Chucking it All

Chucking it All

Dorian was an engineer for a large petroleum company in Houston for twelve years before she left to be on her own.

It was my college class reunion that started me to thinking about my future. Everybody appeared to be doing the things that brought them joy in their lives. To my surprise this reunion wasn't about fakeness everyone genuinely seemed to enjoy their purpose in life. The man I thought would be president some day turned out as a florist with his own nursery, and my roommate the scientist wannabe runs a gallery featuring her work. People assumed I was happy as an engineer,actually a few people commented on my "luckiness" to be working in such a great company. What my classmates failed to see was my lack of enthusiasm for my chosen life work all they could see were the benefits and security racked up over the years in the company.

I smiled as they praised my career and employer all the while thinking how my life stunk. Usually people are depressed by reunions because they didn't work as hard as they perceived their classmates as having worked. My depression came from knowing I wasn't doing meaningful work for me having sold out to the comfort of a large company and it's resources.

For weeks I asked myself questions about my skills and what I could do to feel useful without success. Then came the day when a subordinate received the promotion I was promised. I was speechless and that's quite a feat for a motor mouth like me. Outraged I stormed into my department manager's office demanding an explanation. He told me in a rather patronizing manner I'll get the next promotion, so I quit.

No cool down period to think about my actions I quit. Promptly I packed my belongings and left, no turning back out the door I went. That was the best decision I could've ever made had it not been for the immense anger I felt for losing out on a promotion. I would've never stepped away from the hustle and bustle of Corporate America to start my own business. All my mother could say was,"how could you walk away from your benefits, you're not a spring hen you needed the job security". Thinking back it was my age that made me sensitive to the not being promoted drama. I trained the woman they promoted, she was fresh from college with no experience, if I was experienced enough to train her why not promote me?

Listening to my mother ramble on about me needing that company and how I couldn't live off my savings and 401k forever, yada, yada,yada, it dawned on me I was a good salesperson, give me anything and I could sell it. My first question was how I could make a living at selling without working for someone else? I went to my branch library and checked out books on franchises, why franchises I'm not entirely sure but I soon changed my mind when I began reading company bylines. I don't like the idea of me growing a business with someone looking over my shoulders so franchising was out of the question.

For a couple of weeks I took it easy, it was like a vacation, I took long naps in the middle of the day, stayed up late, it was wonderful. My friend Michelle called me one day after she heard I had quit my job and asked if I would help her with an job assignment the following weekend. I'm glad I agreed to help her, it was then I knew what type of business I wanted to start. Marketing, that's where my interests lie I proclaimed, so back to the library for books on the subject.

It didn't take me long to set up my business, registering it with the county clerk,creating my own guidelines, buying the necessary technology for my home office,then the selling of my business began. I had my first client within two days of opening, today I have twenty-two clients, five employees who also work out of their homes, and the satisfaction of earning one million dollars last year.

I'm now doing what I do best, selling. There's not a day I don't learn something new. If I can walk away from corporate life you can too. I know there are many people who can't afford to drop their jobs without making financial plans first. The simple process of making a decision to leave can be the beginning of it all. A commonsense approach would be:

    1. to decide what it is you want to do ( what kind of business to start)
    2. what will it take for you to start this business (how much money and time),
    3. determine if you could work the business of your interest part-time if you can't afford the financial loss of leaving your present employment,
    4. study the success of those operating the type of business you want (don't hesitate to call and ask questions),
    5. most importantly join a entrepreneur support group (friends and family support may not be available to you, if you have a mother who thinks you're too old to make a change then get your support elsewhere. Also who couldn't use the positiveness and support of those that understands your struggles like other business persons?).

Lets be completely clear you'll be working on your own without the backup support most jobs provide so there will be days when it's no walk in the park, be prepared!

Article told to Regena English by Dorian Williams.