a big, juicy announcement…

I can’t believe I’m writing this post. It’s been a long time coming. If I’m being honest with myself, it’s probably been in the making since the first time I sat down at my very first desk in my very first office in my very first job right out of college. Here goes…

I quit my job.

And I don’t have another one.

And it was on purpose.

I am so fortunate that, after six years working in a job that wasn’t a perfect fit for me, I now have the opportunity to figure out what is a great fit. I am insanely excited to figure out what is next in my career. I realized early on after college that doing the 9-to-5 desk job thing wasn’t going to be a “forever” for me. I just never gelled with it. And I’m so lucky that I get to try and venture out on my own now.

I know this all sounds a little bit flighty and irresponsible, I mean who leaves a well-paying job in the middle of this economy? I know. I know. But the truth is, I’m 100% sure this is the right decision for me and my family in my heart.

So you’re probably wondering what I want to do with my life. Well…a lot! I have so many plans. But when it comes to the down-and-dirty finances part? I’m very fortunate to be pulling in some income from BTHR and the Broken Plow (thank you guys so much!) and my freelance writing and design gigs. I can’t wait to devote more time to bringing better content to my blogs and snatching up more freelance writing and design opportunities. I love writing about food and wellness, and I’m really excited to see how far I can take it now that I’m jobless.

Also, I’m not the only one going through a change. Craig recently snagged a perfect-for-him job working in a local Mom and Pop garden nursery full-time. He’s always loved plants, gardening and helping people, and this place seems like the perfect fit for him. For the vast majority of our marriage, I’ve been the breadwinner while Craig worked part-time, went to school and did almost all of the domestic stuff, but we’re switching that up at the end of the month. He’ll be the full-timer, and I’m going to have to finally learn how to use the washer and dryer.

Even with Craig’s new awesome job and my side jobs, we’re still not up to pre-quitting income levels. We’re actually slashing our total monthly income in about half. Which sounds dramatic, but we’re pretty skilled at living frugally. And it’s enough to hold us over while we try our hand at something we’ve wanted to do for ages—a joint photography and design business.

We’ve been wanting to do this business (focusing mostly on weddings) for years, before we were married even, but with my full-time gig and writing two blogs, I just never had the energy or time to devote to getting it off the ground. We’ve dabbled (him shooting a few weddings, me doing a few invitation designs), but we’ve felt like for a while now, that to really get it off the ground, one of us needs to go at it full-time. And with my marketing background, I was the right Johnston for the job. We’ve always had a dream of working and being creative together, and we’re hoping this business might be “the one” in coming years.

Of course, there are a million other things I’d love to do with newfound 40+ free hours a week, too. I would love to write and self-publish a cookbook. I’d love to open up an Etsy store. I’d love to sell some produce at the farmer’s market. I have so many ideas. I can’t wait to have the time to implement them.

So, basically, it’s all a big leap of faith, which, if I’m being honest, isn’t normally my thing. I’m a numbers girl and cutting out that kind of stability has me scared at times, but I know in the deepest part of me, that this is the right decision—even if the logical side of me puts up a fuss sometimes. There is obviously going to be some serious penny pinching—we might end up eating rice and beans for the rest of our lives—but at least I’ll know we took the risk. And if I didn’t, I know I would wonder “what if” forever. Even if I go crawling back asking for my job again in a year, it’ll be worth it because I’ll know I tried.

I am so thankful for all the support I’ve had from Craig, my friends, my family and even my co-workers. People have been absolutely amazing with this hefty chunk of news. Thank you guys for helping to make this possible! Your support means so much more to me than I could ever put into words. I think I’ll bake you all cookies. Who wants chocolate chip?

Onto the next big thing…

P.S. Pop back in this afternoon for a hefty-sized Chobani giveaway. Yum!

Have you ever made a leap of faith in your career?

114 Comments

  1. says

    Oh exciting! I would also buy a cookbook and maybe a planner if you get around to it! Lots of change coming up, but I’m sure it’s nothing you can’t handle!

    • Cassie says

      Thanks, Nic! I’ve actually had a lot of people request a planner. Maybe that’s my next big thing. Cassie Johnston, Planner Maker.

    • Cassie says

      Thanks, Erica! I love hearing other success stories. I’m already seeing the new opportunities popping up. you are totally right about just letting universe know you’re ready. :)

  2. says

    I am so so so excited for you guys. And now there are a few things I’m going to ask your help with that I won’t feel like I’m adding chaos to your day!

