keep me motivated. I would lay awake at night playing scenarios in my head and wondering if those crucial first few years of my career had been a complete waste. The entire situation made me feel ill– mentally and physically. I couldn’t eat and I couldn’t sleep. Everything I was dealing with at my job combined with the other crappy things that happened in early 2016, culminated in me feeling like a total failure.
Did you try looking for another job?
Yep! In March I started networking and putting out feelers to all my friends at other agencies and recruiters I’d worked with in the past. I knew this time around I had to be very strategic because the last thing I wanted was to land in another situation where I was unhappy. I ended up interviewing for a handful of promising roles where I would’ve been working on global beauty brands.
Out of them all, I decided to pursue only one at a larger reputable PR agency. The job checked all my boxes, but after three rounds of in-person interviews I just couldn’t see myself going through with it. I had a gut feeling it was a huge mistake. My heart wasn’t in it.
Another blogger quitting their full time job to blog? How original.
April is when I began to finally consider the most obvious solution– work for myself full time. To be honest, if it wasn’t for blogging I don’t know how I would’ve gotten through those first few months last year. It was the only thing that made me happy and could distract me from stressing about work. I had to wake up very early to keep up with my blog (I’m talking 5AM or earlier) because being productive after a 10 hour day at my PR job was basically impossible. I was always coming home in a negative head space (or tears– that happened more than a few times.) The hours of 5AM-9AM were the best part of my day.
But even though I LOVED working on my site and for months I had been earning more on Katie’s Bliss then I was at my “real job” — it was still very hard for me to consider resigning. There’s a stigma with bloggers that the moment one achieves a little success, they just up and quit their job leaving their planned career behind. Being labeled with that stereotype caused me a lot of stress and anxiety. I had gone to college, graduated with a bachelor’s degree and was working at a reputable company– I was really going to quit to work on my website?
But you still did it?
Yes, I did and I unapologetically haven’t looked back. The last nine months of my life have honestly been some of (if not) the best of my life. The second I gave my notice I felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders. I had been fighting my feelings for so long– not letting myself give in to that fact that the career path I’d set for myself as a college student wasn’t what I wanted anymore.
I’ve come to realize all of the judgement I imagined was really just self-imposed. Guys, I was the only one holding myself back. With the encouragement of everyone in my life, (and I mean literally everyone– Nick, my entire family, coworkers and friends) I finally made a decision that was in the best interest of my happiness and health– the one that had been staring at me in the face for months. I’m thrilled that I can now say I finally feel like I’m living my truth.
Considering taking a leap of faith?
While I would never encourage anyone to quit a job impulsively (obviously we all have bills and responsibilities ) — I wanted to share some positive motivation for any of you who may be feeling stuck in a rut or disillusioned by your career path. Life begins when you leave your comfort zone and sometimes all you need is a little push to give you the confidence to take a leap of faith. Remember: you are capable of so much more than you think.