When Your Heart’s Desire Clashes With The Norm: From Sickness to Success the Rise of a Virtual Worklife By: Tiffany Johnson
In January 2007 I was fired from my job as a program manager. I was prepared, yet devastated and in shock. However, I was also grateful. If this had not of happened to me, I might still be there 4 years later desperately wanting to work from home.
As I was walked to the main entrance by the director of human resources, I knew in my heart I would never return to a corporate job again. While I had no idea what was to come this was one thing I knew for sure.
The following month I got a part-time job at a local gym giving tours and selling membership packages. Later I got certified to teach group fitness classes, something I’d been wanting to do but I had no time due to my job. By the summer I began to get antsy and wonder if I needed to start looking for a job again. I said I wasn’t going back to a corporate job, but the art consulting business wasn’t working out.
Eventually I got a part-time corporate job and told myself it was different because it wasn’t “full-time.” As soon as I walked onto the floor, saw the hundreds of gray cubicles and heard little noise except for a phone ringing in the background, I knew I’d made a mistake. I landed right back to cubicle nation after being away for 11 months.
It wasn’t long before I got extremely sick. After having every test under the sun completed with little findings, I was diagnosed by my neurologist with Tolosa-Hunt syndrome, thanks to Mystery Diagnosis on the Discovery Channel. Apparently the good doctor and I had been watching the same episode the Saturday before my appointment. There was a case very similar to mine with the exact symptoms and everything.
Can you believe he charged me extra for that visit because our consultation went over time? I stopped going to him after that.
Looking back on it now, I believe I got sick because I wasn’t supposed to be working in that environment. I was created for more. To be more creative, more alive, FREE. What it did do was spark something in me that had been snuffed out after being laid-off twice as a computer programmer.
Back then, after 9/11, the jobs in my field were drying up and certain skills were no longer in demand. This job involved creating extensive reports, and formulas, and coding bringing me back to what I loved. Programming is like playing with jigsaw puzzles all day or solving the latest Sudoku puzzle. Some are easy, some medium, and some hard, but when you get it solved, it’s exciting!
I had started working different projects online and was getting great results. It got to a point where my job was interfering with my online work. Sounds funny I know. It was really because I’d accepted too many projects at once. However, it made a great line-up of clients for when I’d make my big exit.
I contacted the consulting agency I worked for to find out how far in advance I needed to give a resignation notice. I was told 30 days. On August 19, 2008, the same day I made the phone call, I turned in my 30 day notice.
I had not planned to quit my job that day, but had no problems thinking of the write words to say in my goodby email. I had 30 days to get even more projects and would no longer be limited because of my 9-5 schedule.
It was a very long 30 days. Fortunately my manager allowed me to have Thursday instead of that Friday as my last day.
On September 18, 2008, my father’s birthday, I spent my last 7 hours I’d ever work in a cube. The timing is even more special now than it was back then. My dad passed away August 28, 2010. He owned a funeral home business and also worked full-time. He had only been retired for 4 years when he passed away. If you look up workaholic in the dictionary you’ll see my dad’s picture along with many other people that have a hard time letting the work go and have some fun.
My burning desire to own my own business comes from him. I knew after working in the corporate world for 2 years it wasn’t for me. I remember my mother saying I hadn’t pulled my time yet and I shouldn’t even think about leaving a job yet. I was only 22 for goodness sake. I’ve always wanted to work for myself, but didn’t know how without a building and office space.
Fast forward to today. I have been working online full-time for over 3 years and it has been a true blessing. This time of year I no longer wonder whether I’ll get the additional days off for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s. I’m not concerned if the company will give out bonus checks in time for black Friday.
Instead I have the pleasure of working with my clients to get them prepared for black Friday and any other special holiday promotions on their websites. The freedom of working virtual from home is far beyond what I could have ever imagined. And I’m meeting people I never would have had the pleasure of meeting. People from all over the world.
I’m able to work from the comforts of my home, car, hotel, backyard, park, wherever I so choose. While this life is not for everyone, it is ideal for those who are looking for an opportunity to set their own schedule and pay rate.
As a single business owner with no children, I am laying the foundation now for my future family.
If my future husband is relocated because of his job, my business goes with me. If there’s a family emergency and I have to be at the hospital, my business goes with me. And when my future children have school field trips, games, or plays at school, I’ll be right there, without having to get anyone’s permission to do so.
There are enough challenges in life, why should the way we earn money be one of them? I believe the majority of the time work should be fun. The flexibility of working online far out ways anything I could have ever imagined.
There are so many possibilities for virtual service providers. My desire is to to develop people who will provide the ultimate service to their clients and stay on top of their game when it comes to serving, skill, and technology.
Wouldn’t it be great to have a skilled and qualified virtual team member as your “go to girl” or “go to guy” to give you more time to work on money making projects and the things you do best? Or to be the virtual “go to girl” or “go to guy” on the team?
In the coming weeks, we’re making that dream come alive with our new training program.
Now it’s your turn. Please share how working or doing business online has impacted your family life. What would your life look like if you didn’t work online?
This is where I am at right now, where you were in 2008. It is both frightening AND exhilirating. I look forward to building my business and seeing where life takes me now that I have made this step. People like you keep me motivated and keep the faith that I can succeed at what I’ve always wanted to do 🙂 Thank you for sharing your story….
Thanks so, so much Karen! This let’s me know what I’m doing is not only beneficial to the clients that I serve but others who are getting started in business as well. Looking forward to watching you grow:)
Amazing beginning, Tiffany! Why is it that we wait until we are sick to look deep within and finally see our dream, hopes and what we were really designed to do? Congratulations for stepping out into the virtual world to take control of your future. I for one am happy to have found you and now you are my “go to girl” for many tasks I just don’t have the time to do.
Like you, it took getting very sick to see that corporate America and me were not the right recipe. Instead it was a looming disaster waiting to happen. Today, with trials and all it is still the best decision I have ever made. As a forever young, fiery grandma of four helping others turn back the clock on disease and aging is not only fun, it is profitable. Helping my fellow auto transport customers, drivers and dispatchers fulfills my need to help others feel better, have less stress and not get sick all the time.
Thanks, Tiffany for all of your creativity, expertise and hard work. You make us look good:)
Thanks so much Carla! Getting sick is like being hit in the head with a brick because we missed all the other clues that came before. God has a way of making us listen;) I’m with you, it was definitely worthwhile. I’m SUPER grateful to have the honor and pleasure of serving you each day. Thanks for being you:)