On the Search for Failure

I’ve determined, after seven years, that I’m on the search for failure.

I’m also on the search for success. Grand success. Maybe not the kind of success that allows me fancy cars and houses across the globe, but success that allows me the items I desire: helping others; living comfortably, without worrying about paying bills, or deciding if buying underwear is more of a priority than groceries, as an example; being able to help my family reach that same level of comfortable; traveling when I want and to where ever I want; less stress and more health.

No where in there am I striving to amass a great wealth. I do want to be secure for my future, should I be fortunate to live to my 99th birthday, but again, I want the security in the points above.

For around a month or so, I’ve mentioned closing the custom & wedding side of S2 Stationery and Design. And I have. October 1st, closed that door. And I’m glad it has been closed. It’s left me with time to really focus on the things I want to focus on and most importantly plan for the ways I want to grow S2.

I’m no where near complete on my goals. They’re evolving and every time I write one down, another comes to me later. Not to mention, I have other things that pop up and show up and steer my path a different way, which I know shifts my goals a bit more.

This past weekend, I found myself discussing with very good friends my goals for both my business and personal life. We discussed pregnancy and relationships. We discussed it all honestly. What sticks from the two conversations was the statement I said several times in both:

I’m never going to be happy until I actually fail. Until, I can say, I did the best I could with the stationery and I failed and it’s time for me to be an adult and stop following this dream.

Chances are, I’m not going to fail. I know in my heart that what I’m doing is what I’m suppose to be doing. I know it’s hard to explain and for those who aren’t like-minded to understand or even begin to fathom, but I’m not going to fail. Mostly because I don’t see failing as a bad thing. I think even in the things that don’t go right, or that crash and burn, or realize that something I felt so strongly about doesn’t work any more and needs to be revamped or cancelled or changed, there is opportunity. There is growth. This is the natural flow of life.

I’m sure I will fail in little ways as this dream continues, but I wouldn’t quite say that this journey has been a failure thus far.

It is this reason that I struggle now. That I’ve been struggling for the past three years since returning from Japan. It is why, I’ve allowed myself to fall into this abyss of uncertainty and comfortable, yet uncomfortable, discomfort while working a job I don’t like and going through the motions of living a life that isn’t doing anything for me or my goals.

I have good friends at my job, I have made great connections and I’ve allowed myself to believe that I need this backup because at one time, I did. And I’m sure I need this backup a little bit longer, too, but the reality is that until I let go of the backup, I’m never really going to fail and because I’ve yet to really “fail,” I’m going to continue to stay annoyed and in this uncertain abyss because this doesn’t make me happy. This doesn’t make me motivated to grow or change or fail.

And so, all of this has led me back to the point of origin for S2 Stationery & Design. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to get back to the root – to the dream that launched this business idea and company seven years ago. Once that’s in order, I’m adding the passion project that I believe will be my legacy.

Once these things are ironed out, I’m sure my future will look bright, my pockets will be as well, and I’ll be living a life where failure isn’t something I’m seeking, it’s something I’m staring at and saying, “hello, where are you taking me next?”

I can’t wait to share all of this with you!

 

“When I get married, I’m totally having you do my invites.” – Why I’m Changing the Business Offerings of S2 Stationery & Design + When

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An advertisement I snapped a picture of just before leaving Japan in January, 2013. That was 3.5 years ago and this sign seems more relevant now than it did the day I took the photo.

I’ve been running S2 Stationery & Design for over seven years now.

Yep, you read that correct, SEVEN YEARS!!

And it’s time for a change.

You already know the story, the idea for S2 came to me while traveling around Italy a month after my father’s death in 2009. It was a series of signs that came to me and then a dream that resulted in this dance I’ve been doing since. A dance that has turned into a full-fledged and non-stop Merengue (the kind where you’re left gasping and wondering when the damn song is going to end) in 2012.

