Pressing Pause on Corporate America

I quit my corporate job in March without a plan.


I was a Marketing Coordinator for a large, long-standing corporation in Dallas for almost 3 years. For the most part, the job was okay. It wasn’t my dream job (I was pretty overqualified upon accepting the position) but it had potential and I was willing to put in the time and prove myself at this level in order to get where I wanted to be.

But after a few years with no sign of advancement despite constant praise for my work, I worked up the courage to meet with the Executive Vice President of my department about my future with the company. He was extremely receptive and complimentary. He asked me where I wanted to be, what I wanted to be doing and when I told him he said “I think you deserve that and we can make it happen.” I was ecstatic—but there were hoops to jump through. He asked me to compile a list of my accomplishments with the company, write a list of reasons why I deserve to be promoted, draft a potential new job description, draft multiple versions of new ways the department could be structured, you name it. And I happily and excitedly did them all because I thought it was going to pay off. Literally.

I had turned in all my assignments, but months came and passed and nothing happened. I grew restless and discouraged and then paranoia set in. Was this all an act? Did I make that conversation up? Was the constant praise I received from coworkers and leadership merely a dangling carrot to keep me chasing success that would never really come, all so that I would stay hopeful and never leave? The self-doubt was incredibly hard to privately deal with day after day.


Okay, so let’s press pause on that for a second. I have been a Pure Barre instructor since September 2016 (can I get a side-hustle “Amen” from my fellow Millennials?). Pure Barre was my escape from the daily stresses of my life for years so when a dear friend told me she was opening a studio near me and asked me to teach there, I did not even have to think before saying “Yes!”

Teaching Pure Barre makes me so happy; helping motivate and inspire women (and a few brave men) to find their strongest selves and realize their potential is a feeling I can’t adequately put into words. I found so much of my life’s fulfillment through teaching Pure Barre that it really put the other less-fulfilling parts of my life under a microscope. And my corporate job was for sure one of them. Especially now.


Alright back to my work story. I let 6 months pass before scheduling another meeting with my EVP. On the morning of our scheduled meeting, something crazy happened. My supervisor quit. This obviously had pros and cons but immediately I thought surely this would be my opportunity for a promotion and a chance at bigger and better things.

We met and our meeting went well. I was told my supervisor’s departure would definitely help in getting things with my promotion sped along but my EVP needed a bit more time. He told me to check back in with him in a few weeks. So a month passed (it’s October now) and I emailed him to see if there had been any developments. I was told he had a great conversation with the CEO about me and just needed to take care of a few administrative tasks before moving forward.

Obviously, in Corporate America, “administrative tasks” could mean literally a hundred different things. But I didn’t care! I was excited and relieved that the waiting and self-promoting were finally coming to an end. Or so I thought.

When I saw my family over Thanksgiving and updated them on all aspects of my life, as one does while passing the bowl of mashed potatoes, their reviews were not what I anticipated. It appeared to be the group consensus that I had been looking at this situation through rose-colored glasses and that like I’d previously suspected, things may not be as they seem.

My family urged me to do some self-reflecting to see if working for this company was truly worth it as it was hard to deny that I was seemingly being strung along. This was a hard pill to swallow because I felt like I was so close to a great career opportunity and I truly loved (some of) my coworkers and couldn't imagine leaving (some of) them. And because there are few things I dread less than job searching. But, I vowed to take time at the end of every work day to check in with myself and explore my feelings over the next few months .

January is a busy month for my company and there were events that I had to be a part of so January was a great benchmark to make a decision: if I decided moving forward with this company wasn’t the right decision for me, I could leave after the month without putting my teammates in a bad position.

In my soul-searching between Thanksgiving and January, I realized that my life was out of balance. I was finding my sanity, happiness, and fulfillment from a job I worked maybe 5 hours a week and found doubt, stress, and paranoia from the job I worked 40+ hours a week. So in the interest of my personal happiness and quality of life (but definitely not my bank account) I knew I faced a hard decision.

The promotion never happened and I gave a four-week’s notice the first day of February. I left my corporate job in March and although I have never had less financial security, I’ve truly never been happier. I have been able to split my time doing two things that I think are my calling by God—helping to strengthen and empower women as a Pure Barre instructor and sharing my creativity and writing for businesses in need as a freelance writer.
 


This stage in my life marks the beginning of what I’m hoping will be my a journey into spending the majority of my time doing things I enjoy and I hope you all come along for the ride. I plan to utilize my blog to share parts of my life that may make you laugh, make you think, or make you say “PTL it’s not just me!” We’re all stronger and worth a hell of a lot more than we think we are and it’s time we start acknowledging it.
 

—M