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“Don’t quit your day job.” Sounds pretty facetious, right? Well that’s exactly what we both did. We both quit our day jobs.
When we exchanged our wedding vows, we promised each other for better or for worse. We had always talked about how we would grow old & spend lots of time together to savor this one precious life we have as much as possible. One of the things we both knew we wanted out of our new lives together was to spend as much time together doing what we love. We would reserve our Sundays to spend quality time with family. Unfortunately, our day jobs didn’t align with our life goals or that flexible schedule we so yearned for. When you’re working in the corporate world, you don’t have that option. Work is work; you take it or leave it. Sundays would soon become work days and drain the energy out of us physically, spiritually and emotionally. All of the life events we were missing out on due to working our day jobs wasn’t worth missing out on family time.
When you consider the future and what it means to you, we assume you have a good career path in mind, some stability and just perhaps an overall grasp of what you can expect out of life. This is true for us as well, that is, it was, just a week ago. Sometimes you can give a day job your all, but it can get exhausting when you’re to the point where it isn’t enjoyable anymore because you’ve already found something else you’re passionate about.
For us, that passion is photography and working with people in all seasons of life capturing milestones and the people most important to them.
Up to this point, we had been giving our photography everything we could. (About 60 percent of the time.) What I mean by that is, Sasha had always done most of the heavy lifting for our photography. She was editing on Friday evenings until 4am and waking up the next day for a photo session at 10am the following day; but she got it done! All the while I worked a day to day job for the benefits and the biweekly checks, while also doing my part with photography (much of our written dialogue is actually done by yours truly) as I was available. However, there was always this yearning for us to both fully commit ourselves to our craft.
Many of you may not know that Sasha was actually working as a Digital Arts high school teacher for the Wonderful College Prep Academy just a few short months ago. While she was still obtaining her teaching credentials at a university! However, she realized she had begun to spread herself too thin with homework, lesson planning, the day-to-day classroom management and photography. When it became too much for her to handle, we finally had a heart to heart discussion about what she really wanted out of life. She knew she enjoyed teaching, but she wasn’t reaching her potential. So, we decided, Sasha should stop going through the motions of teaching and begin living out her dream to take this photography thing to the next level. So, we were at a crossroads. A couple of weeks passed by and Sasha finally made the gut-wrenching choice to leave her teaching job, and pursue this passion of ours full-time.
It was then that I knew we needed to make some sacrifices if we wanted this to work. I would continue to finish out technician jobs as best I could, and hope my supervisors would continue to “understand” that I needed to take these constant vacation days because I had more pressing matters. I’m not sure if everyone can relate, but try to imagine just how silly it is having to ask another person for permission to make your own money chasing your own dreams. I would constantly tell Sasha, “Today is gonna be the day, I’m gonna quit!” Because, the truth is, I knew that I wanted to spend more time with my wife while working for our company that we created.
Which brings us to last week. I could no longer continue to play the safe route, all bets were off and I quit my day job. Funny enough, it was in the uncertainty of the moment that actually allowed Sasha and myself to actually breathe a sigh of relief. Another funny thing is, it was a day before my birthday. Sasha likes to say it was a birthday present to myself.
After we both left our jobs, a couple of questions would still linger above us. “What will our families say?” “Will we be okay?” “Can we do this?!” Which brings us to our next point. If we believed in ourselves, shouldn’t this have been an easy transition? The truth is, everything great in this life takes hard work, dedication and sacrifices which we both knew we were already making. We just needed to take that leap. We also both knew that we could fully appreciate the art and love we witness on a daily basis more now that we took off the training wheels and allowed ourselves to make our own path.
It can be difficult to shake the fear of failure, the uneasiness of uncertainty, and dreadfulness of doubt. It’s a scary thing to leave something that’s supposed to provide stability! However, there is also something magnificent in controlling your own fate & having flexibility. In this season of life, ask yourself this: Are you living up to your full potential?
Before you quit your day job to follow your passion, I challenge anyone considering a leap of faith to take another step closer to the ledge and see what the view looks like. You might find that the fear of failure was the scariest part of all. If you can end each day with a bigger smile than the last day, you are on the right track. Don’t quit your day job. Quit dreaming about your dream job and eventually make it a reality.