Why I quit my corporate job to become a yoga teacher
Updated: Aug 6, 2020
I had harboured many thoughts of quitting my job in an investment bank for a few years, but I couldn’t overcome the fear of losing the stable income – and for the longest time, I couldn’t figure out what to do for a living if I had left. On paper, it was a job to die for in a prestigious firm. It seemed crazy to give it up. But if you could read between the lines of my resume, you would see that I wasn’t happy. You would see that the bullet-pointed responsibilities and achievements didn’t fulfil me. If you had a barometer to measure the pressure I felt, you would see that the reading peaked every morning, every Monday, every time I returned to work from a holiday. I knew that it had to change – but how? I knew I wanted to do something with fitness or wellness – there just seemed to be no way out nor a way in.
I wish I could tell you about the lightbulb moment when I decided to quit and be a yoga teacher, but frankly, there wasn’t one. It was a cumulation of events: my 30th birthday was creeping up on me (“what have I done with my life?“), the idea of a promotion was floated at work (“hmm… am I excited about it? nope!”), my then-boyfriend/now-husband wanted to do some extensive traveling before he buckled down for work (“yippeee!”)… The stars had it aligned that I would quit in 2014. I felt lighter as I started plotting and scheming my exit plan. The decision was cemented when I registered and paid for the teacher training recommended by my mentor. Then the time came to deliver my resignation letter to my manager. I felt liberated as I spilled the truth about not being excited about the promotion and wanting to do something else. I could finally stop pretending to like my job, dropping the Oscar-winning role of that girl who had ambitions to climb up the corporate ladder.
Many of my ex-colleagues expressed jealousy when they learned of my decision and said it was courageous of me to “pursue my passions.” The truth was – I enjoyed yoga, but I had no way of knowing whether teaching yoga was indeed my passion to be pursued. I hadn’t done it before! The point I’m making is that it doesn’t matter if you haven’t found your passion, calling, vocation, or whatever you may call it. If you’re not happy, if you’re not at peace with yourself – any change is better than doing nothing. But you have to be the catalyst for change.
Before I left the bank, a friend said that my worst case scenario, my last resort for survival, was to go back to banking, which was a dream job to some people. At that time, it was a comforting thought. Now, years after I’ve embarked on my self-discovery journey, like Ariel who has seen the world above, I wouldn’t choose to go back. I feel as hopeful now as I did as a fresh grad, sitting wide-eyed in the Convocation Hall with my graduation gown, ready to explore the sea of opportunities out there.
The great Steve Jobs said, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationships, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”
So with these parting words, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the my decision to brave this journey. If you feel stuck in your corporate job but lack the courage to quit and do something different, feel free to get in touch for a chat!
Sending you love and light,