I still remember when I was in college and could not wait to get a “real” job. And when I finally graduated college, I still couldn’t get a real job immediately. I stopped applying for a while and restarted, but by the time I started reapplying, the economy had crashed, so it still took me a long time to finally get a job. Everyday, I dreamt about having a real job, wearing real clothes, and driving off to an office.
Well, I finally got what I thought was the corporate job of my dreams. It was nine to five, Monday to Friday, paid a salary (not hourly), had paid holidays, paid lunch, and paid vacation, and it was less than ten minutes from my house. I had hit the jackpot. I remember telling Igwe then that I saw myself doing this job well into retirement. I loved it that much. At the time I was offered the position, I was advised that in a few years, the company would be going mobile (working from home), and I was asked if I minded this. I said no, but really, the job was less than ten minutes away from me, so it didn’t make a difference.
For the first few months, I loved my job. I got to wake up every weekday morning, take a shower, dress up, put “pancake” (foundation) on my face, shine my lips, and go somewhere. I got to fraternize with my coworkers and simultaneously make a difference in people’s lives. I loved it. Every evening, I made a mental note of what I would wear the next day.
Few months later, I was tired of driving to work, although it was right there. I was tired of waking up in the morning, although I was always late to work. I was tired of dressing up, although I had bought new clothes and shoes. Then a miracle happened. Instead of waiting a few years, my job waited a few months to go mobile. We were all given brand new laptops and cell phones and trained on how to work remotely.
Yesssss!! I was living the dream, and everyone who had the chance never failed to tell me how lucky I was. Even our trainer at work told us how lucky we were to land this job, because did we know how many people applied and got rejected? I still remember the first week we were allowed to work remotely. My supervisor said clearly that we were going to do it on a trial basis where we would work from home twice a week. I did not need the trial. Once I started working from home, I never showed up in the office unless I had to. My office was so unoccupied that my coworker who had recently had a baby was using my office to pump her breasts.
I loved working from home. But less than a year after I got this job (literally months into working from home), I was tired of it, too. It was not working from home that exhausted me; it was doing this work from home that drained me. But I was blessed with wisdom to know that the problem was not the job. It was me. I had no fulfillment in my job. I loved my coworkers and I loved the clients I worked with, but I did not want to do this work.
But I did not quit. I kept working. When I got pregnant with Ada Verastic, I was miserable. Every morning that I had to work, I was miserable. I got mad when my clients called my phone. I got mad when I heard the ping of a new email. I got mad when there was an office meeting, and I deliberately scheduled other meetings to conflict with the office meetings. I was a terrible employee.
As much as I wanted to see my coworkers, I did not want to discuss work. I hated hearing my work phone make any noise – so much that I muted my ringer. No, I did not put it on vibrate. I muted it. I just did not care, and I resented my job. Nothing excited me – not even the talk of a bonus. I coasted along, always doing the very bare minimum.
The closer I got to having Ada Verastic, the more I fantasized about leaving my job, but I never made a decision. I left my options open because I thought perhaps, I was just feeling this way because I was pregnant, and once I had the baby, I would go back to pre-not-liking my job so much. But I was wrong. Once Ada Verastic arrived, I wanted more than ever to stay home, care for my child, and work on my own empire. If not now, then when?
So in the middle of my maternity leave, I sent in my resignation letter, effective immediately. When I first started blogging, I did not think of it as a business, nor did I even know one could run a blog as a business. For a very, very long time, I thought of Verastic as a side gig, something I loved doing which was fun. Although I have been blogging for 10 years now, it does not feel as long. Sure, I am an expert content creator, and sure, I know how to write, but creating content as a business is different, and I am still learning how to think like a business. I am an old dog learning new tricks.
I did not quit my job to chase my dreams. I quit my job to live my dreams, and the chase is part of living it. I will not lie to you and tell you that since I quit my job, it has been happy-go-lucky and life has been as smooth as hot knife through butter. No, there have been many, many days of frustration. There have been many, many days of hitting my head against the proverbial and literal wall. I have cried myself to sleep, and I have woken up feeling defeated, and I have massacred countless cups of coffee to keep me alert. Igwe is the only one who knows most of my frustration, but sometimes, I don’t even want to bother him, so I deal with my shit alone. I tell God about my concerns, and sometimes it feels like He’s listening, but other times, it feels like my prayers did not cross the ceiling. Some days, I am so sure that I might have quit my job too soon, and other days, I am so pumped that I wish I had quit earlier.
I quit my job in the last days of December because I did not want to start 2016 as someone’s employee. I believe with all my heart that my creative mind is a divine gift and favor from God because not once in my life have I prayed to have a mind that works this way. Therefore, I owe it to Him and to myself to use it. I owe it to God to reach my fullest potential, and right now, I know beyond all doubt that I am nowhere near that full potential. There is so much left in me, and this is both exciting and terrifying. Sometimes, I forget what I have in me.
What I have learned so far is that dreaming is the easy part. Doing is where it gets tricky. It now makes sense why most people do not actually follow their dreams. At this juncture, it is imperative for me to give credit where it’s due. Igwe has been an amazing friend, partner, and support system. Every time I doubt myself, he gives me a pep talk. You should have quit sooner, he says. Do you know who you are, he asks? Hurry up and make the money, so I can buy my five thousand dollar suits, he jokes. Well, technically, he’s not joking. He really does plan to spend a lot of money on suits.
I am most grateful to God for even giving me the opportunity to quit my job, and for giving me reasons to quit my job. When Ada Verastic and her future confusingly identical twin brothers grow up, I hope that they are encouraged and inspired by the audacity and tenacity of their very cool mommy. I hope they get the same thing from their daddy, too. Igwe is a beast, the kind I like. He comes up with the craziest ideas, and every time he says, “Baby, I’ve been thinking …” I am afraid of what might come out of his mouth, but I am so grateful for his love and support. This is why I laugh uncontrollably when he tries to apologize for his wrongdoings, even when he steals my fish and eats my food before me.
Thank you to all you Sweet Potatoes. You are the wind beneath my wings. Let’s do this! Yes oh, you are part of this.