COULD YOU DO THIS?

Women like Stephanie, of Back in Skinny Jeans, are an inspiration to me. Several months ago Stephanie got a job with Microsoft as an enthusiast evangelist. It sounded like an interesting position, and she was very excited (enthusiastic, even!) about it.

The Enthusiast Evangelist role is a newly created position at Microsoft, and there are going to be more folks like me in other regions around the U.S. Our jobs are basically to go out and mingle, bond, and touch influential end users and show them all the cool things that Microsoft has to offer.

As of a few days ago, she decided to resign. Some people might see this as crazy, to give up a job like that — a position with bragging rights, recognition, and (presumably) a nice salary. She gave it her best, but she realized early on that it wasn’t a good fit for her. Stephanie said:

[I]t simply came down to passion. I want to live my life with joy, meaning, and vibrance.

At the end of the day, my heart was not sold on the realities at Microsoft. That is not to say that MS isn’t a thriving place for someone else. In fact, for the right people, there is plenty of room to grow and expand, and they highly encourage growth both as an individual and as an employee. So based on passions, and out of respect for the company’s time and money and mine, since it takes forever to ramp up new people, I felt it best to let someone who is gung-ho and jumps for joy at the thought of MS stuff, take the role.

Stephanie’s New Years resolution was to live vibrant, and she sees this decision as an extension of that.

What this means for me is to do things, be around people, and focus on stuff that makes me feel vibrant, will make my world a more vibrant place, or will help other people feel more vibrant.

I left a comment for Stephanie on the post about her resignation, and I liked her response:

You know life is really about choices. What is most important to you and what you are willing to do to achieve it? I chose to make my bliss and joy grow. Is it easy to do this? Not always. Do I miss a steady paycheck and awesome health benefits, you bet. Did I not think some things through enough and make mistakes while at Microsoft, you bet I did. Were they not happy with some things about me, probably. Nothings ever perfect. So you learn, and move forward. This is the beauty of age and wisdom.

I also thought about all the people who interviewed for this job as well, and for the management team I reported to, and to the company itself. As a business owner, ideally, I would want to have employees who are happy to be with us, who really want to be there. It costs money and resources to ramp up new people, and I am sensitive about that. If it’s not a fit. It’s not a fit, and that’s okay. Move forward and do it quickly.

The universe is an abundant place. Microsoft will get someone fantastic who can’t wait to jump in, and I’ll get to be joyful in growing my blog business, and helping other people in what I do blissfully.

I admire Stephanie because she knows what she wants, and she’s not willing to sacrifice herself, or her sanity, to reach her goals. She’s one of the many women I’m looking forward to meeting at the BlogHer conference.

10 Comments



  1. that’s great. i totally admire stephanie too. her story reminds me of my yoga instructor, who i love so much. she teaches a lot of classes here in dc, helps run her mom’s yoga studio, and is really close to her mom, her brother (also a yoga teacher), and her toddler niece who live here. yet, she decided to just up and move to santa monica because that’s where she feels her heart is. she doesn’t have a job lined up, and she doesn’t know anyone there. on the surface, she is giving up so much here – being close to family, her friends, a secure and lucrative job. but her joy is elsewhere.

    i just think that it is so amazing when people take such courageous risks to follow their heart. i’ll miss her so much but i’m so proud of her.

    Posted March 8, 2007 at 11:34 am #
  2. That’s another great example, Jen! It sounds like your yoga teacher has so much stuff going on here, with family and classes and a good career, but she’s going somewhere else that she wants to be, without a job lined up. I’m sure she’ll be able to find something pretty quickly out there, but STILL. That’s awesome. :)

    Posted March 8, 2007 at 12:27 pm #
  3. Interesting. For me, personally, I’d have to really believe in something to do that. I don’t have respect for people who enthusiastically sell something they don’t like or use.

    Posted March 8, 2007 at 1:34 pm #
  4. I work in Sales and while I believe in and use what I sell, I often think about doing something that is more meaningful. I enjoy my job and the pay/benefits/hours are amazing but I know I am meant to do more.

