Last week I quit my job.
And enrolled in nutrition school.
And began actively working with my Weight Watchers Territory Manager to make leading meetings my full time gig.
Now do you understand why I’m smiling?!
For the last 4.5 years I’ve been working in an office. It started off as a way for me to pay off my musical theatre debt, and eventually turned into a career. I was hired by my soon-to-be-former company 2 years ago to be executive assistant to the CFO & EVP. I loved the company and I really enjoyed my job. My bosses were great and I developed my role into something fantastic.
With my Crohn’s diagnosis, achieving health and wellness for myself became my main priority in life, which was fine because I loved it! I started reading more books, following more blogs and talking to anyone who would listen about achieving fantastic health through nutrition, activity and taking care of yourself. I found myself surrounded by people who shared a passion for these things and I couldn’t get enough.
Back in May, I remember taking a walk with Lori and describing Meghan’s cooking classes to her and this newfound passion for all things nutrition related. She asked me if I had considered taking any other sorts of classes in nutrition and pursuing this in some way. She hit the nail right on the head, because it had been something that I had been thinking about and casually researching for awhile, and Joey had even mentioned to me a couple of times. Leading Weight Watchers meetings brought me so much joy and so did nutrition, so wouldn’t it make sense for me to take it to the next level?
After looking at my options and the schools available in Toronto, I decided that I wanted to attend the Institute for Holistic Nutrition. I had heard great things about the school, had met with some graduates, loved the curriculum and just got a good feeling from it. I thought about going part time in the evenings, but realized that giving up shows for 2 years would be very hard for me and I thought that it would be incredibly challenging to manage a 9 to 5 job PLUS shows PLUS school twice a week.
Over the summer I was offered the opportunity to begin training in the HR department to cover the HR Coordinator’s maternity leave. It seemed like a great opportunity for me to learn another aspect of the business and keep me busy between our quarterly finance crunch time. In August I decided that I really wanted to go to nutrition school, but I also wanted to fulfill my obligations with my role. I decided that I would work for the full year and then enrol in nutrition school in September 2010.
Would you laugh if I told you that I started a countdown of 365 days on September 1? I wish I was joking.
As the days started to pass, the more I realized what I really wanted to be doing in my life and the more I realized how unhappy I was becoming. Doing both roles was challenging, stressful and overwhelming. While I work well under pressure, I was not happy with all that I was doing 5 days a week. I thought that the stress would pass, yet I still found myself making never-ending to-do lists and crying myself to sleep at night. In addition to the constant support of Joey, my friends and family 2 things kept me going were my weekly Weight Watchers meetings and the prospect of nutrition school in 330 days and counting.
I finally realized that I couldn’t keep doing what I was doing. I had worked so hard to achieve great health in the last year, and I didn’t want to screw it up with stress. Stress + Crohn’s are a bad combination and I knew that what I was putting myself through was not healthy. I also recognized the joy I found in my meetings each week. After coming home week after week, bragging to Joey about the great meetings I was having and the success of my members on the plan (all the while riding hihgh on my happy-little-Ashley-cloud) I started to plan.
With the deadline for the January enrolment looming, I knew that I need to move quickly. It was either figure things out quickly or wait it out for another 10 months as originally planned. I moved with the speed of light.
After a lot of behind the scenes legwork, I told my boss during my yearly review last week. I felt like I was going to vomit for most of the morning, but in my heart, I knew I was making the right decision. I described the changes I had gone through in the 2 years I had worked there (from starting as a WW Leader to being diagnosed with Crohn’s and discovering my passion for health and nutrition) I started to cry as I expressed how overwhelmed and conflicted I had been feeling over the last two months as I realized how stressful doing both roles was and how I realized that being an Executive Assistant isn’t want I wanted to be doing for the rest of my life.
He took the news better than I ever could have imagined and applauded me for my courage. He told me that I should live without regrets and that he could absolutely see me in this new role.
I enrolled in school the following day.
In January, I will be leaving my role as an executive assistant and beginning the new year as a holistic nutrition student and Weight Watchers Leader. Words cannot express how excited I am.
Last year was a year of self-discovery and healing. This year I embark on a new journey, of learning, opportunity and following my dreams.
Life is sweet.