Something in me broke the other day so I decided to leave my 9 to 5 job, officially resigning this Monday (yes, 2 days ago). Many of you may not know that the gym has not been my only “job,” and I had been working full time during the day since I started the gym. Moonlighting these 7+ years has not been easy.
So, you might think it was my spirit that broke or something, but that was not it. I have had plenty of soul-sucking jobs over the years that felt as if they were going to break me and while this last one came close, it still did not manage to do it. What broke, shattered really, was thinking that security comes from having a standard 9 to 5 job with benefits. But it is how I grew up! I am an 80’s kid who saw corporate and suits as measures of success and safety. Why wouldn’t I pursue something like that?
As a weightlifter, we do not necessarily do conventional, but there I was trying to do corporate and seeking that security while the gym was growing. The thing about most of these corporate jobs is that they take away your agency of time, which has always been the hardest part for me to manage emotionally. I was in my most recent position for over 5 years, they were painful years, but I always had the gym to keep me going in the evenings and weekends. At the same time the gym kept growing, and though I was seeing its potential, I was also having a tough time detaching from the idea of not having that 9 to 5 job.
Because the gym has been growing even more, I knew that I would finally be leaving my day job soon, but I did not think it would be this Monday. Things at work had been accumulating for some time, and my prompt to leave was an email I received regarding a change to my schedule. A change that would now conflict with my gym/coaching hours, by virtue taking away my safe space and the potential for the gym’s further growth. Ironically, I was not upset reading the email, instead there was a sense of clarity, that I have tried corporate, and it is not for me. That my “security” had come with an emotional price, and that I had to take back my agency of time. So, when I made the decision to leave, it felt right. I cannot explain it. It was of the “when you know, you know” vibe.
I know I have made a significant change, but it needed to happen more than I imagined. I am nervous for sure, but the kind of nerves you get when you start approaching the bar and going for a PR attempt knowing that you have been preparing for that moment for years.
I am really excited for the next chapter of Barbarian Barbell. For the first time since starting our club, I will not be working a day job. I am really looking forward to all the extra energy that I can now devote to the gym, our members, and my spicy weightlifting team. On the same day I left, one of my lifters teasingly said that he liked it better when I was working during the day because I was getting too feisty…just wait.
I would be remiss if I did not mention that I have been blessed to have a huge support system, and we certainly would not be where we are now without their experience, guidance, their love, and LOTS of patience. The last few years have been challenging, and I do not expect things to be easy moving forward. Easy is boring anyway. I have learned a lot about myself, about running a gym (business), and undoubtedly, I am only scratching the surface. I am looking forward to seeing the gym and myself grow over the coming years.
I chose the title for the blog because of a jazzy/hip-hop song I heard on Adult Swim a week before I left. I never imagined how meaningful the words would be a few days later because leaving the idea of the 9 to 5 job behind was hard but running away from it has been so easy.