    I am excited to see where you guys go, but I’m most excited to meet not-worked-to-the-max Cass. To see where creativity can take you when you aren’t over-scheduled.

    Following your heart gives me incredible hope that it is possible for me!

    • Cassie says

      I’m excited to mee the not-overworked Cass, too. I think Craig is, too. :)

      And it is more than a possibility for you, it’s an inevitability. I promise!

  3. says

    YEA!!!! My husband just quit his full-time Engineering job in October so that we can finish remodeling our house, sell it, move to the middle of now where, and he’ll open a hardware store with his dad. Seriously, he has a Masters of Engineering and will run a hardware store :) HUGE leap of faith but happiness and loving what you do is way more important than not. Plus, I think people who do what they love make more money in the end too :) I hope anyhow. Tell Craig he’ll love his job. I worked at Elsbury’s greenhouse in Hope, IN for just a summer after my freshman year of collage and it was one of my favorite jobs ever. I love having a working knowledge of plants. My 5 year old can identify more flowers by name than most adults too :) Oh my heart this is exciting!

  4. Jocelyne says

    Congratulations! There’s a calmness that comes with making a major decision that you know is right, even if it sends you into the unknown. Looking forward to seeing what happens once your creativity is unleashed.

  5. Michelle Harris says

    Good for you! I recently stopped teaching to stay home with my kids. It was not something I ever thought I would do and it was the best choice I ever made. You will be suriprsed at how much you don’t spend spend when you are not working! Good luck!

  6. says

    Congratulations on doing what’s right for you!

    My husband submitted his notice, yesterday, leaving his job at the end of the month, as well. Nothing lined up, but it will make him SO much happier.

    I have a good contact in the L’ville wedding vendor scene if you’re interested!

    • Cassie says

      Tell your husband congrats! I hope he gets to figure out what makes him super happy. :)

      And YES! I’d love to get some contacts in the area.

  7. says

    Wow! What an amazingly exciting/scary new chapter for you! That’s awesome! And it’s surprising how well you can live off of less money; people are just afraid to try!

    I was in a VERY similar situation about three years ago. I landed my “dream job” at an ad agency and it took less than three months to realize that this was NOT what I wanted. My job was ridiculously difficult, I was offered no training/help, and we were expected to work about 10-11 hour days EVERY DAY with no questions asked (the idea of working a 9-5 desk job bums me out too and no job is worth being away from your family for that long each day!). My immediate supervisor (who was my age) was over-worked and had zero time to help me get acclimated to my position, so I just wandered around aimlessly, getting yelled at and handed work I didn’t understand. It was miserable. I was depressed. I cried in the shower every morning. I was filled with dread and anxiety as I pulled into the parking lot. It was one of the most trying times of my life.

    I had enough. After A LOT of discussion with the hubs, I quit. With no back-up job. I was scared beyond belief that I had selfishly just put my husband and I in jeopardy, but we knew that my happiness was far more important than an extra pay check.

    And lo and behold, in less than a week, I was offered a freelance illustration gig from a previous employer. I worked from home in my pjs for 9 months and being able to be at home to clean, cook for my hubby and spend time with our dog was the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I loved that role and was delighted to be available to be a full-time wifey! Eventually the freelance work ran out and I was fortunate enough to get back into publishing, but I will forever be on the lookout for another chance to be at home full time.

    In fact, that’s my husband’s and my goal. My job at a college gives him free tuition to advance his degree and he’s doing that with the goal that once he can get a better-paying job, I can be back at home to focus on my writing career.

    This is a great opportunity, Cassie and I am so happy for you (and a little jealous! Enjoy!

    • Cassie says

      Ugh! Toxic work environments are the absolute worst. I’m so happy you got out of that place, it sounded absolutely terrible!

      And that freelance gig of yours sounded PERFECT! I hope you can find something like that again soon. :)

  8. says

    Wow!! Congratulations!!! I think it’s amazing that you have the confidence and faith to make such a big leap! I’m excited for you and can’t wait to read about all of your new adventures!
    And congrats to Craig on the new job! Sounds perfect for you both! :)

  9. says

    I am *so* excited for you! I know you’ve been wanting to do that for at least a year since I’ve known you. I really hope that your business takes off once you decide to get it going for real.

    I’m going to refer a few of my friends to your blog, though. They’re recently engaged and while it might be too late for you to design the invitations to my wedding (May! AH!) there are 3-4 who are recently engaged who may be able to seek your services 😀

    Congratulations again to you and to Craig :) I am sending you two positive vibes and the best of luck.

