Why I Left My Corporate Job to Pursue Plants
I did, I left my corporate job in the middle of a pandemic to pursue my blog and my passion for plants, animals, and the outdoors. Was this risky? Yup. Was this reckless? One can argue. Did I do this because I wanted a career to bring me joy? Definitely.
Brace yourselves, this is a different kind of post.
Some of you may know that I, Anastasia, write all of these blog posts, manage the social media accounts, and do consulting within Leaf and Paw. I have occasional help but 99% of all of this is me. Up until a few weeks ago, I was doing this blog “stuff” while at a full-time job in Marketing. It’s been my dream for a number of years to do blogging full time, but really, it takes an obscene amount of time and a certain bit of luck. While I do make money from the blog, it’s not enough to live off of.
Since 2017, I’ve been juggling both – I liked my job in Marketing but it wasn’t a fulfilling job. Recently, many of my tasks became mindless and weren’t utilizing my skills and abilities as they used to. No problem, though, a job is just a job, right? That’s what hobbies and my blog are for – being creative and spending time doing something you love.
Then the Pandemic happened. I started working from home and realizing that without an office, my great boss and co-workers, my job boiled down to just these tasks I needed to do daily. But a job is still a job right?
Something was bothering me, though. One was my back from sitting for 8 hours, but another was this urge to be outdoors and not staring at a computer for hours at a time anymore. I was working from home, which was great. During my lunch I would eat outside, answer plant questions and create Instagram posts. On weekends, I’d do plant consulting (more on that soon) and film plant videos. On Monday I would go back to juggling both.
Let’s talk about the Pandemic again.
The Pandemic has been stressful, undoubtedly, for everyone. While battling intense anxiety since March I became a bit numb. Every morning I couldn’t wait for the day to end so I could read the news to find out what the next day held. I continued social media for Leaf and Paw in hope it would help and distract me, but it made me more anxious that my beloved plant community became a breeding ground for intense judgment and hate. Every day became more stressful and I began to find it hard to concentrate on my blog and work.
As every day was filled with more unknown, more stress, and a random chance to be infected by a virus no one has the reigns on, I decided to start journaling this past June. I began that night immediately. Unfortunately, it snowballed. All of that anxiety I was holding in came out in a wave I was not prepared for. Everything from my worries about the health of my family, to what I am going to do with my life, to the future of my blog, to kids (which I don’t have), to wanting to save all of the animals, and an existential crisis spilled out and I knew I hit on something. I asked myself questions like “why do you feel this way” and every time I answered I would ask why again and then again. And the bottomless pit of thoughts prevailed for weeks.
But then it stopped. At the end I found I wanted these things to happen:
to be fulfilled in my career
help and rescue animals
care for plants, help plant people and continue to blog
spend time outdoors, primarily actively
focus on me so I can be mindfully happy and healthy
I felt so much better. I felt better knowing what I wanted, which I never knew, in a world of so much unknown. You know?
After a week of this clarity, things felt different. I planned to incorporate more of these into my life while still making my full-time job and part-time blog work. Days later I was approached by a large local company to do part time landscaping and plant consulting. I would be taking a pay cut from my current full time job, but would have the freedom to choose my own hours and use other weekdays to work on my blog and build Leaf and Paw. I had 48 hours to decide since help was needed asap.
After more stressful debating, I took it. Was this risky? Yup. Was this reckless? One can argue. Did I do this because I wanted a career to bring me joy? Definitely. I gave a three week notice to my Marketing job and here we are. The landscaping portion allowed me to be outside with plants and earn a steady income while I can go head first into my blog and continue to bring you content consistently and build my brand.
Ironically I sit here now typing this on a computer, but it’s not for another company, it’s not doing a mindless task, it’s for me. For many months (maybe years?) I didn’t realize that a lot of my stress stemmed from not knowing what I want. I’m choosing to not hide my chronic anxiety here because I realize it doesn’t help to fight or ignore it. Yes, the world is insane right now and every day is filled with the unexpected, but knowing I am trying my best and doing my part has finally made me have (dare I say it) some peace.
Not everyone can make this change, not everyone has a blog they earn income from, but everyone has a desire to do more for themselves. I wrote this post not as a “quit your job and follow your dream” post – those are ridiculous and impractical. This is a “find what makes you happy” story so you can try to incorporate more of that into your life. Anyway, thanks for reading this very different type of post and I can’t wait to share more Leaf and Paw with you.
Join the conversation
So glad to have found your blog! Also happy you are pursuing what you love. I have found that focusing on my gardening has really helped me cope with the pandemic as well. I have always found plants and orchids therapeutic, but my hobby has taken on a new urgency this spring and summer. I have also started turning my passion into (very) small-scale side hussle, but with a new baby and a career that I really do enjoy I think it will stay that way, but I envy your strength, courage and vision in pursuing this full-time. I stumbled on your blog because I just got my first variegated Hoya kerrii on ebay today and I was looking for info on how to grow it. Very helpful! I will certainly keep following!
You sound like you have many things that bring you joy Jonah! That’s awesome. And good luck with your side hustle! I feel like plants really are helping a lot of people, including myself, cope with this insane world.
