I finally did it. Yep, I quit my well-paying job of 13 years before my business took off. Now I know this isn’t the norm. Most bloggers, financial experts, and the like will tell you not to do this until your side hustle is making enough to sustain you, but I couldn’t do it. Of course, there are several reasons why (we’ll delve into that in a bit) but I knew now was the time. I knew if I went back after my maternity leave, I would be stuck there another 12 years with plans to start something of my own.
Before we dive in, let me tell you that this was one of THE hardest decisions I have ever made. Many people will say to me it’s not a good idea, think of the pressure your husband will be under and so on, but I didn’t make the decision alone. I prayed about it, talked to my husband about it, my church leadership, and of course a girlfriend or two. Now I will say my husband was not fully committed, at first, but eventually came around after I gave him a plan and my main reason why.
Before we were married, my husband and I agreed to save half of my income each month to grow our savings. We wanted a good cushion for a home purchase, my maternity leave, and other unexpected expenses that may arise. Knowing exactly how much I brought in each month made budgeting easy to make sure we hit our financial goals each month. Fast forward four years, and we managed to save quite a bit. Walking away from this income was not an easy thing to do.
Great Vacation Time
My company provided ridiculous vacation time. You see, you don’t earn vacation time. , You ’re automatically provided two weeks paid time off when you start, all major holidays, including MLK and President’s Day. Who gets President’s Day off? Did I mention the extra week provided in the summer to use at any time for the remainder of the year? I mean what company does that? If I ever decide to go back into the workforce, I know that won’t be my story any longer.
I had some of the best insurance in the industry. When I first begin my career there, I wasn’t responsible for any out of pocket expenses. They provided flex dollars, which was a refund of any unused medical, dental, or vision plan in my paycheck. Mo’ money, Mo’ Money’ Mo’ Money.
Fast forward a few years, flex dollars became of a thing of the past, but premiums remained low, but the plans remained solid. Because the plan benefits remained the same, I had no problem paying for my health insurance. Thankfully, my husband has excellent protection too, so I’m not concerned with losing great coverage.
I hate traffic. I loathe it. I become another person when I’m stuck in traffic, which is why I chose to work before the crack of dawn. Literally. I worked from 6:30 am to 2:30 pm. I beat traffic coming and going and would make it home in 15 minutes tops. My half days were at 10:15 am!!!!!
I’m the most productive in the early mornings. The early shift allowed me to get tons of work done before people started waltzing in at 8 am. While I love my boss, this also helped me remain focused before she came in and call an impromptu meeting and the like.
Every major event I’ve experienced in my life over the past 13 years, I’ve experienced at work. My engagement, marriage, and the loss of my mom happened while there. I never had to ask for anything. My co-workers showed up no matter what. Bridal showers, sympathy cards, flowers, and baby showers thrown in love, and I will never forget those precious moments.
If I don’t miss anything else, I will miss my co-workers. I’ve built great relationships while there. Three of my closest relationships started at work. Thankfully, we’ve formed bonds that will continue to grow outside of work.
When I first started working in the life insurance field, I didn’t realize how many people were uneducated about the importance of life insurance. If my parents didn’t teach me anything else about money, I was taught that having life insurance was important. My grandmother had life insurance on my aunt and uncles even as adults. My mother had life insurance on my brother and me into our adulthood.
Being able to educate people on the best products to fit their financial situation was very rewarding. Paying claims to family members who wouldn’t be able to have a proper service for their loved one was a gratifying feeling. Being a listening ear to someone who needs to talk in their time of sorrow also brought a sense of accomplishment because one work can keep someone from having a meltdown at the most trying time in their lives.
Let me say this. Every company in the United States should offer paid maternity leave. While President Clinton signed a bill that guaranteed 12 of unpaid leave to eligible workers, the United States is the only developed country in the world that doesn’t require paid maternity leave. That. Is. Insane. How are we here in 2019? But that’s for another article on another day.
My company provided me a generous maternity leave plan. Firstly, I had 12 weeks paid, plus an additional two weeks paid time off, considered bonding time. I was provided with six months of maternity leave in total to spend with my son before I had to decide to stay or leave. I appreciated this time because I didn’t have anxiety leaving my baby at three months. If I could give any advice to women right now, I would say if you are planning a family, look for a company that has excellent maternity benefits.
While the benefits were great, there were some significant cons to my position that we must discuss.
While I loved educating people on the importance of life insurance, the work was emotionally taxing. Having to explain to some families that claims would be denied due to non-payment of premiums, unadmitted health information, or fraud was very exhausting.
Once my mother passed, it was very taxing. With every medical record reviewed, I felt I was reading my mother’s files, and I felt I could ‘t grieve properly. I knew then I wouldn’t be there much longer. I wanted to emotionally connect with my beneficiaries, but not to the point where it was causing too much emotional pain.
Not only was my position emotionally taxing, but it was also mentally exhausting. Reading hundreds of records per day, calling doctors offices, looking for missing beneficiaries, investigating fraud, etc. was so tiring. So tired in fact, I couldn’t work on my side hustle when I got home because my eyes hurt. I would come home crying a few days a week because I knew it wasn’t my destiny to be there much longer.
Ever Changing Policies
I expected change when leadership changed two years before my departure. What I didn’t expect was the week to week changes. It’s very unsettling when things change at each meeting. You never knew what to expect, and it was hard to keep up. While we were taught each case was a gray area, we knew there should be some set procedure or guidelines in place that was never there.
The structure is a huge part of who I am and when it’s missing, I can’t function. While I was good at my job, I craved structure and just couldn’t find it with this new leadership. With the older managers afraid to speak up, things only got worse. This part made my decision to leave easier.
Low Chance of Promotion
New management made it very clear they weren’t in the business of promoting people. While we all did the same job, there was a significant gap in the old pay structure and the new pay structure. When other departments begin opening up positions that called for higher pay, my department took notice, for a second. Once the few promotions were handed out, it was reiterated that there wouldn’t be any more promotions. Who wants to stay at a company or in a department where you pretty much doing the same work with no hope for advancement or development? Next.
Now that I’ve weighed to pro’s and the con’s, I want to explain the main reason and most important reason I quit, my son. October 8, 2018, changed my life forever. My son has made me see the world with new eyes. I’d never seen myself as a stay at home mom until he was born. However, I didn’t want to be the typical stay at home mom; I wanted to work. I wanted to contribute to our household.
I also couldn’t bear the thought of putting him in daycare for 8 hours a day, allowing someone else to have that much influence over him. I have the happiest, not fussy, most chill baby there is. I was worried his temperament would change if he were placed in daycare. I wasn’t willing to risk that.
Not to mention, daycare is EXPENSIVE. If had to put him in daycare, it would not be substandard. It would be the best of the best, meaning I was willing to pay over $1,000 a month for some peace of mind. I began to realize there would not be peace of mind because I’d still miss him like crazy and still worry. Plus, I didn’t want to work to give that much of my salary away. I mean we could afford it, but I didn’t want to afford.
Despite the pro’s, the cons outweighed the bad. It was vital for me to examine what was important to me truly. My son and my mental and emotional well-being. How could I be at my best if I was always mentally and emotionally drained? He needed a healthy mom, a dedicated mom, and a present mom. I was willing to budget differently, spend differently, and do things differently to make my dream a reality. The money from my business will come, but the time I’d miss away from him can never be replaced.