5 Things I’ve Learned by NOT Quitting My Day Job
By Brittany Luiz
We’ve all seen the articles and posts telling us how to quit our day jobs and pursue our passions – well-meaning bits of advice meant to inspire us to lead a fulfilling entrepreneurial existence. But what if you could be an entrepreneur WITHOUT quitting your day job? That’s the boat I’m in right now and today I want to share with you the 5 things I’ve learned by NOT quitting my day job.
I’m so thankful that Kiley and Blaine are letting me guest post here on the Misses Ambitious blog today to share my story with you guys. I’ll take a quick second now to introduce myself and give you some info about my background before I share what I’ve learned from my experience.
My name is Brittany Luiz and I’m the Social Media & Content Manager for Tombow USA, as well as a handlettering artist, author and instructor. To say I have my dream job would be the understatement of the year, but it hasn’t always been that way.
A few years ago, before I joined the Tombow team, I was in a place that I think a lot of you are probably in right now. I wasn’t feeling fulfilled in my career and I wanted more. I opened an Etsy shop and began selling customized stationery, putting my self-taught graphic design skills to use. It was such a fun, creative outlet and ended up turning into a nice side source of income for me. As my Etsy business continued to grow, so did my disillusionment with my career path. The more I thought about it, the more I knew I wasn’t reaching my potential and never would in the position I was in at that time. I started to think the only way I’d feel fulfilled was to quit my day job, start my own business and become my own boss. I had visions of working in pajamas floating around in my head all the time.
Well, sometimes life has other plans for us. It was around the height of me feeling like owning my own business was the only path I could take to career fulfillment when a job posting from Tombow miraculously made its way in front of me. I wasn’t even really looking for something new at that point in my career because I was thinking I’d eventually quit my job and start my own business, but when I saw that Tombow was looking for someone to manage their social media accounts it was like the heavens had parted just for me.
You see, part of what was fueling my desire to start my own business was the fact that I’d recently taken up a new hobby – handlettering. And Tombow pens? They were my jam. Until I saw the Tombow job posting, however, I had no idea the company was basically located in my backyard. Seriously y’all, 15 minutes from my house. Did I mention that I’d been commuting nearly 2 hours each way in traffic to the job I had up until that point? Yep.
I didn’t have much social media management experience, at least not super relevant experience, when I applied for the job. I thought it was a long shot, but I also felt incredibly confident that I could knock their socks off if they’d give me the chance to come in for an interview. A few weeks later, I got that chance and entered the interview with my soon-to-be new coworkers wearing the biggest fan girl grin on my face. Later, after I got the job, I was told that my enthusiasm for not only the position, but the brand, was one characteristic that made me stand out among the other applicants.
As I waited to hear if I’d gotten the job, I realized something – I didn’t want to quit my job because I wanted to become my own boss; I wanted to quit my job because I had no enthusiasm for it. It didn’t take me long at all once I’d started my position at Tombow to realize this was so much truer than I ever could have imagined. Once I was in a role where I was driven by passion, I knew I’d made the right choice for myself.
In the 2+ years that have passed since that time, I’ve been promoted, grown my skills immensely and found an unwavering sense of belonging – like I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. If I had never seen that job posting and instead stuck it out at my old job until I was ready to quit, would I feel that same way now? There’s no way to know for sure, but I honestly don’t think so. As much as I feel like I do have an entrepreneurial spirit, I don’t know if I have it in me to deal with the stress of not having a consistent paycheck. Women like Kiley and Blaine truly are magical unicorn lady bosses, and I tip my hat to them.
But, just because I don’t want to quit my day job doesn’t mean I don’t want to do my own thing too. I don’t have an Etsy shop anymore, mostly because it was taking up way too much of my time for not enough return, but I do have my side hustles, or passion projects, that I work on. It’s been through my role at Tombow that I’ve been able to network with people in the lettering community and grow my own skills to the point that now I have my own lettering website, a thriving lettering community that I co-manage, a book that’s publishing this fall, and multiple classes available for people to learn from me.
