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Why I Decided to Leave My Corporate Job

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That awkward moment when I got a masters degree in accounting and my CPA only to do a job that doesn’t require a college education….

“You’re the most practical person I know,” said a friend of mine as we were sipping beers celebrating the purchase of my new car. A Ford Focus SE: small enough to parallel park everywhere, but great on gas and good safety ratings. Yup, that was me. Practical.

I studied hard my whole life. I was valedictorian of my high school class, got a full tuition scholarship to the University of Kentucky, where I was Summa Cum Laude, and got into a top 5 Masters in accounting program in the nation. Then, I bought this car shortly after starting my job in audit at a very competitive Big 4 Accounting firm. My whole life was nothing but practical.


last minute

Flash forward to 2 years later, I had moved in with my boyfriend and transferred to the Cleveland office for work. I was working crazy hours (like 8:30 am until 12:30 am) and hating life. I developed an autoimmune disorder, and it wasn’t unusual to have heart palpitations at least once a day. I was miserable.

I didn’t enjoy my work; everything was always an “emergency.” And I couldn’t go to sleep without waking up to work emails on my phone. I came home crying most nights to Chris, saying I at least needed to make it a couple of more years. It wasn’t until a firm meeting when the people at the top of the company were not planning to hire more people to compensate for the fact we worked so much, I knew. Things had to change. And if it wasn’t going to get better here, I had to leave.

Kat in Quebec City

I started searching the next day.

I applied to tons of jobs. I started the terrible process that is job hunting while trying to stealthily “have doctors appointments” and hope nobody notices you dressed up a bit more for a usual work day. I wasn’t finding much that got me excited, and at one point when I got turned down by a job that I liked, the recruiter said it was because I didn’t seem super interested.

Of course, I never meant to, or even knew, I came across that way, but then it dawned on me. I wasn’t asking about the job specifically because, to me, it was just a job. I do as I’m told and get paid. I wasn’t passionate about it so, in my heart, I really wasn’t that interested in the company’s initiatives. I came home and told Chris about the meeting with my recruiter and he said, “Well, why don’t you do what you really love?” The trouble was defining what that meant…. and the fact that I only had a degree in accounting seemed to really limit my options.

So, finally, I found a good accounting job, and during the interview, one manager asked me, “If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?” And without thinking, or even knowing what I wanted, I blurted out, “to be a professional travel blogger.”

It was that moment, I knew that if this is what I really wanted, why the hell wasn’t I fighting tooth and nail to make this dream a reality?

 


At first, it was my pride blocking me. I have a Masters degree in accounting and I am leaving my education behind to pursue something I didn’t need an education for? Isn’t that a waste of my education? Am I too smart for this? It took me a long time to accept what I really wanted. To let go of the stigmas, the pride, and everything that was mentally blocking me from doing what it is that I love. I had to forge my own path, even if it meant being questioned by others, called crazy, and even knowing that some people are secretly hoping that I fail.

But after that moment, I bought a domain, learned a little code, built a site, and started writing. I didn’t even know what I wanted the blog to be at first but I wanted to write. I wanted my ideas, thoughts, and passion for travel out there for others to see and learn from. I wanted to connect people to travel and learn from those amazing experiences. I wanted to inspire people that travel isn’t scary, and the world becomes a much better place when you meet people who aren’t like you and find common ground. It’s amazing and beautiful. I wanted to share it all.

Chris and Kat on safari in Timbavati, South Africa

Wedding Day Kat and Chris

But I needed a topic. A niche to make my blog stand out.


It was then that I got engaged! It was the most exciting moment of Chris and I’s lives (except for our wedding last month)! I was thrilled to spend our lives together, but with an engagement comes the long, stressful, and expensive process of planning a wedding. The thing that brought me solace during the stress was planning our honeymoon. I was so excited to travel more together. We loved South Africa and our other domestic trips, and I was thrilled to see a new place in the world for both of us.

Then, as I was reading A Practical Wedding, my favorite wedding blog, during lunch at work, I stumbled upon an article about a honeymoon to Morocco. The responses were incredible! People wanted to learn more about adventurous honeymoons and couples travel. I was planning my honeymoon, and I felt so inspired I had ideas flowing everywhere!

