i quit-take this job and shove it | indiana county, pa photographer | personal

Well……..ok, not REALLY “shove it”, because I really did love the people I worked with…and the job for that matter!!:-)

My whole life I’ve been busy, worked hard and had my eye on the prize. Starting at age 11, I would go to school and then babysit afterwords. When I turned 16, I got my first “real job” at Intersearch (locals would know what I’m talking about0-I think EVERYONE in Indiana County worked there at one point or another) and while working there I went to school and was involved with cheerleading- which some of you don’t’ realize took A LOT of your time. Then when I hit college, again, I was working and going to school. After graduating college….yep you guessed it, I worked two jobs. I finally said goodbye to one of them when I got my first “big girl job” but guess what…….THAT’s when I decided to start a business-I’m an over achiever, I know! ha ha!

So essentially, I’ve never really knew what “free time meant”. I didn’t come from a rich family-we had very little money to do extracurricular activities with and you know those shoes…you know THOSE shoes that cost *gasp* more than $20-if I wanted them, *I* had to buy them. I paid my own way thru college, I haven’t borrowed money from my parents since I was 16! I understand hard work-I’ve lived most of my life WORKING my butt off for what I want. I now own two houses paid to put myself through college and have ZERO—Z.E.R.O. debt (ok I have a mortgage), no car payment and guess what-I’m PROUD! No one got me to where I am except for myself, ok and maybe Greg (and a few select family members and my most supportive friends),but I worked my butt off and while other people complained why they couldn’t have this or that, I always thought, WELL work harder!

What’s my point?  I just had my 29th birthday and as I hinge on turning the big 3-0, I started thinking about my life. I’ve never had a time in my life that I wasn’t doing multiple things at any given time. I’ve noticed that I was spending too much time doing ABC when I should be focusing that energy on family…specifically Mallory. So I’m actually amazed that my fingers are typing this right now. For a year I have struggled with this: Should I…CAN I do this? I tried to rehearse the words I would type when the day came and how I would explain it to the internet world that comes here every day to read this blog. I have a confession to make blog stalkers.….I’ve been lying to you all for the past 5 years and it’s time that I confess! (I hope that sounds as dramatic as I want it to..haha) Most of you have no idea that while I’ve been posting these blog posts, shooting these sessions and building my business I also had a full time job. The kind where you sit in front of a computer and do work for OTHER people when all you can really think about is how you have so much stuff to catch up on at your business but your building someone else’s business instead of your own. It’s true, I’ve been having an affair on my day job! haha! AND I QUIT!! Today, I put in my  my 2 week notice. I’m quitting my day job during a recession, some may say I’m stupid, some may say I’m brave, but I say….I’m just a girl willing to take a gamble for my dreams!

I’m usually not a quitter and I know I’m making light of it at the moment, but you should know that this decision was not taken lightly. I’ve thought hard and long about it, I’ve spent many of nights complaining to Greg and my poor poor friends would sit and listen to me while I had this internal struggle going on and contemplated self doubt. Can I do this?  What if I fail? What if I can’t pay my bills? What if this little business I’ve created falls flat on it’s face? Well….it boils down to: I won’t ever know if I don’t try-RIGHT?

I would sit at my day-job helping someone else to “run their business” when the entire time I would day dream about all the things I could do with all the free time I would have to invest into my OWN business.  At first I felt so ungrateful. Here I am with 2 full time jobs and I’m complaining I want to quit one of them when there are people out there that don’t even have ONE job. Then I felt greedy for keeping two jobs when family time, personal time and my sanity were at stake. Ohhhhhhh the decisions.

Words cannot describe the feeling of handing over the…dun dun dun…….two week notice. It’s like this weight had been lifted off my shoulders-as cliché’ as that sounds.I had rehearsed what I would say when this day came.  When I finally built up enough courage….enough FAITH in myself to hand over that piece of paper with the words I so carefully chose to ultimately change my life.

Ironically, when my two weeks is up our beach trip to the Outer Banks begins. In many ways, it’s symbolic to a new beginning and I can’t wait to hang with my friends, clear my mind and stare at the ocean of opportunities. I’ve spent the past 5 years putting every hard earned penny back into the business while juggling a full time day job, a family, home renovations and now that the studio is finished and my home renovations are coming to an end, I can see all of my hard work paying off. It’s overwhelming, exciting and quite frankly, I’m scared to death!

