LisaListed

The best things in life aren't things at all

Why I Gave Up the 8:00 to 5:00 Corporate Career

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I had no idea how many people were interested in my career, my job, my 8 to 5 until I gave it up. I quit. Gave my two weeks. Totally doneski!

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I gave up my corporate career at one of the most incredible companies to work for in not only the city, not only the country, but the CONTINENT! A company who was a regular winner of all kinds of awards. What kind of awards you ask? Oh you know, the kind that you would kill for your employer to win such as:

– Canada’s Top 100 Employers (a winner of this award for over decade)
– Canada’s Best Diversity Employers
– Alberta’s Top 65 Employers
– The 2013 Achievers US Most Engaged Workplaces

And I left. Did I have another job in place? Nope. I know what you’re thinking… and no, I am not some spoiled fund baby, nor am I lazy, “new age”, or “one of those…”. Nope, not any of those at all in fact. I have always been ambitious, tend to bite off more than I can chew, and I have the highest level professional designations that you can obtain in my field.

What I am, is a loving wife who has always made it loud and clear that my family is first. It’s funny, TONS of people say it, but I’m uncertain how many people actually mean it. I am actually walking the walk… and I’m getting super judged for it. However, that’s okay, I’m walking side by side with the love of my life and I could not be happier.

And no, I did not come from some slack job where “I just don’t get it”. I came from a real career where I was surrounded by people who were glued to their phones during meetings, who were glued to their phones when they finally went home late at night, glued to their phones on their weekends. It’s absolutely incredible how many people will check their email first thing in the morning, prior to making their children breakfast or making sure they are ready for school. Check their phones while on vacation and find a local Starbucks in some far away island just to make sure that they can connect to Wifi to check their emails. Am I bashing those people? No. In fact, I likely would have become one of those people if we didn’t move to the US.

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Which brings me to why I quit my above average salary job. My husband is the most incredible man that I could ever dream up, and I am grateful every single day that I am able to call him my husband. My other half, my better half. My husband, John, was offered an opportunity of a lifetime to move to the US for his career. To start with a new employer, a new company, a new area of business. Simply put, John is a genius. Now, I’m sure as he is reading this, his face is the colour of a lobster, because you see, John is very, very humble about his career and his intelligence. I am so incredibly proud of how hard this man works and how far his hard work has taken him and I am that proud wife who occasionally shouts this from the rooftop, much to his absolute embarrassment.

I AM SO PROUD OF YOU!

I AM SO PROUD OF YOU!

Moving to the US meant that our lives would change forever. Even if his visa is only good for three years, those three years would impact the rest of our lives. As soon as John started getting these incredible opportunities dropped at his feet, I encouraged him to at least see what these opportunities would look like. He was hesitant at first, but after he talked to the first person, neither of us could stop dreaming of ‘what could be’. We knew things would be different, we knew that we would have to sell our 2,500+ square foot home and live in an apartment, we knew that we’d be kissing my sweet pension and benefits ‘bye bye’, we knew that our five year plan would be taking a real detour, but you know what? That’s okay. Isn’t life about living after all?

So we decided to go for it, fully aware that I would not be able to have a career in the US. I tried to see if my employer would allow me to work from Chicago, but the reality is is that it’s simply easier for them to replace me in Calgary. So they did. You see, a Canadian is unable to simply drive across the border and start looking for jobs as if they were still in the same country. The simplest way for a Canadian to work in the US is that you have to be on a list of professions through the NAFTA agreement. It is a privilege, an opportunity quite rare for a Canadian to work in the US.

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It’s really quite complicated and I will spare all the boring details of why I am unable to work in the US. The main reason behind is is that the unemployment rate is SO high in the US that I would be taking a job from a capable American. I would be thieving a job from right under the country’s own nose. Ridiculous as it seems, I can’t even work at a coffee shop or book store. I. Cannot. Work. Anywhere. Really!

When people found out that we were moving and that I wouldn’t be able to work, there was so much judgement. People can’t wrap their brain around that thought. Some hide it better from others, but I felt each and every single one of those eye rolls and smirky faces. Many don’t understand the simple fact that I am unable to work. Suddenly, mostly everybody who we encounter has plenty of career advice and has taken such a keen interest in my career. Few even knew that I obtained my Fellowship, hell few even KNEW WHAT I DID AT WORK (yes, I’m partially to blame for that as I do not like talking about myself.. strange that I’ve started I blog, isn’t it?!) Yet, they feel entitled to offer career advice. Thanks.  (Let me be clear that there were a select few who were very supportive and encouraging from the get go, and I’d like to genuinely thank you… you know who you are)

John or I are often asked why I don’t change my career and become a profession on the NAFTA list… well there are a few reasons in fact:

1) I don’t have any desire to be an Astronaut
2) Neither of us have any desire to fund my non-dream of becoming an Astronaut and pay the foreign tuition premium
3) We both knew that I wouldn’t be able to work, we decided to come here anyhow and WE ARE HAPPY! Happier than we could have imagined. We made this decision together, we stand by this decision together, so all those who want us to make another decision… sorry, not going to happen. Unless you would like to fund my non-dream of becoming an Astronaut, then maybe I’ll consider it.