There are moments where I honestly believe that I’ve worked my ass off to get to this point. Then, there are moments where I don’t believe I’ve worked my ass off to get this point. Those moments are the most difficult. Those are the days and nights where I struggle to sleep because I don’t have enough money to pay this bill or do that thing with my friends, or to pay back someone I borrowed money from a few weeks prior. It is exhausting and I wonder if I should at that point pack it in and be an adult – find a 9-to-5 job that pays me well enough to stop the stress. Those are the nights that have and continue to leave me feeling stuck.

People like me love to talk about following their passions. As they should. We are following our passions that come across as outrageous and/or out-of-the-box, and that anyone who is looking for stability wouldn’t understand. What I’m doing is not for the faint of heart, but nothing about following your passion is glamorous or inspiring for that matter. That last point often gets glossed over when people choose to deal with the awe of tossing common sense for a passion.

Following my passion, has required me to become comfortable with asking for help (which I rarely did before), saying no (even to people I love the most), feeling lonely (I barely go out any more), gaining weight (stress beats the shit out of your body), and living in a space of doubt, so much doubt, that I’m continuously uncertain of my accomplishments.

Something that people who talk about following their passions never really discuss is the sticky space of what happens when, like me, you don’t have thousands of dollars saved up and have to work a job to help bring in money so that you can survive and afford the basic necessities. There are so many people, gurus of this “follow your passion” movement, who have taken office jobs to save money and then quit. They talk about this as though it’s a temporary solution that is magical. And it may have been for them, but as someone who has sat in this space for a while now, it’s killing me.

I found my current 9-to-6 job at a point where what I was doing was not working. Where I was bouncing from lots of part-time jobs that kept me from focusing on S2 Stationery and had me resent my decision to quit my job. Let me be a bit more clear -I was resenting the loss of the steady income I no longer had, not the job itself. Working for the last company I worked for was not all that pleasant and I know I made the right decision by leaving.

I know this sounds dramatic, but I feel the same way I felt a few years ago when I was working for a big corporation in NYC. While I haven’t reached the point of crying for the 30-minute duration of my commute, the unhappiness has resulted in overeating, not exercising, not wanting to get up in the morning early enough to do work I need to get done for S2, etc. And I’m fed up with it. Honestly, I’ve been daydreaming about quitting and all the ways it can happen.

Now, the part of me that wants to maintain my car and apartment, fight this and that’s why I do eventually get up and get dressed and go to work. And that part reminds me that I need to motivate myself and do the work that I need to do. And this same part reminds me that it’s time to create goal deadlines to get out of this situation.

All of this leads me to changes…and you may be thinking that you’ve gotten to this point and still don’t understand the quoted bit in the post’s title, “When I get married, I’m totally having you do my invites.”  Let me explain…

When I started S2, I was a diehard fan of creating wedding invites. I wanted to spend a ton of my time working with brides and catering to their needs and whims in a design capacity. I have been told so many times, I’ve lost count, the quote above, and finally after seven years, I’ve decided that I don’t want to hear it any more. Primarily because it’s not true. Every single person who has made that statement has in fact, not used my design for their wedding, nor have they even reached out.

Now, before you accuse me of sounding bitter, note that I’m not. I’m actually quite gleeful that I’m shutting down the wedding invitation design side of S2 Stationery & Design. In fact, I’m shutting down a lot of the custom design business. And I’m quite glad.

It’s been seven years since I started this journey and while I’ve enjoyed every single customer I’ve worked for and every single project I’ve commissioned, as I take stock of both myself personally and my business professionally, I’m letting go of the things that are not worth my time. I’m saying, “NO!” to the stuff that isn’t fulfilling me anymore. I’m saying no to even the thought of a promise that isn’t there.

The next stage of S2 is taking shape and has been vaguely discussed in other posts that I haven’t followed up on, and is being ironed out now, but there is still a ways to go. I’m sure I’ll do some commissioned work and maybe even the occasional wedding invite during this time (I’ve had a few people say, “crap, but I really did plan on using you when the day came!), especially if it is aligned with the work I’m transitioning to, but I’m no longer holding out on promises and work that does not nourish me or my creative pursuits.  This isn’t about the money, or lack there of, either. No, this is about the nourishment. Finally! Right now, the nourishment is found elsewhere and I’m excited for this change.

