Why I Left Corporate America

I just made a phone call that most people would tell me was crazy.  I turned down a great job at a wonderful company for a lot of money (please don’t tell my father!)  At this point you’re asking if I’m crazy or just independently wealthy.  I can tell you I’m neither.  Let me walk you through this decision in hopes that it might provide some insight for choices you face in your life.

A couple years before I came out to California I sat down and put some great thought into the question, if I could work at any company, which one would it be and why?  I came up with two corporations, both were chosen for their culture and my perception of their top level leadership.  I wanted to spend some time in a company that I admired to learn from the inside out ideas I would want to incorporate in running my own company some day.

I applied to the companies I had chosen and after a couple years a job opened and I was hired.  It was a wonderful and eye-opening experience and I learned volumes about how they interpreted work/life balance, treated employees, customers and even the competition.  I obtained much of the information I sought while also building my own business in my spare time.  During this year it became clear that my time was becoming increasingly more important to me, and working for a purpose was creating such joy in my life I wanted to do more than I could fit in my schedule while working for a corporation.

The day came for me to leave the admired company and I was immediately courted by another great company, different from the two I originally considered, but a great company nonetheless.  I was not looking to stay in “Corporate America”, but I believed I had to at least consider the option and see if I could continue to fit both a job with them and my own business into my days.  After several interviews and discussions with the company the offer came in at a great figure with incredible benefits.  They offered me everything I could want and more – everything that is except for time.

It is ironic that they actually helped me come to this decision unknowingly.  I was asked by one interviewer, what makes you get out of bed in the morning?  Believe it or not, the answer was not corporate law, it was to make a difference.  In the final discussion I had with the HR representative, it was asked that I consider if my extracurricular activities were where I wanted to direct my life or was I interested in growing my paralegal career?

My final answer is I am building a career out of my extracurricular activities because to me that is the life I want to live.  My someday has arrived. Today, I coach people through life transitions and help entrepreneurs grow their businesses.  I may make tons of money or I may just get by financially, but I know that as I move through my days I am excited to wake up in the morning.  I know that what I do each day is making a difference in the lives of others.  I know that I am able to spend time with people I love and care about because I am not beholden to some corporate schedule.

The decision to follow the path I feel I am called to and to spend my days in the manner which brings me fulfillment is not a safe choice.  I know I am risking not having the backing of a large company with benefits and financial means.  I do believe I am making a contribution to others by coaching more than I ever could as a corporate paralegal.  If I am correct in my beliefs, I will have plenty of money to live my life as I choose and be in charge of my time.  If I’m not right in this choice, I will have spent some time living life as I wished, and I can go back to a 9-5 job knowing that I tried something I felt compelled to do and made a difference in at least a few lives.

I encourage you to take stock in your current situation and review if you might be compromising one thing you value for something of less importance.  I encourage you to ask the question, what makes you get out of bed in the morning and find a way to do more of that.

It's all about the journey!

Choose your path

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