So why am I here today? I’m here to show you that you don’t HAVE to quit your day job in order to be fulfilled in your career and pursue your creative passions. When it comes down to it, the only person holding you back from your dreams is you. Sometimes, you might fall into them by chance, kind of like I did, but I also firmly believe that the decisions you make to prepare yourself for those moments are just as important. What have I learned from not quitting my day job? I’ll tell you:
Fear shouldn’t be your career motivator: If I could only give you one piece of advice, it would be this – don’t let fear dictate your career. The thought of quitting my day job scared me to no end, but it wasn’t what ultimately caused me to continue “working for the man” instead of flying solo. Since I wasn’t searching for a job at the time I found the opportunity with Tombow, it was also an incredibly scary situation for me. I was terrified of making the wrong career move – going down an uncertain path when I already felt like I knew the direction I wanted to go. Instead of letting fear dictate what I’d do with my career, I let my passion guide me. The heart of the reason why I wanted to quit my day job was because I wanted to be able to use my creativity in my career, and I felt deep in my heart that working at Tombow would allow me to do that. My gut definitely wasn’t wrong there.
Being an entrepreneur is hard, and it’s not for everyone: Okay y’all, real talk. It may sound glamorous in theory, but being an entrepreneur is hard. Everyone isn’t cut out for it, and that’s okay! By not quitting my day job, I realized that at least at this point in my life, I’m much more suited for working for someone else. I am terrible at keeping track of the financial/legal side of my side hustle, and it gives my anxiety just thinking of what I might be letting slip through the cracks. I can’t imagine having to deal with that on a larger scale – like a full-time salary scale.
Coworkers are pretty awesome: Everywhere I’ve ever worked there have been people I really enjoy being around, and being who I wouldn’t feel bad if I never saw again. Once I started working at Tombow, the people who I really, genuinely enjoy being around far outweighed the people I wasn’t so enthused about. And you guys, that’s a game changer right there. The people you work with and interact with on a daily basis have so much to do with your overall happiness in your job, and it’s tough to recognize that until you’ve been able to experience both ends of the spectrum. Since being at Tombow, I’ve come to realize that some of the frustrations I was feeling when I wanted to quit my day job weren’t even coming from within me, but were coming from dealing with difficult people. But, if you find the right fit, coworkers can actually be pretty awesome, and I’m really glad that I have them.
Structure helps my productivity: I’ve realized that I really need structure to be productive. I’ve listened to enough entrepreneurial podcasts and read enough articles to know that the magical unicorn lady bosses out there work super hard to build structure into their days for this very reason, so I’m not saying it can’t be done – but having a job working for someone else forces me to be very structured. If I were working for myself, I’d definitely have to work harder on my discipline and create that structure, because it’s essential for my productivity.
I’m highly motivated by praise: Everyone wants to know they’re doing a good job, right? I’ve had jobs where I was praised a lot, and jobs where the management used other, less fun tactics for motivation. I much prefer the praise. I’ve realized over the last couple of years that hearing I’m doing a good job or being recognized for my work is a huge motivator for me. It makes me feel good about the work I’m doing and helps me push myself to try even harder. Again, I think this is definitely something you can get as an entrepreneur, but without a boss it’s a little bit harder to find those sources of praise and reassurance.
So there you have it – those are the 5 things I’ve learned by not quitting my day job. If you’re in the same boat as I was a few years ago, thinking the only way to feeling fulfilled in your career is to quit your job, I’d encourage you to take a step back and really evaluate why you’re feeling that way. Maybe you should quit and start your own business – or maybe you just need to find an outlet to fulfill those desires. I’m not saying you shouldn’t start your own business by any means, but I also want you to know there are so many different ways to pursue your dreams and quitting your job might be the way to do that, but it might not. Only you can decide!
Brittany Luiz is a handlettering artist, author, wife and mother. She spends her days as the Social Media & Content Manager for Tombow USA, and her nights hanging out with her family and practicing lettering. Brittany loves reading, writing and design. She is a graduate of the University of Georgia, where she earned her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism. Upon graduation in 2009, she began her career as a newspaper reporter for a metro daily newspaper in Tennessee. Since then, she has worked as a publicist, marketing coordinator, and now works in social media. Brittany began handlettering in 2014, but it wasn't until she started working at Tombow that her love of lettering became a full-fledged passion. These days, you can find her interacting with the lettering community through her own social media accounts as well as Tombow's.