Wow. Wow. Wow.
I identify with this – and you – on an incredible level. It’s even more incredible that I landed on this page today completely by coincidence.
I just picked up another Calathea and thought I should read up about them. After finishing your Calathea Guide I clicked on this post at the bottom, thought “eh, this might be interesting.”
I also have chronic anxiety that I’ve only started to accept and deal with in the last year. In that same time my mom and I both started to garden, and my plant collection now takes up the whole back porch and every window sill in the house.
As far as not knowing what you want in life, I’ve been there. Maybe I still am, but for me it’s also that I’m afraid to really say what I want. It’s really fucking hard to bare your soul to the world.
TLDR: You are awesome for what you’re doing and especially for putting it out in the world.
Amanda, thanks so much for reading and I’m so happy you found plants. I was never afraid to say what I want, it was more I didn’t know what I wanted and didn’t want to take responsibility for not knowing, which is somehow worse. It was a bit of a mess and anxiety makes it a dumpster fire. Knowing that people like us are confronting this anxiety is amazing, and I feel like the more we see others admitting it the more we can all work on feeling better. <3
I will definitely follow your blog. Keep up this great job!
Loving this. Also just came across your page coincidentally because I was looking for confirmation that my monstera cuttings are alright to propogate.
It’s great to read that a career switch is working out so well for you. Reading about this inspires me to continue becoming a better plant mom and research opportunities in landscaping ?
Glad I can inspire Mel!
I’m so fascinated by plants for all the good reasons and timely enough during the pandemic, I decided to fill my home with plants. When I bumped into your blog by chance, I got even more inspired to care for my babies at home! I feel like I’m doing the right thing. My living room is becoming a tropical forest and my family loves it especially dog that monopolizes the sofa. She thinks she’s on vacation!
I love your blog. It’s so proactive in every way. You made a great choice switching career! I wish I could! I’m teaching online and the reason I brought nature home is to ease the stressful demand of staying on screen most of the time. Now, I could relax more seeing the greenery all around me. Working at home is not that bad anymore. Thanks to all my plants.
Thanks for sharing!
I think about doing this exact same thing everyday. Congrats on following your dream. I hope some day I can have the courage to follow my dreams like you have done. In the meantime I fantasize about starting a plant business and I’m having fun collecting and propagating “rare” plants. It’s been a fun learning experience for me and I appreciate stumbling upon this blog post. Thank you!
Hi!! I am so glad you took the plunge. This is your life and this new world allows us so much flexibility. I always love and plants. I came to your site because of my unreasonable love for Monstera, I grow some beautiful leaves and love leaves in general but Monstera fascinates me. I am growing one ewhich I propagated from one given to me by my Ikebana teacher. You like plants maybe flowers too. I am studying Ikebana and flowers and leaves and stems are a new adventure. Take a look at Ikebana (Sogetsu school) maybe you will take to it.
I love cats had one until recently but my dog is still alive and well. That is for my Paws side. Good luck Anastasia!
I literally have been obsessed with Ikebana! And I just love Monsteras too.
I completely identify with you! I have the same name (just spelled differently) and in some spots, it almost felt like you were channeling how the pandemic affected my life. Although for me, it started with a few succulents that I purchased last fall and then it moved to easy houseplants (I was on a search for a ZZ Plant) and then I don’t know what happened, but collection suddenly exploded!
That’s such an interesting spelling! Perhaps all of us “Anastasias” have some telepathic power with each other lol!
Thanks for sharing your story. Quitting corporate is definitely a tough decision that can feel incredibly risky, but when it’s to follow your heart you’ll find ways to make it work. You have a true gift and a lot of knowledge to share with the world and have just opened up a lot more time to be able to do this. Keep your head high and stay true to your dreams. Best of luck!
I love that you are following your dreams and wish you the best of luck! Thanks for sharing your plant/pet story!
Well done Anastasia on having the courage and following your heart. Plants and just being outside in my garden bring me so much peace. I feel so connected to the Earth and my heart brims with gratitude with all that she gives to us. ??️??????
Thank you Jill! I completely agree.
I finally lived in a place where I could start my first real big garden with like a bunch of varieties of veggies and it just happened to be a pandemic and I am stuck at home alot too. I found going outside and gardening to be so incredible. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to stay home much longer and I’m in an apt but your latest post about the carts gets me a reason to maybe finally try doing some small gardening!! Anyway, congrats to you. Your mental health is so much more important.
This is literally exactly what I’m going through. I have a very fun job working in the medical cannabis industry and while that sounds like a dream to most, for me it’s becoming stressful and messy and some days a little uncomfortable. (I work with 15 boys). I want so badly to continue working with plants and to have peace in my heart and mind. You’re really an inspiration and I hope that soon i can figure out what I want to do next!!
This hit home. Hard. The feelings about the corporate job. The anxiety. The desire to be more hands on with animals and nature. I’m amazed at how this mirrors exactly how I feel at this point in my life. Thank you for sharing your experience(s) with us.
This comment made my day, and I hope you are soon able to find that thing that makes you happy. 🙂