I know the excitement of saying, “I’m a full time business owner” will wear off and the fear will set in, but at the end of the day, it’s better to have tried and failed, than to have lived your life in a constant state of what-if.………..and with that, I celebrate!!!

And this folks…..was the poster that gave me the “ahh haa” moment I needed. I’m ready to ” live my dream and wear my passion”. Bring it on! I’m officially self employeed!!!!

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  • May 23, 2011 - 11:20 am

    Jaime Parker - Yea! I’m soooo happy for you! I would have never known!

  • May 23, 2011 - 11:45 am

    Courtney Katherine - SOOOO PROUD OF YOU JEN MCKEN!!! :) ALTHOUGH, I WISH YOU WERE GETTING MARRIED….OR HAVING ANOTHER BABY AS WELL :) :) :) …….I CAN’T BE HAPPIER THAT YOU ARE FINALLY FFFRRRRREEEEEEEE!!!! (WELL ALMOST….IN 2 WEEKS!)

  • May 23, 2011 - 12:16 pm

    joelle Watt - congrats jen!!!! best wishes to you. i’m sure only greater success lies in that bright future of yours. btw, we ARE going to have a play date at your studio right?? :))))

  • May 23, 2011 - 12:48 pm

    Nicole Steetle - I know this was the right decision for you :) You have so many plans for your business and I am so happy that you will have the time to really put toward them. I can’t wait to see them in action! I’m so proud of you :)

  • May 23, 2011 - 2:57 pm

    Leeann Marie - WOO HOO!! You’ll be happy! Now make sure you actually GIVE yourself some of that free time.

    (PS these two weeks were sent to you from hell. They’ll be the worst)

  • May 23, 2011 - 2:59 pm

    chris - Congratulations Jen! I never would have guessed you worked full-time. I did aswell, and now am still working 4-days a week. It’s all about finding a balance… and you’re ready — you’re going to be fine. More than fine! You’re actually going to get to take deep breaths and take a moment to look around at what you’ve created! Best of Luck!

  • May 23, 2011 - 3:07 pm

    ashley barnett - WOOHOOOO! I just did this too! Today is my FIRST day as a “full time photographer”…SO PROUD and happy for you! I am terrifiedddd. But it will be worth it for both of us, I have NO doubt! :)

  • May 23, 2011 - 3:07 pm

    Gina - Good for you, girl!

  • May 23, 2011 - 3:16 pm

    Aric Becker - Congrats!!!! Don’t look back….just forward!!! You guys will do great!

  • May 23, 2011 - 4:35 pm

    Natalie Barbi - CONGRATS JEN!! You deserve it!! Enjoy

  • May 23, 2011 - 5:15 pm

    Whitney Weaver - Congrats Jen!!!! You are an amazing photographer and I love your work!! You go!!

  • May 23, 2011 - 6:02 pm

    pamela marie - so excited for you! congrats!!!! :)

    my only advice in the full-time photography world is to make sure you get out of the house at least once a day. it’s a lonely proposition to work for yourself! need. coworkers. HA!

  • May 23, 2011 - 6:05 pm

    breanne peiffer - Congrats!It is a big decision. Enjoy the time with your little angel before she grows up. You both deserve it =)

  • May 23, 2011 - 9:44 pm

    Jan - I’m am certain you will succeed, you are so talented. :) Congrats to you!!

  • May 25, 2011 - 7:41 am

    Mike Burns - “I’m just a girl willing to take a gamble for my dreams!
    ” Jen McKen*ism!!!

    You will do great! Congrats… Now it’s my turn to write this speech!

  • May 25, 2011 - 3:48 pm

    Paulette - Hello Jen! This gives me goosbumps…I did the same thing on March 30, 2010…I quit a lucrative 20 year career to pursue my dreams of having my own business. I have never looked back. Scariest things, but the greatest thing (next to my son) that I have ever done. We must talk… Bravo to you! Jump and the net will appear. That has been my mantra.

  • June 1, 2011 - 1:01 pm

    my last full day | indiana county, pa photographer | personal | Jen McKen Photography - [...] SOOOOO, today was my last full day of work…my last full 8 hours of  my “day job”.  I work tomorrow, but it’s only for a few hours so it doesn’t count..but TODAY, I think the panic set in! Incase you missed it, I quit my job-just like that…I quit! I talk a little about it *here*.  [...]

  • February 19, 2012 - 12:40 am

    Dan Skaramuca - Best of luck! Gotta take the gamble.

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