I’m finalizing some creative projects now, but in Quarter 4, starting October 1st, S2 is moving away from the custom work you’ve known. I’ll still be making stationery sets and individual greeting cards. I’ll still have these wares at markets, but the real work – the work my soul has been longing for the past two years begins. I’ll do my best to keep you up-to-date in a more consistent fashion as things change over.

More soon!

On Speaking My Mind – An Important Business and Personal Lesson

I’ve had blog posts scheduled that I’ve ignored. I’ve started blogs and let them fall to the wayside. Let’s be real, my enjoyment in writing this blog has dwindled. It has a lot to do with making time for it. Also, I wonder about my content. Is it even interesting?

My life hasn’t really been what anyone would call exciting these past few years. I’ve had some great experiences and opportunities. I have a dazzling niece who takes up a ton of my love and time. I’ve gotten to know some interesting dogs and reconnected with friends. I’ve even lost some friends. This past week alone, I blocked and removed friends from Facebook; I also removed them from my address books in my email, phone, and paper address book.  (I’m not sharing this for validation or even as a way to celebrate losing friends. Every loss has been painful. No, it’s a way to show that sometimes in order to clear things up and gain clarity, you have to remove it all.)

Four years ago at this time, I had moved in with family to save money and was an intern at Etsy’s headquarters in Brooklyn. I was eying flights to Japan with a pit stop in Turkey. I had no idea what was going to happen, but I was full of doubt and I went with my desire and heart and leapt. 2012 was a year of a lot of heartache, doubt, silence, self, and love.

Four years later, I find myself in a situation almost similar. The only difference is that I don’t have savings to use to travel for an extended period of time. I do have my sense of adventure though. When I say, that 2016 and 2012 are similar, I’m comparing the idea of doubt in my life.

Doubt is a funny little feeling. It can be paralyzing, yet inspiring. Whenever I feel him come along, I try to embrace him and share with him the surprises that are in store. Many times, that doesn’t do much. In fact, he decides that I’m not listening, throws a tantrum and sends me a nice big dose of anxiety. I’d rather deal with doubt without his friend anxiety, but you know, anxiety does make a big fuss.

Last week, I shared a post on Facebook. To many it was harsh and rude and lacking compassion. It garnered a handful of comments that were rude and mean. I get it, what you put out comes back to you. However, it was something that spun completely out of control for no real reason. It was an opinion. A simple opinion and it ended up being an scrape with puss oozing in globs. It required a ton of damage control that I don’t think I provided very well and eventually resulted in me changing the settings so that only I can see the post, blocking several individuals who had left the most offensive comments and then the removal of the person who not only [I felt] overreacted to my post, but brought all of her friends who felt the need to troll my page. I also made all of my accounts private. Which didn’t do much because after blocking one particular troll, I received an email through my stationery website, from that person, that was just as rude as his previous comments on facebook. After writing something quickly in response, I opted to delete my message, thereby not responding and sharing my email address with them. I chose to let it be.

Since that day, I have been relatively quiet. I have chosen to share a small amount of things. I am “liking” more than posting. I’ve stopped almost (a few slip out here and there) all of my political commentary. I did email one person who had left a comment, who is a friend of mine, explaining my post and apologizing to her if I had offended her. She and I had a pretty good exchange that left me feeling better about the situation over all.

Through this all, I have debated with myself about my reasoning. Is it because I was burned? Am I embarrassed? Does this even matter? Why am I doubting myself? My voice? Does this incident require me to dim myself? What am I really trying to prove? How will this effect me down the road? Do I need to change things?

In the end, I’m sure it does not and yet I am doubtful in my voice, thoughts, and whether they should be shared. My thoughts have always been a bit off. They are definitely not in favor of most people’s views and I’ve always been okay with that. But do I really want to be on the receiving end of vitriol because people disagree?

Nothing that I said will matter on the particular issue I wrote about. I felt the way I felt. I shared what I felt. Rude comments did not change that and will not change those feelings. I’m entitled to those feelings. But did I have to share them? Why did I feel so comfortable sharing those feelings in the first place?