    • Cassie says

      Yay! Thank you so much for sending people my way. We’re hoping to have our business site up and running by mid-late February. :)

  10. says

    CASSIE.

    This is SO exciting! And I am so proud of you for taking the leap of faith and pursuing your dreams. I know you were never really content at your old job while you still had all these inclinations to test out the creative waters, and I am so impressed. I am so thrilled to see where this takes you, and hope that soon I’ll be able to follow in your footsteps!

    As for my dreams? Well, I think you already are well aware, but I’ll say it again anyway. Writing and publishing TERRA is obviously my own creative, dream-job venture, and I really am thrilled that things have been going well so far. Definitely not at quit-my-dayjjob levels yet, but the spark of hope is certainly there. And a good thing too, because while I was able to balance my FT, soul-sucking job whilst writing book #1, I’m findng my cubicle is totally killing my writing mojo this time around.

    Congratulations again!! Look at us, taking this world by storm. Happy is as happy does, and life’s definitely too short to be discontent. Love you!!!

  11. says

    Good for you! That’s really gutsy.
    I’m sure everything will work out for you because you are very ambitious and a hard worker.

    I’ve never been able to take a leap in my career because my husband and I have never been stable enough for me to do so. One day. . . One day.

    • Cassie says

      Thank you, Samantha! It means a ton to me that you guys think I’ll succeed. It helps when I’m freaking out over finances. 😛

      I hope you get to take your leap sooner rather than later. :)

  12. says

    Congratulations on a step towards figuring out exactly what you want to do! I’m excited to see where this adventure takes you both…the photography business sounds awesome….your photos are always great. Have fun!!!

  13. says

    You are an inspiration in more ways than one. I recently moved back to northern Indiana (my childhood home) from Lexington KY and the transition has been tough. Your blog has provided me with much needed encouragement that I determine my happiness. So I have hit the gym and started cooking more for my family. Thank you and good luck with your new adventure!

    • Cassie says

      Welcome home, Abby! :) And thank you SO much. It means so much to me to hear this from you guys. Good luck on your new healthy lifestyle!

  14. says

    Congrats! For some reason I thought you had quit ages ago and were already self-employed. I guess that just means it’s meant to be because some of us already see you in that role. Good luck with whatever you decide to do with all your new free time!

    • Cassie says

      Haha, nope! I’ve been working full-time and doing all my other stuff, too. But that’s awesome that folks already see me as a member of the self-employed. :) Thanks, Mary!

  15. Kathy says

    This will be a huge turning point. You are a talented writer and so creative. I know you and Craig will succeed. Onward to an amazing future!

  16. Barbara Ford says

    Congratulations! I know the this-is-what-I’ve-always-wanted-but-I-must-be-crazy feeling. I quit my job four years ago to stay at home with my daughter. We started having to live on 1/3 of our previous income – with a new baby! But with careful budgeting we’ve made it work.

  17. Maija says

    Congrats! I did this before and it was the best decision I ever made. Go get it!
    Make a planner! You’re organization is beautiful :)

    • Cassie says

      I hope you get to make the leap sometime soon, Chardonnay! Make sure you read the rest of the comments. There are a ton of amazing people commenting here who’ve made the jump and never looked back. It’s so inspiring! Thank you. 😀

  18. Crystal says

    Congrats…sounds like you have exciting things planned! A little over two years ago, a month before my wedding, I quit my full-time, fairly well paying job…which I was also miserable at. I dreaded going, came home crying some days…just not the right fit for me, and it was causing me so much stress I wasn’t enjoying the wedding planning and wedding excitement that was coming up. Quitting was SUCH a relief, and my husband supported the decision completely. As soon as I quit, I was happier, felt free, and 100 percent enjoyed my wedding and honeymoon (without worrying about work while I was doing both). Yes, being unemployed and not having another income was a bit of a stressor, but we handled it just fine. I did eventually find another job, and while it pays half as much, I like it twice as much and actually enjoy what I do. So I think you made the right decision, and good for you for taking the leap!! :)

    • Cassie says

      That is SUCH an inspiring story, Crystal, and sounds really similar to mine. Isn’t it great having a supportive spouse? I’m so happy that you found a job that’s a good fit for you!

  19. Leesa says

    Congrats! The fuel savings alone will do a lot to make the income cut feel less burdensome. Keep your optimistic feelings going – it’s one of the best ways to ensure success. If one endeavor fails, don’t get depressed and find a new gig. Eventually you WILL find something you love that also pays the bills.

