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Jen Prado from Discovery Channel's I QUIT series

I QUIT- Behind the Scenes

Several months ago, I took the biggest risk of my life, quitting my job. Not just any job, but I left behind over a decade long career in a top NYC company with a six-figure salary to follow my dreams. My dreams of having my own company, being my own boss and creating something magical. I’ve toyed with the idea of quitting my job, but I was too scared to give up the certainty of a paycheck. The stability of a 9-5. I rationalized it as “this is what everyone does. No one likes their job” and that I should feel lucky for having such a great job. I just couldn’t conform to the fact that I’d have to be unhappy for the rest of my life. That I’d have to wait until I’d retire to follow my dreams, but I was beginning to accept my fate. Then, my father got sick.

My entire life changed when my father was diagnosed with cancer. Not once, but twice. As the oldest, I would bear the brunt of the responsibility of helping my mother care for my father while staying strong for my mother, sisters and my father. I never thought I’d hear the word “cancer” so close to home. My father’s diagnosis changed me. My father getting sick was my catalyst. 

I realized that life was too short. That I couldn’t spend the rest of my life chasing the elusive “American Dream”. Working countless hours in a job I hated, simply because it was safe and paid well. I vividly remember the moment I knew I had to quit my job. It began 5 years ago.

My mother had called me at work. I contemplated letting it go to voicemail, since I was in a meeting, but I had a nagging feeling that whatever she had to say was important. She said “We’re driving to the hospital now. Your dad is getting a liver transplant. Meet us there.” I dropped everything, took two trains to get to the hospital and said my goodbyes to my father. Not knowing if I’d ever see him again. As my mother and I sat in the waiting room in the hospital, I knew I had to change my life. I knew I had to stop being complacent. Life is too short to be a prisoner to a paycheck. That day, I made the decision, I’d start saving money to quit! 

I made a little nest egg and with the help of my husband, Jesse, we made a tentative plan. Every year I’d try to leave my job, but there was always something holding me back - FEAR. Then, finally, I had enough. It was time. I came into work and uttered the words I’d dreamed about for years “I QUIT”. Those two words, I knew would change my life. There was no turning back. Of course, things never go as planned, but for the first time in a very long time, I felt free. 

The entrepreneur journey is not an easy one, but I’ve never been happier. I’m excited to wake up every day. I look forward to tomorrow’s, even Monday’s, since I know that every day I’m working towards my passion. I’m building my dream. I’m building my company, Klado. There is no safety net, no playbook, no “easy way out” when you’re an entrepreneur, but I wouldn’t trade this adventure for anything. On the contrary, I wish I would’ve quit 5 years ago. I wish I would’ve spent more time with my family and friends, instead of chasing money.

Life is too short and beautiful, don’t spend 80% of it in a place, a job, a situation you hate!

#IQUIT #Discovery #Shopify #Entrepreneur 

(Image courtesy of Discovery Channel)

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