My Escape From Cubicle Nation

me, very unhappy on the job.

I quit my corporate job to follow my heart into the unknown ...

I had a 10k loan with no plan and no vision of what I was going to build. All I knew is that I had to get out.

It all started when my husband Alex and I decided to buy a house but my freelance magazine design business wasn't pulling in enough money so I needed to find a "real job." 

I was offered a position with the California State Assembly as a graphic designer. It was a 180 from what I had been doing but I was desperate and the people were nice. I told myself it was temporary and I'd only be there long enough for us to buy a house and get on our feet.

It was all the things a "real job" should be. A steady pay check, better than average benefits, a private DMV in our building and a cafeteria I could use anytime I wanted. I was making good money and life was comfortable. So why did I feel so alone and depressed?


PLOTTING my escape plan on the bleachers

On my lunch breaks I'd escape the uninspiring design work, gray cubicles, dreaded meetings, and blinking florescent lights and walk to a nearby deli.

I'd order a bagel sandwich with a bag of chips and take it to the park across the street. There I'd sit on the bleachers envious of the sweaty people playing soccer in the sun. I spent countless hours on those bleachers hatching my escape plan.

Below are some journal entries I wrote two years into the job feeling totally hopeless:

  1. I've been at this job for 2 years. Two years filled with mixed emotions, mostly negative. After many discussions I’ve decided that it would be best for me to try and go part-time so that I could focus on other financial pursuits that might even feed my soul.

  2. Well, I finally mustered the courage to talk to my boss on Monday and I told him what I wanted to do. I think I knew as soon as I asked what the answer would be.

  3. It took them three days to respond to my request and as I suspected the answer was NO. Without any explanation other than "if we give it to you everyone else will want it too." I felt like a child being slapped on the hand and being sent to my room.

  4. I'm very disappointed and I realize that I have figure out what my plan B will be?


It took a year after that journal entry to find the courage to quit because I was scared.

Scared of not knowing what I would do next?

Scared of not making any money and not being able to pay my bills?

Scared of what my family would think?

Scared of throwing away a "good paying job" just because I wasn't happy?


But here's what I realized: life's too short to be miserable and dread the day in front of you.

That job, the environment, the work - it changed me. I felt a darkness I’d never felt before and a desperate sadness inside.

Everyday I felt like a fake and a liar because I wasn't being true to myself and my beliefs. I was settling for subpar work that was killing the creative fire inside of me.

And when I tried to ignore or shove those feelings down my body fought back. I was so stressed out I started getting cystic acne on a regular basis. The cysts were big and painful and each one would have to be injected with a steroid shot. Working a 9 - 5 schedule I had to go on my lunch hour but my dermatologist was a half hour away. So I would rush to my car, drive as fast as possible, get the shot, and rush back. It was emotionally painful and exhausting.

It was about this time I had had enough. I was finally ready to ditch my blazers for vintage dashiki dresses. All I had was a 10k loan + the support of Alex and it was all I needed. 


The day I walked out I felt as though a 5000 lb weight had been lifted from my head and heart. I was so excited I literally ran to my unknown future.

Brand Designer

Looking back now, almost 5 years later, I have few regrets. I have a business that feeds my creativity and I wake up excited because there are endless possibilities. I have the power to make it be whatever I want it to be.

The best part is that I get to work with women who are as passionate about their businesses as I am.

Was it all smooth sailing? Hell no. It wasn't then and it isn't now! Would I recommend you up and quit with no plan and just a loan? No.

But here's what I do recommend:

  • Read this book Escape From Cubicle Nation it helped me.

  • Find a life coach to help you make a tactical plan about what you want to do moving forward with action steps.

  • Save as much money as you can (enough to survive for at least a year) and avoid taking out loans or credit cards. Both of which I did and I'm still paying back that money. #regrets

  • Trust your MIGHTY within - only you know what is best for you.

Real Transformation Is A Journey That Never Ends

It all started that day I went to quit the gym.As I stood there feeling like a complete failure about to sign the paperwork I happened to look up …

I saw two women working out and chatting casually while they moved through the weight room.