    Posted March 8, 2007 at 4:55 pm #
  5. (Note: This is from another Stephanie, not the Stephanie who is the subject of this post.)

    I love that she did this! It often takes a lot of courage to do something like this, to firmly decide what you do and don’t want to do with your energy, time, and life. Good for other-Stephanie. :)

    A few years ago, one of my friends who had long been a part-time singer-songwriter while working in a full-time, successful professional career decided to quit her job to follow her passion for making and sharing music. Everyone who knew her was do damn proud of her. She is an incredible songwriter with a gorgeous voice and wonderful talent, and even though she’s looking into day-job employment again, she’s had three fantastic years as a full-time touring musician, doing something she absolutely loves, because she was brave enough to take that chance.

    Posted March 9, 2007 at 2:46 pm #
  6. P.S. Off-topic a bit…but if I piqued your curiosity, you can check out that friend and her music here: http://jonilaurence.com and http://www.myspace.com/jonilaurence

    Posted March 9, 2007 at 2:50 pm #
  7. “mingle, bond, and touch”; yeah, I wouldn’t mind being the victim :)
    I can understand it’s hard to get excited of Microsoft (..caresses his powerbook…)

    swissfondue
    Posted March 9, 2007 at 5:02 pm #
  8. Hi Zandria,

    I just posted the following comment on Stephs site and thought I cross-post it here, since it deals with the same thing. She is really inspirational indeed and comforting as well since:

    “” Last year I was in a similar position. I got accepted at a prestigious Dutch consultancy agency. The moment I heard I was accepted was the start of a two-week headache. In the end I did not take it. The interviews I had there were horrible, some of the people were great but with those who would be my direct colleagues I felt like we were on completely different frequencies, I did not get their jokes, they did not get mine, we had completely different associations with certain things.

    So instead of taking that job I decided to stay in my low-status, low-paying teacher one. Some people think I am nuts for that, but I remember the moment I called them to say no and the feeling of relief that came with it. No regrets here.

    Plus, a good friend of mine just quit her well-paid job at a large bank that would guarantee her a great career. Reason: she always felt much more connected to NGO’s, idealistic causes, human affairs and realised she had strayed.

    Another one quit her job at Accenture for similar reasons.

    Don’t get me wrong, I know plenty of people who are perfectly happy with their business careers and there’s nothing wrong with that. Everyone has to decide for themselves what makes them happy or not and that will be different for all.

    I just love it when people realise that they are or are not on the right track and follow their heart regardless of what others may think.”"

    Look at your options and see what feels good, then follow up. Hardest part for me was to distinguish “I really don’t want this” from “I’m really scared of this”.

    Posted March 9, 2007 at 6:41 pm #
  9. Hi all. I am so humbled by all of this. Thank you so very much for all your support and kindness…

    Would I have done something like this had I been in my 20′s or early 30′s, probably not. I would have stuck around as long as I could have standed the pain because what I would have gotten on paper would have been lucrative. The outside packaging is very pretty, and the stability of a paycheck and benefits is a fantastic security blanket. There are some goods to stick around for, but is it worth it?

    Like mikkie said, there is a difference between I really don’t want this and I’m really scared of this. People will stay in miserable situations for years and decades because they’d rather have the security and known-ness of their misery, than to risk the unknown where their dreams lie. Sometimes you just have to let go of the ledge and fall out of your comfort zone to land where you will be truly happy, not surface happy, but heart happy.

    Someone very wise told me and keeps telling me, that whatever you can imagine, you can achieve. The only thing stopping you is your mind.

    Posted March 13, 2007 at 12:20 am #
  10. Another great quote from Stephanie that she just used above:

    “Sometimes you just have to let go of the ledge and fall out of your comfort zone to land where you will be truly happy, not surface happy, but heart happy.”

    I love that. I’m trying to take the steps I need to make that happen for me, too.

    Posted March 13, 2007 at 12:14 pm #

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