So that’s how World Wide Honeymoon was born. I had started travel hacking earlier that year and writing about it and wanted to combine that with couples travel to help people create affordable luxury when it came to their honeymoons or romantic getaways. It’s a niche I’m so passionate about. Love and travel is a gorgeous thing.

The big issue now was balancing a full-time job, wedding planning, and the blog. It was a huge challenge. I worked my normal job from 40-50 hours a week, then came home and worked on the blog about 6-12 hours a week. Wedding planning mainly was snuck in during lunch and evenings I wasn’t blogging. It was a lot. I was stressed out. Not busy season stressed out like before but still stressed. I wanted to give my blog the time it deserved. I wanted to give my customers the undivided attention they deserved. I also wanted to give Chris my time and attention. He was beyond supportive. He was cooking and cleaning and running errands when I had no time to help out.

I knew that now was a perfect time and opportunity to leave my job, take a risk, and try to see where this business and blog of mine goes. I’m so excited to finally do it full time and do the projects I’ve been wanting to do since it started!

Kat and Chris in Camps Bay, South Africa

Girls Weekend and Hayride in Nashville, TN

So why did I leave my corporate job?

Because I had to follow my heart. Yes, I worked my whole life to get into the jobs I had before this. I’m nothing short of thankful for the opportunities and experiences I gained as an accountant. It taught me useful business skills, but it also taught me to be tough. I know hard work because I’ve lived it. I know how to deal with uncomfortable situations because that’s what being an auditor is all about. I made great friends and moved around. I’m so grateful for my time as an accountant and the opportunity and realization that brought me to this moment.

If you’re feeling like you’re crazy because you want to choose a less conventional path, don’t worry. Try to be the best at what you’re passionate about and have the dedication and it will take you far. And always believe in yourself. Success doesn’t come to those who give up and overnight success is a myth. Work hard, take care of yourself, and do what you love. And you’re never too old to learn new skills.

I say this as I think back on my high school yearbook. My future plans included: get my masters in accounting and work at an international accounting firm. I accomplished those things and I’m making a new plan: to be an amazing travel blogger, writer, trip consultant, travel hacker, travel the world with my husband, and encourage others to do the same.

If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?

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Why I decided to leave my Corporate Job

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An Interview with Nomadic Matt - World Wide Honeymoon

Friday 12th of July 2019

[…] my entire career path and actually met the people behind these blogs, learned from them, and started my own blog and business, I would never have believed it. And yet, here we […]

Anna

Thursday 18th of October 2018

You're so brave and I'm sure this story will help others facing the same struggles! I think a lot of us can relate to the idea of accepting "sunk costs" and being willing to pivot and change despite the work we might've already put towards another path. It's like all the speakers kept repeating at TC2018: The best time to plant a tree was five years ago, the second best time is today! Good luck with everything. :)

Kat

Thursday 18th of October 2018

Aww thank you Anna! That is such a great quote, and it is so difficult to completely pivot your life. But if it means doing what you love, it's definitely worth it!

Julia Kowalczyk

Thursday 18th of October 2018

Congrats on taking such a huge step! Can’t wait to see where this journey takes you :)

Kat

Thursday 18th of October 2018

Thank you Julia! It's scary, but hopefully, it pays off in the end!

Lindsey g

Wednesday 17th of October 2018

Congrats on the new career! Being an auditor leaves no time for anything besides work, what a great decision you made to put you passions first. Can’t wait to read more!

Kat

Wednesday 17th of October 2018

Aww thanks Lindsey! Yes I wanted more time to do the things I love and pursue my passion and make a career of that! I’m so excited for the opportunity to do so. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it! I hope you enjoy my stories!

JOE

Wednesday 17th of October 2018

Kat,

It's never easy to stop doing what "you're supposed to do," but when you do it's so much more fulfilling (as you kn0w). Congrats! This was a huge step for me as well and I know how much courage it takes. Ditching the conventional and breaking away from people who only know one way is hard.

Kat

Wednesday 17th of October 2018

Aww thanks Joe! I know it took me a long time to get here but I did it! And it is much more fulfilling! And congrats at being over a year of being location independent!

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