Tuesday, December 9, 2014

I Was Living The Wrong Life - My Story of Being Voluntarily "Jobless"

First let me send out a huge THANK YOU for all the love yesterday on the launch of my Etsy shop. I received lots of orders and feedback and let's just say I'm going to be a busy girl! Again, THANK YOU! Now onto why I've been missing....I guess I have some explaining to do, so... let's go back! In my last post before I went missing I wrote about the frustrations of finding a new apartment in NYC, but after a grueling 2-week search I finally found an amazing apartment!! It was WAY over my budget, it was not in the area I originally wanted to be in, but in the end it turned out to be the perfect place for me to call home. Here are a few pics:
Screen Shot 2014-12-09 at 7.17.59 AM
my place

During the same week that I signed my new lease, I also started a new job. You may remember this time last year when I quit my job without a plan, without another job lined up, and instead opted to gain a better work/life balance, hoping to find something out of the industry I was working in. That worked for a few months as I worked from home as a freelancer, but as the end of my contract came to an end, and fear started to rear its ugly head again - another opportunity presented itself and while I was skeptical at first, after the interview, I felt like this position could be exactly what I was looking for. I would be working on a launch brand for one of top pharmaceuticals companies in the world, it was in a therapeutic area that I was really interested in, I would be working with a great internal and client team, I would be working under a boss that I respected and that could mentor me, and finally I got to focus on the creativity side of the agency - all which I have been looking for...so I thought at the time.

Let me explain. Climbing the corporate ladder was something that I always felt I had to do. I put in the time, I gained impressive titles, I made a lot of money which allowed me to shop...and travel...and live in a nice apartment - but with that came the stress, the weight gain, the loss and/or damage of friendships and relationships - and I just wasn't happy. I no longer wanted to be at my client's beckoned call. I no longer wanted to deal with the stress of the office. I no longer wanted to be a part of a morale that didn't feed positivity into my soul. I no longer wanted to give up my evenings, vacations, and holidays for work. I remember in September I was at my friend's wedding in upstate New York and she wanted me to help her decorate the reception site (which was an amazing rustic barn that sat on the lake shown below) the morning of the wedding. While this was exactly what I wanted to do (decorations, weddings, flower arrangements - sign me up), and while this weekend was supposed to be a nice getaway from work and the city - I found myself sitting in my hotel room listening to an ad board for 3 hours while everyone was out having fun. It was right around this time that I decided "I can't do this anymore".
(The site of my friend's wedding)

At the end of the day, I realized that I was spending most of my time not doing anything that I actually wanted to do. In fact, for years, I felt like a fraud. It took every ounce of focus and concentration I could muster to fake it. It was like trying to breathe under water. I was working myself to the bone trying to pull every ounce of strength I could to perform at the impossible standards I set for myself, and those that others put on me. And while I achieved most of them, I never felt satisfied. I felt I was losing something very dear to me. MYSELF. I didn't know how to find me again while at the same time being an imposter in my own life.

After months of really trying to make my new job work, I finally came to a very hard life decision that I  couldn't do this anymore, it wasn't fair to my team, it wasn't fair to my clients, and most importantly it wasn't fair to me. So I decided that I had to quit my job and not only that, I had to leave New York. It was definitely a decision that was very hard to swallow at first because I loved (love) New York, I loved my apartment, I loved being in the same city with my sisters, I loved my friends and support system in New York, but I knew in order to live the life that was intended for me (one of creativity, of designing, of entrepreneurship) - I had to leave New York for a while....and maybe (gasp) forever.

Once I made the decision to leave, literally everything fell perfectly into place. I found someone to sublet my apartment (as my apartment lease isn't up until June 2015), I was able to give my job a month's notice so they could find and I could train my replacement, I got amazing deals on movers and a truck, and my sister and friends made sure that I got to do everything I ever wanted to do in New York before I left so I didn't feel I left one stone unturned. We definitely had a blast!
first step
Up until the day I left New York I didn't allow myself to think about how I was going to miss it, but instead of what great opportunities were ahead because I was leaving. However, the day of the actual move was one of the hardest things I ever went through. I wasn't just leaving New York the city, but I was leaving my sisters, my life that I have built for so many years (even if it wasn't authentic), really I was leaving everything that I've always known and moving into the unknown. It was a very emotional 8 hour drive, and it didn't help that the moving truck only had AM/FM radio - not even a cassette player. Woof!
leaving nyc
(A last quick shot of the skyline while driving in the moving truck)