The confidence and strength they radiated resonated deep inside me. I realized in that moment I didn't want to QUIT I wanted what they had.

One of the women was a personal trainer named Danielle and I was told she was the best. So I got her information and stalked (I mean followed) her on social media. I could tell by the things she was posting that our philosophies aligned and my gut said she's the one! So I contacted her and we started working together the next week. 


I had grand visions of this new killer body  — muscles popping and an ass like Jessica Biel. I figured it'd take a few months of barreling through the program and then I'd be good to go.

HAHAHAHA!

Truth is, I was clueless about what I was in for and I quickly learned that real transformation is fucking hard and it happens slowly and it's not just about food and exercise.

It's also about PAIN (physical, mental, and emotional). It's about exhaustion, frustration, addiction, insecurities, and vulnerabilities. Every issue I've ever had came bubbling to the surface and I had to start owning my b.s., my stories, my everything.

I was going from a desk-job-Netflix-couch-potato to a 6 day a week active person with an entirely new and foreign diet. I was uncomfortable and I wasn't comfortable with that. 

Everyday I was sore, exhausted and I felt heavy and weak. Moving my body felt like pushing around a barrel of bricks. It was physically painful and frustrating everyday. 

Then came the hardest part: food and drinks — which is 80% of any body transformation. I never knew how emotionally attached I was to my favorite foods until I had to give them up (temporarily). I kept slipping and going back to my old habits and I would get so angry with myself for not being "strong enough" to resist and stay on track. It was (and still is) hard.

And then one average day while in the grind something changed.

I stopped thinking about my "killer body" and the big transformation and started noticing all the little transformations that were happening everyday.

Like my eyes looking alive and my body feeling stronger. Seeing little muscles in my shoulders I never knew existed. My face thinning down and the double chin getting better. I finally got a handle on what foods energized me and what foods drained me. 

Unconsciously I stopped worrying about what I had lost or gained because I finally realized this is a life-long process. There will be days (even weeks or months) where I'm "off" but I don't let that stop me anymore. I just get back to it.

Because ...

Real transformation is a journey that never ends.

It's ugly and hard and beautiful but there is no end result.

It's the daily grind of your actions.

It's waking up early in the cold dark mornings and getting out from under your warm blankets.

It's saying no thank you because you're committed to something bigger.

It's realizing that you may never have Jessica Biel's ass but that's A-OK.

What To Do When A Client Changes Direction

Being Boss podcast mug

What to do when a client tells you they've gone in a different direction.

And no matter where you're at on your entrepreneurial path at some point, it will happen.

It happened to me and it stung. Even though the client told me they loved working with me and the work I did for them I still got upset. 

Don't get me wrong I understand that we grow, we evolve, we change. No hard feelings.

But this was a difficult job that I worked overtime on (for free) trying to please my client. And instead of standing up for my creative decisions I kept making revision after revision after revision in the hopes that she would pick one. 

I became apathetic and that is the LAST thing you want to feel as a designer.

But it can be hard to stand up for our creative decisions. Especially when someone else is saying they're no good.

This is where trust comes in. 

You need to trust your client and your client needs to trust you.

A good way to start building trust is to communicate expectations on both sides before you start working together. Know the parameters and abide by them. If you have a set amount of revisions stick to it.

Whether your client has an idea of what they want or not they hired you - the designer to help guide them on this branding path. So more than anything you need to trust yourself.

As the designer it's your job to create a brand that is cohesive. Even if it involves an uncomfortable conversation or two. It's up to you to communicate why something works and why it doesn't. 

Don't give-in because you're afraid of displeasing your client. That's not going to help them or you!

Instead, be the designer and expert you are.

They hired you for a reason. Talk to them, be honest, be real. Communicate, communicate, communicate. So if they do decide to go in a "different direction" you'll know you did everything you could. 


Check yourself list:

  1. Don't be afraid to speak your mind - that's why they hired you.

  2. Be crystal clear in your decisions and communicate them often.

  3. Don't give in just to please your client.