    • Cassie says

      Hahah, we’ve already adjusted our budget next month for reduced gas costs. It’s a big honkin’ chunk of our budget!

      Thank you SO much, Leesa, that’s excellent advice that I need to keep in mind. :)

  20. Betsy K says

    How exciting! I am sure you are having a huge rush of feelings, but I am sure you two will rock whatever comes your way!

    A cookbook, and a business, while blogging sounds great!

  21. says

    Congratulations! That is so exciting!

    I used to work for a health insurance broker. I had a “real” career, salary, benefits, and an office. It paid the bills while I was in college, but it didn’t make me happy. When I was in grad school and had an opportunity to teach some undergrad Comp classes, I quit my job. I make about 1/4 of what I used to, with no benefits, and no office, but I’m so much happier.

  22. Pam says

    I’m so proud of you! And personally validated to know I’m not the only one out there willing to take the leap. About 6 months ago I left the crying and depression of my desk to venture out on my own. The opportunity is rich in self exploration and will bring you to a new and strange peace with the world you live in. I couldn’t be happier for you!

    • Cassie says

      Thank you, Pam! And you definitely aren’t alone, there are so many awesome people here in these comments that took the leap. It’s so inspiring!

  23. Chaley says

    Congratulations to you (and Craig) in your new adventures. You inspire me with your writing, and in this move. You are gonna rock whatever you do next!!

  24. Dani NK says

    Cassie, I am so very, very happy for you! I’m sure this is a big and scary kind of change, but have no doubt that it’s going to bring incredible life improvements your way. I have always been so thrilled by your creative ventures (my own wedding invitations among them!!) that I’m ecstatic by the idea of seeing more of that, and possibly being to purchase some of your wares down the line.

    The idea of pursuing something we love to do is something that I think appeals to all of us. The fact that you get to do that is absolutely incredible, and I’m so excited to watch that journey happen.

    So much love to you!

  25. says

    This is so incredible! In the past few months, I know a big handful of people who have made this same move as you, and every time I see someone else do it, I get excited for some day in the future when I might be able to as well. You are so brave!

  26. says

    Thank you for posting this – it actually couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I’ve been worrying about the future of my job (I only know I’ll definitely be employed through the end of March, as that’s when the project is scheduled to end), and then I’m not sure. The job isn’t my ideal, and I know it’s not what I want to do forever, but it pays my bills, and I worry about not having anything after.

    This post (along with many of the comments) helped put me at ease. I’m a big believer in things working out as long as you put in the effort, and I know I’ll get by no matter what – in fact, the ending of the job may end up being a blessing in disguise, and might allow me to pursue what I really want to do!

    I’m a big fan of your blog (it’s one of the few I make sure to read daily!), and I have no doubt that you’ll find success in whatever path you choose moving forward. All the best to you in your new endeavors in the new year!

    • Cassie says

      I’m a big believer that things happen for a reason, too. I actually was laid off from my job (this very one that I just quit) about three years ago, and was rehired at the last minute. When they told me I was being laid off, I wasn’t upset, I wasn’t sad…I was excited. I should have known that wasn’t a “normal” reaction to getting laid off and probably not accepted the new position.

      I hope you find your perfect job soon. :)

  27. says

    Congrats! Going out on my own was the best thing I’ve ever done. I am SO happy being able to do exactly what I want and not having to worry about “leaving the office early” or those stupid performance reviews. Being your own boss is seriously the BEST! And don’t worry – the money will come, especially to someone as motivated and talented as you are.

    • Cassie says

      That is SO awesome to hear! I love all the success stories in these comments. So cool! Thank you for the vote of confidence!

  28. Shannon says

    GOOD FOR YOU!!!!!! I made the mistake of saying yes to a full-time job when I KNEW I was happy doing the part time thing. I am so, so, so, so happy for you! Best wishes in your endeavors!

    • Cassie says

      Thank you so much, Shannon! Sometimes it can be so hard to turn away from stability even when you know it’s not the right fit.

  29. Laura says

    Get it girl! I’m a long time reader and I’m excited to see where this change takes you in life. You deserve to be happy!

