Career Moves: Ask These Two Questions Before You Leap

Sara-DiVelloUnfortunately, you don’t have to love your job to be good at it. Sara DiVello had gone into public relations thinking she could make a living and write, her true passion. “At first, I got caught up in the cool factor of working at a big company, in the fancy skyscraper—I felt like I was Melanie Griffith in Working Girl! But as I advanced up the ranks, I got lost in the busy-ness and daily pressures of the job,” says the former PR executive at a Fortune 500 company.

But the writing she was doing—of press releases and corporate reports—wasn’t the sort of writing she’d dreamed of doing. One day, “I looked up and it was like 10 years had gone by,” DiVello recalls. “When a new bad boss—after a string of them—arrived, I reached my breaking point.”

She walked away from her six-figure salary (after a movie-worthy speaking-truth-to-power quitting scene) and hasn’t looked back…Or, rather, she has looked back, but only in a positive sense: to draw on memories when writing her book Where in the OM Am I? One Woman’s Journey from the Corporate World to the Yoga Mat—and when talking to us about taking the leap. Here, the best-selling author and yoga teacher, discusses two practical questions she recommends asking yourself before leaving a career to do something more personally satisfying.

#1 How much money do I need to feel safe and cushion my transition to the next chapter?
“I wanted to take the summer off without worrying about how I was going to pay my bills, but I grew up poor and have a lot of anxiety about money. So I had about two years’ of expenses saved before I left. Everyone’s number is different. A friend who left her management job to eventually become a therapist felt she needed a full year to do some real soul-searching.”

#2 What will I do the day after I quit, both literally and figuratively?
“If you’re a type A planner like me, you’ve probably already started talking to a career coach and doing the work to find your tribe. But it’s also important to have a plan for the very next day. I didn’t know I needed this, and that first day at home, I just paced around. I didn’t know how to be home. My office had been my home. I didn’t even have coffee in my apartment. I felt untethered and freaked-out. So schedule yourself to be somewhere—a pedicure, lunch with a friend, something so you are not at complete loose ends.”


▶ Read more from the March 2016 newsletter.