what no one tells you about leaving your 9-5

If you’re active on social media I’m sure you’ve seen countless posts from work-from-home bloggers, business owners, and network marketers talking about how incredible their life is now that they work for themselves. I’ve certainly shared many times how much happier I am now that I am no longer stuck working a job that was truly sucking the life out of me, but the reality is it isn’t always unicorns and rainbows every day. It is hard, stressful, and often unpredictable, especially when you are first starting out.

I speak very little of my teaching career here, other than how unhappy I was the last couple of years at my job. The truth is, I LOVED teaching when I first started. It was everything I worked for. Heck, I even went and got a Master’s degree for it. You know going into the field of education that it isn’t going to be an easy or high paying career; what no one tells you though is just how hard it can get. How it can take a toll on your body, mind and spirit. How it can break you into a million pieces and take you away from the people you love and care about. I think the same goes for many other fields, especially if you are miserable at work every day.

But the other thing no one tells you is how much you’ll miss everyone you worked with when you leave. I miss my coworkers so much it hurts sometimes. They were my family. They were my home away from home during the day. We endured so much together. I miss my former students. I miss hearing about their weekends. I miss hearing them call my name and telling me they need me to help them tie their shoes or help them solve a conflict with their friends. I miss drying their tears that hurt my heart every time I saw them fall from their eyes. I miss celebrating small victories and watching them hit milestones that no one but a teacher could understand. I miss their voices, their funny little mannerisms, and their innocence.

I miss them all so much, and some days I wish I could be back with everyone just one last time — but then I remember that I had to do something really big and scary and put myself first. A lot of things were changing that were out of my control while I was still there. I spent a lot of days crying in the bathroom while the kids were at their humanities classes. I’d lock the door, sink down to the floor and just cry — wishing I could be at home. When things changed the passion I once had started to deteriorate. I was no longer happy with what I was doing in my career and that wasn’t fair to my students, coworkers or MYSELF. I lost a part of me in the last couple of years, but in the last few months since I left, I gained part of myself back.

If you’re a teacher, I applaud you. I have the utmost respect for you. In many ways you are stronger than me for holding one of the most difficult jobs in the world. You do things no one will ever understand or appreciate. But the moral of this story is this: if you don’t love it, leave it. And if you finally decide to leave it don’t ever stop when things get tough. You simply cannot put a price on your happiness or sanity. It may not be an easy road all the time, but I can promise you it’s worth it. I will always cherish the good memories I had from my teaching career, and will always appreciate the difficult moments because they made me a better, stronger person in the long run. I’m grateful for where it all led me to today, and I wouldn’t change a single thing.

Whether you are considering leaving your career to work for yourself, or have already left, you are going to experience so many highs and lows. You’ll want to celebrate the highs and will likely consider giving up with the lows are really low. To be honest, there have been many times when I’ve said to myself: “WTF am I doing!?” and I know there will be moments where I say it again. I’ve lied awake at night worrying whether or not I’d be able to pay my bills or keep my business afloat, and I’ve shed many, many tears.

But when you choose to work for yourself, you have to have unshakeable determination and belief in yourself. There are going to be people who question your decision, people who will doubt you and judge you. There are going to be insanely challenging moments that will test your strength — don’t let those moments break you. Remember why you started working for yourself in the first place, and let that push you onward. I am so lucky to have an amazing support system of friends, family members and my significant other who want to see me succeed and who believe in me; I realize not everyone is that lucky.

There are a few things I wish I would have done differently before I left my job that would have made things a bit easier now that I’m on my own (more on that later), but I can’t go back and change that. All I can do is learn from it and use my experiences to help other people through this blog, which is what inspired me to start How She Does It in the first place.

Despite these challenges that come with working for myself, it makes me so happy to do something I’m truly passionate about. I am forever grateful that I get to wake up every morning and work from the comfort of my own home, make my own schedule, and live my life on my on terms. I can’t imagine things any differently now, and made a promise to myself a long time ago that I would do whatever it takes to be my own boss.

xx Elizabeth

If you are an entrepreneur I’d love to hear from you. I’ve been looking for individuals to guest post here to share their experiences about life after leaving their 9-5s. If you’re interested in guest posting, please send me an email at howshedoesitco@gmail.com