Leaving Your Corporate Job for Your Passion

I never hated my corporate job.

I loved the people. The precise 9-5 schedule was a dream. Walking the downtown streets amongst high-end business life hustle made me feel like someone, even though I was really just a number. I had a title, salary, and I could say I worked inside the walls and secrets of Target Corporation, the retailer everyone loves.

But none of those things matter when you come home at night with zero satisfaction. Zero purpose, and zero vision. Those feelings had been around for a long time. Before Target, I was a pharmaceutical and medical device sales rep for 6 years. It was a “golden handcuffs” kind of job, until the morals and ethics of it all became too much for me to handle. This was the point at which I started digging out from underneath the artificial layers that were defining me. And this was the point I started finding myself in the kitchen.

No matter what great development I was part of, or how many xyz we sold, I didn’t feel an ounce of passion flowing through my veins. But spending a Saturday morning at the farmers market, picking out fresh produce from people who worked so damn hard to feed us, and turning that into something beautiful and nourishing, that brought me so much joy I couldn’t contain it. At which point I started to write, photograph, and share with others through this thing called a blog. Heartbeet Kitchen became my self-expression, my passion project.

I had a corporate life on the weekdays and creative life on the nights and weekends. And I started to feel limited. There was a pit in my stomach, and the heavy weight of my heart pulled between staying on “the path I should be living” and the unpaved, windy road to fulfillment.

Maybe. There’s never certainty that life is greener on the other side. But the ultimate turning point was understanding I couldn’t know that answer unless I left and gave everything I had to share my story with the world, and capturing it visually and emotionally. It felt strange to think I could make a career out of that, but something inside told me I could. People were listening,  even as a small fish in an Atlantic Ocean size blogging world. And my true aspirations were to create a funnel of skills that would diversify me.

I didn’t leave abruptly. It was something I worked on for over a year, building clientele, dipping my toes in the water of negotiations, contracts, and selling myself. I worked on the foundation of my brand, Heartbeet Kitchen, and growing my photography skills.

I remember driving home from my last day at Target and being simultaneously scared and happy as hell. I had no idea what the next six months would look like, nor that I could be living as I do now, providing for myself by doing what I love. Every damn day.

And at the same time, I work harder and longer than I ever did, in any corporate job. The fulfillment is far beyond what I even knew existed, which doesn’t make it feel like work at all. In fact, I think that’s why I sometimes have a hard time explaining “my job” to people. Now that’s not to say balance isn’t a battle I continually fight. As the nature of my work is strongly rooted in social media, I certainly feel the need to keep up and stay connected.  But one of the things I’ve done lately is to remind myself that in order to create, one must leave distractions.

Amanda is a writer, photographer, and food stylist in St. Paul. Through her blog, Heartbeet Kitchen, she shares modern, seasonal recipes and sometimes deeper ponderings about life, health, and travel. She’s passionate about cooking like she doesn’t have to clean, sharing the table with others, and cats. Any and all of them.


  • I have always admired Amanda’s gift in the kitchen but this honest and eloquent article gives another point of appreciation. I’m nodding my head at the fulfillment of the unpaved road and point of leaving distractions.

    • Almila! Thank you so much for reading. You are an inspiration as well, and should be so very proud of your intentions and accomplishments. xo

  • Amanda, you’re such a light. A force of inspiration and grace. Thanks for sharing this and for following that tug—we’re all so lucky to have your voice and food in our lives.

    • Lindsey, every time I see a photo of you and sweet Ruby Day, I can’t help to think how amazing it has been to meet such wonderful, passionate women because of the online world. You are an inspiration as well, real and truly so giving. All the love to you.

  • What a beautifully written text, Amanda! These words resonate with me so much. Leaving the corporate world has been an incredible blessing for me too, and I’m still pinching myself every day that I now get to do this for a living! I’m so happy you made the switch, and it’s been such a pleasure following your journey. I can’t wait to see what’s next for you. xx

    • Sophie! Thank you for reading, and gosh – I love that you’ve found your groove and passion too. That “pinch me” feeling is one that doesn’t get old. And you should be so proud of yourself for what you’ve created. xo

  • Cheers to taking that big, first step and putting your needs, desires, and dreams in first place. I’m so happy you’ve fought wildly for your passion. I’m in the process of making my dream a reality, and I couldn’t be happier.

    • Jayme! I am so dang proud of you for taking your leap as well. I know how similar our stories are, and I can’t wait to see your vineyards, the process, the love that goes into it, and finally the wine. xo

    • Gosh, thanks for reading Ryan. And so great to hear from you. Great memories from our high school days together. Hope all is well, Amanda