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.
BY Amanda Paa - April 2, 2017
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.