We live in a culture now where everyone speaks their mind without much thought. We speak so easily, even if it hurts someone else. We have Presidential candidates who are considered different because they are spewing their thoughts without much mind. We are spreading these feelings and thanks to technology, the ease in which to spread them are vast and quick.

I have for a few weeks been considering giving up my smart phone for a flip phone instead. (2007 is calling me big time!) I’ve seriously considered doing away with credit card payments as a market option – cash only, please! I deleted the facebook app from my phone to avoid spending more time on this tool that is more of a time suck than anything else. I’m also toying with the idea of a complete deactivation from facebook.  In other words, I’ve been seeking ways to get back to my “Walden.”

Maybe that is why my lesson last week was so important. It reminds me glaringly that the way I’ve been using social media, facebook in particular, is not aligned with the life I want to lead. My life is hardly rainbows and pots of gold and to use social media to project that would be unfair and a lie and not aligned with my values, but maybe, just maybe, it is okay to revert?

I base a lot on values. On my values, for sure, and to a degree, on your values. My business and business ideas are based on my values. This will never change. I care about the environment. I care about women right to choose. I care about your freedom and mine. I care about the people of the world, and increasingly on the animals in the natural world. I care about our politics and the future of our political system. I care about it all. And I’m working on it all (some more passionately than others), including myself. I cannot entirely hide and I will need my thick skin as I move forward with a project that will definitely be attacked, but maybe this whole situation was a necessary bruise to get me prepared for things that I need to care more and be more brave about? I’m sure it is, in fact.

I am hardly perfect. I doubt I ever will be. I will always apologize when I’m in the wrong. I will always attempt to listen to you and make better choices and hear your pain and needs and wants. I will also always have my opinions. I may choose to not share them. Maybe you will, too?  Maybe you and I will become comfortable with my silence?

 

 

Launching “S2 Awareness Projects” – Stationery for Social Change

When I started S2 Stationery & Design six years ago, I wanted to work with paper and share that love of paper with the World! I wanted to also share my love of writing and importance of letters, words and sincere sentiment. I didn’t realize how quite difficult that would be.

See, there are people like me, the kind who love, absolutely love everything about paper. They love cards of all kinds – witty, snarky, funny, emotional, handmade, etc. They also love beautiful things – design, paper, quality – and don’t mind paying a higher price for that experience and they want to share that experience with their loved ones. Then there are the other people – the kind that may love paper, but they definitely don’t like paying over $2.00 for a card. They also don’t care about the design details – the elements that make them stand out. These are the people that may shop at Target and CVS for their cards. They may not be writers, but they on occasion like to send out a card to a loved one. This group also likes to send out photograph cards at the Holidays that they order online and spend maybe less than a dollar per card.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve mailed out Holiday photo cards before, especially after a big international trip. They’re fun. But they’re also impersonal. That being said, one of the similarities I find between the two groups of people above is that they both suffer from not having enough time and/or good enough reason to write. Everyone loves getting handwritten cards and notes in the mail, regardless of the paper quality, but nobody has the time to write said cards and notes. So we end up with a group of people that are both admirers to a degree, but have no way of connecting, nor motivation to connect outside of modern technology – email, text, Snapchat, WhatsApp, and whatever new app has appeared.

In the end, people want to connect. They are dying to connect. Many people are hurting because they cannot connect. They feel too stressed, endlessly busy, pressured to conform, and an entire host of other ailments and they connect in a not-so-connected way. I wanted to fix that. I wanted to swirl into the Stationery Town like the Tazmanian Devil (I admit, I’m kind of that way) and shake the Town down to it’s core with my fine papers and envelopes and stationery sets. I wanted to help connect people and make a living doing that and then proudly wave the banner of success to everyone. To some degree I have, but to many degrees I have not.