  30. debbie says

    you go girl! dare to live boldly.

    just in case hearing other success stories helps … I quit my high paying, very stable job AND sold my house to follow a deep desire to live from my heart armed with a wild sense of wonder and adventure. I had no idea where I was going or what I would do. I just packed up my little subaru, left Connecticut and drove west until I stopped. 4 and a half years later, I am living in Alaska, in a great job, engaged to be married and living in the most incredibly beautiful place on earth. Everyone thought I was crazy — I knew I wasn’t. The reality was that, yes it was scary to let go of what I knew and what was stable, but not following my heart felt so much scarier.

    Enjoy every moment!

    • Cassie says

      Hearing other success stories DEFINITELY helps! Thank you so much for sharing yours. Your story is AMAZING. I definitely am getting a little bit of the “everyone thinks i’m crazy” thing going on. But I know I’m not. And my husband knows I’m not. And that’s all that matters, right? :)

  31. Beck says

    First, I have to say that your blog resonates with me so much. I grew up in a tiny village in Ohio, helped my mom can food from a big, beautiful garden my dad planted, and shot hoops in my driveway (game of HORSE, anyone?)

    I am currently still working at my 9-5 desk job, but I have major dreams of quitting someday to do the things I truly love. This post gives me so much hope that this can happen. I think it’s so cool that you’re pursuing your dreams. It sounds like you and Craig are entering a new, exciting chapter in your lives!

    • Cassie says

      Thank you so much, Beck! You can definitely get there someday! There are so many amazing stories of dream-followers in these comments.

  32. jeri says

    Good for you. There is nothing worse than a job that makes you unhappy. Clearly you have many skills and talents, and someone who supports you unconditionally. Go for it!

  33. Jen in MN says

    Wow!! Congratulations to you both! Wishing you all the best as you figure out your new ventures. So exciting, and you seem like just the folks to do something bold like this! Love it.

  34. Julie says

    Wow, Cassie, you rock! I am so in awe of how you are taking your dreams and working to make them a reality! I hope it all goes as smoothly as it can. And I would be the first person to buy your cookbook, FYI! And edit it 😉 Congratulations!!!!!

    • Cassie says

      Oooh! I’ll definitely need an editor. I’ve got the recipe development, the writing, the layout and the photography taken care of, but I’m the queen of rambling and typos, so an editor will definitely be needed. I’ll keep you in mind.

      Thank you! 😀

  35. Ceci says

    Good for you, Cassie! I too recently took a leap of faith in my career and I’ve never been happier. It was scary and I was unsure of my decision, but it’s been incredible!

    • Cassie says

      I’m really glad to hear you are so happy, Ceci! 😀 And happy to hear that the grass is actually greener our there.

  36. says

    Congrats, that’s so inspiring! You definitely have nothing to worry about – you are so talented! Cubicle jobs can be so draining! I know mine is, and it’s hard to get something else going when you’re gone 11 hours a day doing something that doesn’t really energize you. However, you’re not jobless – you’re self-employed!
    I’m actually going to take the leap myself very soon! We’ve saved enough living expenses that, combined with the income from my husband’s part time job as he finishes school, we’d have the basic necessities covered if I didn’t make a dime for a year (at which time my husband will be done with school and presumably find a job making enough to support us).
    I think my biggest hang-up is self doubt and worrying what people will think.

    • Cassie says

      You are absolutely right that the biggest hang up is self-doubt (well that, and figuring our health insurance, for us). Good luck in make your leap!!

  37. says

    I am SOSOSOSOSO happy for you!!! I think this was a great decision!!!!
    I think you know, but I took a big leap of faith to change my career last year, and I am SO glad I did. It’s been a tough year with all of the life adjustments (and not having as much money) but I KNOW it will pay off so much in the end.
    HOORAY for you!!!

  38. says

    Good for you!!! It doesn’t even matter what others think about your decision, because it’s just that – YOUR decision! If you’re certain it’s the right thing, then that’s fantastic. I definitely know how you feel. In the summer my husband and I quit our jobs (which would’ve guaranteed us jobs right through to retirement…and I’m only 28.). And we took up jobs as teachers, in the middle east. So yah, big leap of faith and it’s one that we’re thrilled with!

  39. Chelsea says

    Congrats!!! That’s so great!!! I think the wedding photography/design business is a fantastic idea! I haven’t made a leap of faith in my career yet, but I’m getting close to one. I’ve been at the same 9-5 desk design job since I graduated and I’m ready for something different. I would love to be self-employed!

  40. Amanda Elliott says

    Congrats! This is so exciting and I’m sure you will not regret this decision! Good luck to you and Craig on the photography/design business. If you were in the Ottawa area I’d totally book you guys for my April wedding!

    Looking forward to all the new things to come!

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