I vividly remember (maybe because it a few months ago) dreading even the thought of having to go into work every day. It was a combination of having to waste hours of my life stuck in a heavily congested freeway and knowing that my day would be filled with work that no longer made me happy. When I left the corporate world for a non-traditional job, all I really took into consideration was that I would no longer be miserable between the hours of 8am-5pm. The truth is many things have changed for me, but these five stood out the most.
1. Schedule, or Lack Thereof: The biggest change in my
life since I left UCLA has been my hours. These days, I get to make my own schedule, for the most part. Yes, I still have to go in every day, but I don’t have the pressure of being there at inhumane hours. However, just because I clock out when the clock hits 5pm, it doesn’t mean that my work is done for the day. I feel like I’m never “clocked out,” even when I’m not physically working, my mind is always thinking of new concepts and things that need to get done. My schedule always fluctuates, some days I work five hours and other days I work long hours.
2. Driving: This is the biggest thing for me. Previously,
I used to wake up at 6am (allegedly) to be in traffic on the 405 freeway for an hour and get to work by 8am (again, allegedly.) It also use to take me anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour to get home – on a good day. Now I only drive around 15-20 minutes, but the caveat to that is the parking. UCLA provided parking spaces, and if you’ve been to the Skee Lodge, then you know how horrible parking is. I do have to say, though, I have gotten much better at parallel parking.
3. Titles/Job Description: Working at UCLA I had a set title that consisted of set duties, which means I always knew what I had waiting for me when I turned my computer on. I think that’s the most drastic change. Although I do have a title, I’m constantly doing different things and I never know what the work for the next day will consist of.
4. Uncomfortable: Being a financial advisor, I became comfortable in
my daily routine, which consisted of me problem solving, dealing with
angry students and comforting parents. Although that does sound uncomfortable, I became accustomed to it. Now it’s completely different because I’m constantly placed in situations that are not the most comfortable. To this day, I still get nervous before every interview, but as soon as I start the nervousness goes away. Like I’ve said before, I hope that feeling never goes away. I want to continue to be uncomfortable in situations that I feel I can’t handle,
because it feels that much better when I prove that I can.
5. Health: There’s no doubt that emotions can affect your health. I remember being extremely frustrated and unhappy in my work life that I would constantly get sick and even have migraines for weeks. I would see my doctor so frequently that we became bingo buddies (okay, maybe that didn’t happen), nonetheless they never found the source of my sickness. It’s been almost seven months since I left my previous job and I am proud to say that I’ve probably gotten sick only three times — not bad at all.
In conclusion, I wish I would have quit sooner. I wish I would have stopped being so afraid of failing or regretting my decision to quit. If there’s one thing I’ve learned (and am continuing to learn, every day) is to have faith in God. Things will always work out how they’re meant to and for the better. Quitting my “grown-up” job was a tough, selfish decision, but it was the best thing I have ever done. I’m a much happier person. Don’t get me wrong, I still deal with stress, but it’s stress over something that makes me happy.