Six years that have included a trip to Japan to learn paper making, quitting more than a few jobs, almost losing my apartment and car one too many times to count, asking friends for way more help than I’ve done ever, learning to appreciate all that I have and not focus on all that I don’t, losing some friends in the process, becoming more comfortable with me time and saying no, working from more Starbucks than I’d like because of free wifi, constantly being on the yo-yo of doubting myself for these decisions and then loving them, sleeping way too much than I should, gaining more weight than I’m comfortable with, taking a month to care for my almost-two-year-old niece, constantly being inspired and creating new products, and I’m sure quite a few more things that I’m forgetting to mention, I’m taking a detour on this Stationery train ride and I’m taking a long stop in an area that I’d equate to the Mid-west of America. Which is quite appropriate given that as an 11 year old, my family moved from NYC to Ohio to allow my brother and I a chance at a normal childhood that was safe. (It makes sense to me and will to you as this rolls out.)

Where I’m headed project wise is NOT safe. And I’ll never be my 11-year-old-self again, but I’m slowing down all the engines to focus on one project and making sure that it works well and that it does what I think the world needs, connect us to those we love most and even those we don’t love, but who we could stand to love and appreciate more.

S2 Stationery is my heart. It will always be in the picture. (It is not going anywhere – the Etsy shop with the handmade papers and stationery sets will remain during this break – it just will not be the main focus.) This business courses through my veins. It makes me happy and sad; frustrated and joyful. If I ever had a life purpose this is it. However, as with all things, sometimes you need a break – you need to step away from things, see the big picture and move forward, even if that is a leap and it is scary. The things that matter the most do inspire fear, but they also create great things.

Without further ado, allow me to introduce you all to S2 Awareness Projects!

S2 Awareness Projects combines stationery, politics (to a degree) and social justice.  S2 Awareness Projects share the topics and conflicts that makes S2, aka Sara Stroman, tick to make changes. These are the things that others care about, but often aren’t sure how to go about them. S2 Awareness Projects help you share your feelings, thoughts, and inspire you into written action. (We hope!) S2 Awareness Projects are transparent and will 100% of the time will raise money to donate to the cause inspiring the project and make donations on your behalf. S2 Awareness Projects is a way to make a difference, connect us and our differences and raise our voices without raising our pitchforks and/or guns.

Some, if not many, will not always agree with me or my values, but I’m willing to risk that for this project. In the end, my values and your values don’t have to be the same and if they’re not, you’re welcome to go elsewhere, however, that is not the point of this project – I want to bring people together, not tear them apart. If you’re not willing to be open-minded or hearted, this project is not for you. As much as this is a risk for me, it is a risk for you – you may grow from this project and that is always risky business.

The official slogan of S2 Awareness Projects is: “Often times, we think our differences are larger than they really are. I’m interested in finding that space and opening your heart to the similarities. By all means, your story IS your story, but that doesn’t mean you’re all that much different than me, or the person next to you. Let’s find those spaces and talk about them and make a difference, together.”

Tomorrow in this space and on Etsy and social media outlets (facebook, instagram and twitter), I’ll be announcing the first S2 Awareness Project.  Hopefully, you’ll be excited about this as much as I am.

Until, Tomorrow!

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S2 Gives Away!

In time for the Holidays, and to help you decorate your Thanksgiving table this coming November, S2 Stationery & Design is participating in a giveaway as part of the EtsyNY Team.  S2 Stationery and Design is being featured as an Artisan on the blog and to complete the article, I’m giving away three (3) sets of my “Thankful” Paper Placemats.

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You can read more about me and the giveaway on the blog, but to enter the giveaway, all you need do it leave a comment on the blog, or like the S2 Stationery & Design Facebook Page. That’s right, simple, easy, and you get a chance to win some beautiful paper placemats that not only decorate your table, but are a keepsake for your family and friends.

You can find all the information on the EtsyNY Team Blog.  Good luck to everyone who enters! Please, feel free to share the giveaway with your friends. These placemats should spread joy and cheer and love this coming Holiday Season!

A Couple Gets Married Today! (And Why I Love Weddings)

I love weddings. I always have.

When I was young, say 20 years young than I am now, I used to devour Martha Stewart Weddings Magazines. I’m serious. I ripped out pages of dresses, flowers, cakes, invitations, and lets be honest, anything else I thought was pretty, or cute, or that I would one day want at my own wedding.

Let that soak in for a minute, please.

