Jen Makes the Big Jump to Pursue her Passion
“For all the single girls reading this I hope we can all look back at our lives and know that we’ve had the courage to make the tough decisions that bring us closer to our dreams”
It’s almost too hard to believe that I am writing these words but today marks my last day in my job with Procter and Gamble. I’ve chosen to quit in pursuit of my dream job and more importantly my dream life.
The Corporate Years
I got my start with P&G while I was in college. As a junior I landed a coveted summer internship with them in their Los Angeles office. After an intensive 12 weeks, I scored an official job offer to come back after graduation. I had 3 months to consider the offer before I had to accept or decline. The internship ended with the stressful pressure to compete for the job offer, and I was left with no real desire to return to P&G. I had planned on going to grad school, taking a year off to travel, or pursuing a shoe business I had been building.
I had a vision for my life that was far from sitting behind an office desk. My true aspiration was to become a host on the Travel Channel but at minimum I wanted to create a job for myself that would allow me to see the world, meet great people, give back, and have the flexibility to work whenever and from wherever I happened to be.
Though my heart was telling me to pursue this passion, my head overruled in the end and I was convinced a job with P&G was too good an opportunity to pass up. After all, there were a few perks that came with the job. I always wanted to move to Southern California, and the job was serendipitously located in L.A. I’d finally have the chance to head west and, better yet, the company would pay for it. I also knew P&G was recognized for investing in training their people. I saw this as a great alternative to business school, one where I would not only gain the learning but would also earn real life experience while getting paid. Having a couple of years out of college to earn some money was extra appealing. I knew that taking the job would give me the chance to save up money that I might need to lean back on when I decided to do something else.
The following summer I packed up my things and headed back to L.A.—this time for good. I returned to the P&G offices and got acquainted with my new role as an assistant brand manager. It didn’t take long before the anxiety I had felt during my internship days reemerged. The stress was driven partly from the daunting responsibilities I was tasked with as a new employee and partly from my heart telling me I hadn’t made the right choice.
I decided I needed to embrace the experience and to soak up as much knowledge as I could while I was with the company. However, I gave myself a deadline of 2 years before I continued to hunt for my ideal job. I knew if I didn’t establish boundaries early, I could fall trap to letting go of my passion and becoming complacent with my current situation.
As this summer started I was closely honing in on my two-year mark. I vowed that I would keep my promise to myself and figure out my next step to get me closer to the life I really wanted to live. My criteria hadn’t changed so I knew I would either need to step out on my own or find a very unique opportunity that was vastly different from the big corporate environment I was a part of. I remember a great quote I read once, “Never let good get in the way of great.”
Tiptoeing Toward Change
Starting The Single Diaries was a part of this plan to begin building an independent career, but I also realized that I would need something more substantial as the site grew. I began pouring over job listings and came across a new company that was building an online shopping and content site for women business travelers. Their mission was to give professional women the products, tools, and resources to improve their travel experiences. “Perfect!” I thought. Women + business + travel all: things I knew and was passionate about.
A quick email later and I was having coffee with the founder. We agreed that I would come on as a part-time consultant pro-bono in order to learn more about the company and potential opportunities. Through the summer we got to know each other and the business better, and the offer to come on as co-founder was eventually presented.
This was the opportunity I had been waiting for, and it was coming at just the right time. I weighed the decision for a month losing many nights of sleep in the process. Coming on as a co-founder meant that I would receive equity in lieu of payment until the company either rose funding or began generating revenue. It was a big risk to leave my well-paying steady career path for the ultimate unknown.
It had been three years since I was last offered a job. The time before, I accepted the job because it felt like the smart thing to do. This time I knew I had to accept because it was what my heart wanted me to do. Just like I had learned to do when launching The Single Diaries, I embraced my fear and prepared to make the jump.