When I moved to New York and got my first job, it was an amazing experience! My first job “offer” on Wall Street was emotional and exciting. My first paycheck was a huge relief and made my mouth water for more! The first “bonus” was indescribable! I spent day and night thinking about my job. How can I improve? How can I earn this person’s attention? How am I going to work my way up? During the day, I would try to impress everyone in the office while simultaneously find solutions to my client’s issues.
In the evening, if I wasn’t entertaining clients I was thinking about my day. Do my clients like me? Am I going to make this deal? Do I really love my job? (Of course I love my job!) Sleep. wake up. work. repeat!When personal problems arouse, I dove deeper into my job becoming the best possible employee I could be. But after a few years of this, I felt a hole burning inside me and I was confused. Those enthusiastic days of trying to impress everyone were replaced by zombie-ing my way around the office. I realized I was masking my issues by working harder to avoid them. After thinking deeply about it, I realized I had lost a huge chunk of who I was.
Who was I? I was silly, playful, creative as hell, and..a little weird. But 10 hours out of my day were spent being professional and acting like a robotic version of me. At night, I was pretending to be super intelligent and pretentious to clients about topics I knew absolutely nothing about. I realized I had boxed out my friends and when I had an hour on the weekend where I didn’t feel like sleeping, I wasn’t that fun. In fact, I was still being professional (ewe), and a little uptight.
Where did my weird go? My old bosses were impressed but deep down something was very wrong. And I was secretly lost.
In April 2014, without even realizing — my life changed! I knew getting a dog would be life changing in terms of having more responsibilities, but not actually “life changing!” I received Gemma, my multi-colored cock-a-poo girl in my 4th year working in the Corporate world. From then on out, I spent my working hours counting down the minutes until I got to go home during lunch to be greeted by this abundance of love and craziness. I fell in love with arriving home after work to roll around on the floor with my pup as she ran into walls, peed everywhere, and took naps on my lap. Sure, taking care of a new puppy isn’t easy, but it sure was fun. She brought me back to life. I realized that once again, there was a life outside my job. I felt like a little kid again. For the first time in years, I had something on my mind besides the worries of what I did wrong or right at work.
Don’t get me wrong, I am so grateful I had this work experience, met people and mentors who inspired me, and got to earn a living that allowed me to live a full life in New York City.
But let me tell you a little secret, money does not equal happiness. Love equals happiness. If you can find a project/job/start-up that truly makes you happy, money and fulfillment will be naturally created.
This may sound a little hooey to some, but as I reflect on what lead me down the road to leaving the starting my own business was the freedom to do what I love all the time. I learned this lesson of love and freedom from my pooch.