At the age of 13, I was already planning my fantasy, Disney-esque wedding, complete with the domestic goddess, Martha Stewart’s blessing.  In other words, I was that girl. The girl that men are advised to not marry now. The ones that seem to only want to get married to have a wedding.

Now, while this may seem a bit crazy, it was fun. It was a lot of fun to be a 13 year old gal dreaming and planning her future wedding. And I suppose it makes all the more sense now that as a 33 year old single woman, who hasn’t had her fantasy wedding (please note, my idea of my wedding now is much different than then!), I have fun helping brides plan their own weddings via their invitations.

The road to owning my own stationery company has been largely based on custom orders. Since the beginning, I have had the pleasure to work with various clients, who I have gotten to know and love. Some of them have become friends through the process. For example, I had one client who asked me to dog/apartment sit for them while they went out of town for a weekend. I did it without any problems, mostly because it allowed me to finish their order and leave it for them on their table ready to address and mail out. That’s the kind of service I like to provide. Happy customers equal happy Sara and happy business.

I could easily regale you with more stories like the one above from past clients, but I won’t. Instead I want to share a couple who are getting married today, Friday, September 19th in a town I spent many years of my youth – Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

The Bride is someone I knew in high school. We had several AP classes together. Thanks to Facebook, we were able to reconnect in the way that many of us do now. When she got engaged, I announced via Facebook that I had quit my job and was going down the path of full-time entrepreneurship. She contacted me via Facebook message almost immediately to ask if we could talk about wedding invitations.

Earlier this year, in February when I drove to Chicago for my good friend’s wedding, I was able to sit down with the Bride and Groom to hand deliver their save the date announcements and talk ideas for wedding invitations. It was a productive meeting, but it was also the first time I had seen the Bride, Natosha, since our graduation day in 1998. It really felt like time had not passed.  As I sat next to the couple and watched their interaction, I knew that they were not only a good match, but that their lives together were going to be fun and full of love.

My work with Natosha was mostly done via text and email, with a few phone conversations in between, but I think the end result was worth all the communication.  From a save the date announcement card to the wedding invitation and then program and seating chart board, what we created together came out beautifully and stands as one of my favorite collections this year.

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I am so excited for Natosha and Eric as they celebrate their union today!  It was such an honor to work with them and as I told her it is such pride and pleasure and happiness that I am able to be there as part of their lives through my stationery pieces. This is what I do, and every piece is my little way of having an impact and sharing/spreading love with not just my clients, but all the people that they hold near and dear. That’s some serious love spreading! Huzzah!

Congrats again Natosha & Eric! S2 wishes you many, many, many years together of health, happiness, and snugly love. 

“I Quit My Job, Again!” – When Values Don’t Align With The Work Your Doing

I have been sitting on this post for a while now. I’m not sure why. I think it’s mostly because I’ve been wallowing and trying to identify what to do next and how to pay bills that need to be paid sooner than later.

For those of you who don’t know, I quit my job (of less than a year) earlier this year. In January, to be exact. It wasn’t that big of a deal, yet it was. It required me saying goodbye to the very reason that brought me to New Jersey, although I think there was another reason, but that’s a topic for a later day.

I’ve quit jobs before and have always moved on to bigger and better things and this leave was along the same lines. I have moved on to bigger and better things, although many days it leaves me in a panic and other days, I wonder if I’ve set myself up for failure because my success isn’t happening as quickly as I’d like it. It almost always ebbs when I remember my days sitting in that space wanting to strangle myself and I think, “Thank GOD, I left that place!”

Recalling my reasons for leaving and my sense of fulfillment and dread allow me to live in the present. I know it seems a bit backwards, but there is some truth in recalling the past to bring about gratitude. It also gives me perspective on my reasons for not wanting to work for another company possibly ever again, and my hunger to make S2 and my own growth real and viable.

There are many blog articles on the topic of quitting a job and values and success and here I’m going to add my perspective to the mix. It is true. It is all true. It may be a bit different depending on the person and the experience, but your values are deeply connected to your success. Everyone wants to follow their dream and pursue their passions, and they can as long as they pay heed to their values.

