M.A., Sociology 2001
UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND
B.A., Sociology 1999
I am Sheryl Sandberg’s worst nightmare! I’m the career woman who had it all going for her – a strong network, a growing reputation in my industry, a loyal customer base, high sales numbers, and a great staff. Plus, I loved what I did everyday. So, what would ever make me turn my back on the job that gave me all of that success?
Well, it’s not one thing. I guess it’s two things – my two little girls. Oh, Sheryl’s ears are ringing as I’m writing this, but can the rest of you blame me? Not if you’ve ever met them you can’t. They’re perfect, and I’m not at all biased!
So, what really happened? Well, I stopped for just a second or maybe it was three seconds. Yeah, let’s go with three seconds, which is all I can generally spare in between swim practice and that proposal that’s due tomorrow and the timesheets I’m two weeks behind on and the dog that just puked on the carpet and the soccer game I’m running late for and the dishes that need to be put away and…
It was always something or 27 things that were fighting for my attention at any given time. Plus, I’m a perfectionist and a people-pleaser so I also felt like I was failing at all 27 things. Of course, I knew I wasn’t failing. I was actually quite good at most of them, but at what cost? My sanity? My relationships? My health? Yes. Yes. And yes.
Just to recap a few of my red flags: I needed a glass of wine to unwind each night. I never remembered to send a card for a family member’s birthday. I worked every evening instead of spending time with my husband. I paid for a gym membership I couldn’t use. My to do list got longer instead of shorter each day. My Grandmother even had to call me to remind me to cash the check that she sent me for my birthday because I couldn’t get around to it (sorry, that you couldn’t balance your checkbook for four months, G.G. I didn’t know people still did that).
It was just my life, and it might be your life too. It was certainly the life that I saw many other working mothers living around me. But, I couldn’t continue down that path anymore. I just wasn’t the person that I wanted to be.
So, I decided to do one of the craziest things I’ve ever considered – go into business for myself.
Seeing as I suffer from the psychological phenomena called “being a hard driving, perfectionist, Type A personality,” it was actually difficult to give up on the stability and predictability of success in the corporate world. Now, I can only rely on myself.
That’s the hardest thing – trusting myself. That’s where I will need some help from the people around me. A little boost when the going gets rough, or I feel like I’ve made a huge mistake. I guess I’m writing this partly for you and partly for me. So that I remember why I did this. I want to remember that I didn’t “throw away a great career,” but that I “chose a different path to success” for better or for worse.
Post-Script Update: It's been nearly five years since I wrote this manifesto originally. I never regret my decision to leave corporate life. I've grown this business every year since it began, but I still stress that it will come tumbling down one day. However, I have more support and help than I've ever had so I'm certainly feeling more confident and ready to keep growing.