The Courage to Quit
Have you ever considered quitting your job without knowing what was next?
It’s a bold move, no doubt about it. And that’s precisely what today’s #FierceFriday Feature is all about.
I sat down with Bossed Up Bootcamp alum Brittany to learn more about how she made the bold move to bounce and still managed to stick her landing like a boss.
Emilie: So what drove you to quit your last job, Brittany?
Brittany: I decided I was worth taking a chance on. At the time, I lived in Ft. Lauderdale and was working in traditional higher education as an Instructor and Academic Advisor. I knew, though, that I wanted to turn education upside-down through policy. I was sick of abiding by handed-down rules that I knew did not benefit all students. I wasn’t going to feel fulfilled if I stayed in that space, and I refused to let uncertainty paralyze me from pursuing my purpose: creating substantive change for the next generation. So I took a chance and moved to DC, where I knew those education policy jobs were centrally located. Just like that. No job waiting for me, no permanent living arrangement. I stuffed my little Ford Focus with whatever fit and I hit the road.
Emilie: Wow! Brave move! What gave you the confidence to pick up and go like that?
Brittany: I was confident because I knew who I was and I what I had to offer. And frankly, I recognized that I might have to make a backwards or lateral move and work my way up. I was ok with that – I wasn’t too proud to start over.
When I arrived, I slept on a friend’s futon and made in-person visits to education policy organizations that were in line with my views. Of course, many doors were closed in my face, but all it took was one “yes,” and before long I got TWO! I accepted two part-time internships with top education policy organizations. By day, I was the brave policy intern and by night I was the even more brave Bridal Specialist at a clothing retail chain where I worked for additional income. I didn’t know a thing about wedding gowns, but I made it work!
Emilie: Ah, the fun of balancing a bridge job! They’re the kind that help you pay the bills while you navigate a career change. Good for you for being resourceful and scrappy in finding a way to make it work.
Brittany: I had to be! It was the only way I was going to make pursuing my passion really work. As a child of Civil Rights activists, it’s in my blood to be concerned with the lives of others. Education equity and social justice have always been my vehicles for doing so.
Emilie: So how long were you playing double-duty as an intern and retail employee?
Brittany: Not long at all! Before the end of my first month, both organizations where I was interning offered me full-time positions. The experiences that I gained and the confidence that I built came about solely because I was brave, took an uncertain chance, and worked hard. Thankfully, it all worked out in my favor.
Emilie: Wow! Congrats, boss, that’s incredible.
Brittany: I feel so fortunate to be able to give voice to the causes I care about through policy analysis, lobbying, and serving on behalf of communities as an advocate.
Emilie: What impact do you feel Bossed Up Bootcamp has had on your progress?
Brittany: Bossed Up Bootcamp was invaluable to me both personally and professionally. I’m most thankful for the community of strong, talented, and diverse women it has added to my network. It’s drastically different from any other traditional “network” I’ve been a part of – my fellow bosses are like family. I know that if I need anything from professional advice to encouragement, I can call on my bosses.
Emilie: What advice do you have for others navigating an uncertain future like you faced?
Brittany: BE BRAVE! Nothing in life is guaranteed. Whether you take the chance or not, there will be ups and downs. Never let fear hold you back from exploring your passions and pursuing your purpose. My ultimate goal, above all else, is to live my life so well, free, purpose and passion driven that my epitaph will read, “She did that!”