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Both John or I will get comments such as:

“what is she going to do..?!”
“she’s going to be so bored!”
“she has to work… she just has to work”
“she’s using you for your money”
“she’s going to go stir crazy”
“she could be a nanny”

…. and you know what, neither of us have had the balls to stand up to these comments yet, but I am going to start.  I am not the nanny type – I would never nanny in Canada, so why would I start here? And I’ll answer those questions of “what do you do all day” in another post… because I am actually quite fun and my adventures deserve a post of their own. 🙂

Am I gold digger? No. I was the one who was the more diligent investor in our early relationship. If I were a gold digger, I would go after a man who doesn’t keep a spreadsheet  of our finances. But I love my spreadsheet keeping man. I love him more than all of the dolla bills in the world. Sure, my husband’s new job pays substantially more than his old one, but we are still a married couple on one income. Neither of us feel like it is “his money” and he has made it very clear to me from the start to never feel that way. And I don’t.

So although I agree that it is strange for a young wife without children to not have a job, it does not allow you to judge me, my husband, or OUR decision. Maybe what some people don’t understand is that I value my family over money. I value my family over my career. I value my husband becoming the best that he can be and achieving his dreams. I get more validation by being told by our doorman that I’m a nice person than by receiving a 20% bonus. And if that means living on one income, so be it.

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In this feminist whirlwind that we are living in, where “women are competing in a man’s world”, where “women are taking a backseat to men”, where I hear whispers of “she’ll never have it all”…. well, you know what? I already do have it all.

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Maybe I will work again one day. Maybe I won’t. Maybe our journey will take us to places we never would have expected. But, I know that no matter where we go, we will be together, we will be happy and we will always do what is best for our family no matter what that means.

On our wedding day, my husband and I didn’t have a conversation about writing our vows. It was just assumed that we would. When I wrote my vows, I put a lot of heart and thought into them. I knew that when I was going to look my husband in the eye at the altar, I was going to mean each and every single word I was saying and that I would forever stand by my vows. Below, I will share with you part of those vows that I said to my Husband on our special day:

“I vow to be by your side through whatever life may bring us and I will be honored to experience life with you side by side. As long as I have you next to me, I will know nothing but pure bliss and true love. Today and everyday, I give you my hand, my heart and my love.”

My Everything

My Everything

And that, my dear lovelies, is why I gave up my corporate career.

Thank you for reading. A “share” or “follow” is the biggest compliment of all and I appreciate each and every single one of them.

Enjoy Life,
L

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20 thoughts on “Why I Gave Up the 8:00 to 5:00 Corporate Career

  1. We have some friends that had a similar opportunity and it took them from Calgary to Houston, Texas. She couldn’t work either and her husband put in long hours at work but you know what?…..they were and are happy as clams because they followed their path! Don’t listen to the criticism! It’s not THEIR life!! Life is short. Be happy and enjoy….even with all the frustrations. Luv from The Weiner!!

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  3. I would say that those negative people are just jealous of your fantasy life. Forget them, be happy, enjoy and live life on your terms. You and John are great people!!

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  5. Feminism is letting women make their own choices. The only person you have to be accountable to is yourself. And it’s no one’s business what you will be doing all day. There are many opportunities you can take advantage of. Classes, volunteering, online tutorials, . . .

    I was a stay-at-home mom for 16 years and I can still impress interviewers with the skills and experience I gained during that time.

    I say good on you! 🙂

  6. I totally get it. Will read later in detail – but I feel exactly the same way about corporate. Have been and still am in it – since 1996. But one foot out. Single mom, can’t plain old quit (yet) – though I actually did that too plenty of times before I was a mom. I would take 2-3 months off here and there, just to get some “me” time!

    And of course we’re not crazy – I’m sorry, but it’s the ones who blindly let themselves be sucked dry while not getting any real personal fulfillment out of their careers who are crazy. 😉 Really.

    I plan on writing another blog on my observations on corporate, and how that too could be turned into something meaningful, one CEO and company at a time. Most people are miserable at their jobs. Something’s gotta give. I’ll tell my version of what that is.

  7. I’ve got a couple of entries you might like 🙂
    Here’s one: http://verakasi.wordpress.com/2013/02/08/they-need-you/

  8. I think I accidentally “unfollowed” myself from this thread, adding back in. 🙂

  9. Fantastic! Very similar concept to my own story I’m sharing here on wordpress. Good luck on your new journey – I live for a good adventure too.

  10. I gave up my possessions twice in my life; i.e., started over. I ended up fine. Some called it an adventure, I saw it as a time to face what was important in life. . I’ve found that “mistakes” are often defined by other people and only by you, if you let them be. Good going for you and best of everything for you and your husband.

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  12. I’m catching up on posts – missed this one! I think it’s great and it is certainly no mystery to me how a person could spend his or her days without a job or kids to look after. Life, itself, is a job. Laundry, shopping, cooking, and hobbies would be plenty for me. Some people just don’t understand that not everyone needs a career to be fulfilled. I’d find life MORE fulfilling if I could just “do nothing” like Peter wanted to do in the movie, Office Space. Even if you “do nothing” there are still tons of things to do!

  13. Cool, I can comment again on other peoples’ posts. It wasn’t working earlier!

  14. Pingback: Liebster Award | little miss jennaayy

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