Values are the things your parents and grandparents taught you. They are those little reminders that your gut throws at you when you’re embarking on something. They are what gives you pause, and send you forward. Values don’t necessarily have anything to do with religion or ethnic background. They have everything to do with how you react to the events going on around and inside you as well as your treatment of what is around you during those times. Values have as much to do with how you view an article of clothing, a piece a trash, to how you treat an animal crossing the road and the homeless man/woman begging for money as you walk by. Values also have to do with whether you return the extra money when the cashier is incorrect and whether or not you hold the door for the person behind you or walking out as you get ready to walk in.

Now, I’m not perfect in any way. I yell at people in my car. I curse them out too. Telemarketers almost never receive a calm and fun phone conversation with me. And yet, when I’m about to go off, I tell the person on the other line, “I know this isn’t your fault, but I’m frustrated. It doesn’t allow what I’m about to do, but please know this isn’t personal.” Again, I’m not perfect, but I have values. I feel remorse in many cases where I reacted badly. I want to help the homeless person. In fact, there have been days where I have $2 to my name and I give the homeless man/woman a dollar. I don’t do this to feel better, I do it because it reminds me there are people who don’t have; where as I may be in a state of flux and serious concern, I’m not on the street and that person deserves to feel some sense of hope and care.

How does all of this have anything to do with quitting my job? It’s simple, really. I quit my job because I had different values than those of my bosses. When I think about it, many times I’ve quit my job because my values were different than that of my boss(es). In some cases, that value was monetary, but in most cases it was the quality of the life I was living and the impact I was making not just for me, but for the greater World.

One of the biggest reasons for quitting my most recent job had to do with the wedding of a really good friend of mine. One of my best friends, actually. That wedding coincided with The Super Bowl in the NJ/NY area and one of the largest gift shows in New York City. I knew given past experiences that my bosses were not going to be okay with me not being there for the beginning of the show because of a wedding. In fact, I knew that a “your priorities aren’t in order” conversation would happen, again and it would be thrown in my face that I was being paid “much more money” than anyone else. I simply did not want to hear it. Again. Ever. As I told them once in a conversation, “my friends and family come before work, always.” (Something they can not and will not understand ever, because their business is built around their extramarital relationship.) And so, Without any real hesitation (and after several weeks and months (I had been considering quitting after six months of employment with them) of considering my decision), I quit. I gave a three week notice and my last day was on January 30th. It was refreshing; not to mention the Universe kept throwing me signs that I could take this road. The day after my last day, I drove to Chicago for a wedding in a bloody snow storm. It was liberating, exhausting, and exactly what I needed to heal my soul and my values.

I haven’t looked back; I haven’t wished I were back there and I most definitely know in my heart of hearts that I did the right thing. Leaving a job (because it was never a career) where you sit in the basement of a house where your two bosses are “playing house” with poor internet connection and no natural light, was the right thing to do. As I kept reminding myself as I prepared to tell them I was quitting, “Sara, you didn’t quit one job where you received employee benefits and worked normal hours to go work in a dungeon where you were expected to put in 10 hour days, not make a noise, and feel miserable.”

I share the details of the situation because it’s important to know why values are so important. Why my values are shaping my current (and future) work situation. Many times people feel like they have no choice; as though they have to stay in a horrible situation even if their soul is dying. No one should ever sacrifice who they are for money. Ever. Yes, we need money. Yes, money gives us security, but the truth is it doesn’t. There will always be more money we can make, or more things we can (and feel the need) to buy. Now, I’m not suggesting everyone quit their jobs now because they’re not happy. What I am suggesting though, is that everyone take stock of their values and desires in life and compare whether they are being met in their current job situation. If they’re not then an exit strategy should be figured out. Sooner rather than later.

You’ll be fine when you take the step toward your values. In fact, the entire World might be more than fine if we all conscientiously took a step toward our values and did the work we were meant to do. It might be hard at first, but as my wonderful mother told me while I was in tears a few nights ago, “Sara, you’re following your heart and while that’s a difficult road, you’ll be better off for it.”