Once I made it to my parents house - have I mentioned that already? I decided to move with my parents for a few months while I get a few things in order, one being most important - my life. They have been so supportive and I'm so very lucky to have them. If it wasn't for them, I would not have been able to quit my job in search of life with intention. They encouraged me to leave, to come home, to finally do what I've always wanted to do, and in the process they promised to support me in whatever I needed. Don't get me wrong, it was a tough pill to swallow moving home for a while - but I knew in the end this move was necessary if I wanted to start to build the life I have always dreamed of. There was no way I could financially do it while still living in New York. So yay for awesome parents (and they thought I moved out for good back when I was 18 - ha)!!!

Lately my days have been filled with enjoying the holidays, spending time with my parents (something I truly cherish as they are getting older and who knows when I would have had the opportunity again to spend this quality time with them - life is way too short), catching up with friends,  journaling, painting, building up my inventory for the shop, soul searching, making contacts, and now getting back to daily blogging.

I have created a small craft room in my parents basement (I will show pics during a later post) so every morning after waking up, I make coffee, watch a little bit of the news, and then head down to my "office". Working from home definitely has its ups and downs - but I'm loving it so much. It makes me feel like I'm going to work - well I guess that's because I am - but the difference now is I'm building my own way. I have a feeling that the work/life balance I've always searched for still isn't going to happen, but that's ok because when you do what you love, time escapes you in a good way. 

In a nutshell - the lesson I've learned is LISTEN TO YOUR GUT - YOUR INTUITION, and know when to say NO! It's never too late to have the life you've always dreamed of - the one you were intended to have. I by no means recommend you quitting your job without a real plan (especially financial) - but I do recommend that when your gut is telling you NO, and when you feel that you are in a situation that just doesn't feel right - listen to that and start making a plan to modify your situation. 

There will be lots of updates, daily blog posts, how-to videos, instagramm-ing, pinterest-ing, handmade paper products and art will be added to the Etsy shop (of course you will be the first to know), and so much more.

Again, THANK YOU for the love and support - you all are ah-mazing. Now sit back...and enjoy the ride!



  1. This is a beautiful and inspiring post. You continue to amaze me, Jessica. Even though you were in the wrong field for you for so long (and excelling at it, btw!) I sure am glad it brought you to Raleigh for a few years. I can't wait to see what you do next!

    1. Awwww.....thanks Susan! If it weren't for you - so many things. I wouldn't have excelled in my job without all that you taught me. I wouldn't have my precious Addison (although I cuss you out every time I get hit with one of those hefty vet bills). I wouldn't have made it through our walking extravaganza around New York if I didn't have you to complain to, lol. #LiveYourLife 2012. THANK YOU for being an amazing fried - you've always been my cheerleader and I appreciate that!

  2. I totally missed this post! What an inspiration you are and I totally agree with you. When something just isn't right make the moves to make it right! After having my son I quit my job to take care of him. While it was a necessity because of his condition it forced to quit a job that was taking me no where but to stress alley ( it wasn't even in my degree field!). I am so incredibly happy I did because it opened the door for me to start doing what I really want to do! so Kudos to you gorgeous! I can't wait to see what else you do!

    1. Thanks Love! It's weird that during my time of figuring what was right for me, in the process I would be an inspiration to others. I'm trusting and praying that I've made the right decision - my gut certainly says so (even though doubt and fear likes to creep in every once in a while). It's crazy how life turns out, huh? I love your little family and love following you through your journey. I'm wishing nothing but the best for you my love, thank you for the support. xoxo

  3. I am so proud of you Jessica! This is so inspiring - it takes courage to regroup in this way. I know you will be happier for it! I am really looking forward to reading your blog and seeing your amazing Etsy creations!

  4. Good morning Jessica,

    I can't begin to tell you how much of an inspiration you are to me. Rodriquez and I were deeply moved when we read this. He called me and said "Mom you've got to read Jessica's blog". He's right and it was right on time. I am so glad you're back home and can't wait to spend some time with you. Please, lets keep in touch. I'll see you at the Christmas dinner.

    Love you,


  5. Hello Jessica and WELCOME BACK! Congrats on the Etsy shop, I'll have to check it out! Following your heart is always the right thing to do! Be blessed lady!


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