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Going in Blind - Why I decided to leave my corporate job to pursue my dream career.

What's up queens! I hope you had an amazing day today and that your week is straight up fabulous. I've been wracking my brain trying to think of what to write for our first official blog post (can we take a minute to talk about how cool that is? like I'm a blogger now, what frickin world are we living in?) and I feel like it's appropriate to start the blog off talking about how I ended up as a full time wedding and event planner.

For 7 years I worked in what everyone calls the "corporate world". I started out as an Information Technology Coordinator and worked myself up to being a Technical Services Manager within the IT Department of the company I was working for. Here is where most people would say "my job was boring" or "the people were terrible so I decided to leave", but I actually genuinely enjoyed my job! Was it stressful and rough at times? Sure, but most big girl jobs tend to be. It's where I met a lot of my best friends, one of my mentors and most importantly my husband (scandalous right? I'll save that story for another time).

Our team environment was like nothing I had worked in before. We were always joking around, pulling minor pranks on each other in the office, and most importantly we always had each others backs. It's literally the kind of team environment you dream of being a part of. As a woman working in a normally male dominated industry, I felt nothing but encouragement and support from my teammates and boss. I still miss being in my office and having one of the guys (or girls) stop by and just catching up on life with each other and shooting the shit. This job also came to me at a point in my life where I desperately needed direction and purpose. I was in my 20's living in East Nashville without a dollar to my name, so naturally falling into a job and a new family environment was easy for me. My job became my identity and I like to believe I worked very hard to accomplish many things during my tenure. I learned a lot about project and time management, how to correctly handle escalations, the right way to interact with vendors, and much more.

So why did I leave my well paying, super awesome and fun corporate job? The simple answer is in what I stated previously - it became my identity. I did a lot of soul searching during my time there, got myself into therapy and had to do a lot of self reflection to realize that while this job was awesome and fun - who was I outside of my corporate persona? What kind of life was I leading? What was I doing with my time and the most important question of all was - after 7 years was I still happy? Because at that point it was either shit or get off of the pot - this was going to be my life long career or I had to figure out what genuinely made me happy.

If you ask any of our friends or family they'll tell you that we throw some mean parties. When we invite you into our home, it's not just a party, it's a Mike and Jenn experience. My heart has always been in hosting and making sure people are having the best time, even if it's just coming over to play card games. I had also done a lot of events as a side hustle for a while- helping people with their weddings, anniversaries, life celebrations, etc. and I loved it. LOVED it. If my weekends weren't spent helping people with their parties, I was constantly dreaming of throwing weddings and making Pinterest boards of my ideas and researching cool venues. The event planning bug had successfully bit me, and it bit me hard.

I had jokingly thrown around the idea of starting a event planning business with my sister when my family was in town one weekend, and for some reason that "joke" of an idea stuck in my brain. I did some research into the industry, what it would cost to start a business, and mulled over the idea until I did what every girl does - I asked my best friend about it. Amber and I have been friends for about 15 years now. She has seen me through my darkest and worst times, so if anyone was going to tell me that this was a stupid idea it would be her. Mike and I had already kind of planned everything out and what our next steps would be if I were to go down this path, but I really just wanted to hear from someone outside of the two of us who would be brutally honest and open about it. So one night on her back porch I brought it up to her and her partner Joe, and to my surprise, they both were SUPER on board with the idea. We started pitching the idea to our closest friends and relatives and we got the same responses back: "OMG that's such a solid idea!" "You would be so great at it!" "I'm surprised you haven't been doing this all along!". When you're met with such positive and supportive responses from literally everyone in your life, how can you not take a chance and see if this is really the path that was meant for you.

Thus, Effortless Event Planning (we call it EEP for short) was born. With the support of my insanely incredible husband, I took a chance and decided to leave my corporate job to pursue what had been lingering in my heart for decades. I started by getting a minimal activity business license, drafted up a contract, made my website/social media accounts, and then I took on my first official client. Your clients will teach you a lot about yourself and your work ethic, especially if you're in a state of "Holy crap I just changed my entire life and I don't even know if I'm good at this stuff". It turns out, I was really good at doing this professionally. My clients were a super sweet local couple who were looking for a day-of-coordinator for their big day. When I met with them initially we just clicked. It was like we had been friends for decades and it was so much fun working together. I remember driving back from their amazing wedding around midnight and I was SOBBING. Like straight up ugly crying with snot flying everywhere. I was on my feet for 12 hours straight in heels (I'll be writing a blog about tips and tricks for your first event that includes what to wear, so stay tuned! Hint: don't wear heels, worst mistake of my life), but every ounce of sweat and pain was worth it when my sweet bride came up to me and said "Thank you so much Jenn, this was everything I had hoped and dreamed of". I got in my car and immediately fell apart. This was a full circle moment for me. I was finally doing the thing that gave me life and genuinely made me happy. It was what I was always meant to do with my life, and the reality of it was just incredible. The huge leap of faith that I had felt pushed to take worked out in ways that blew my mind and changed my entire life.

I will always be forever grateful for my corporate job and the incredible people I met there. The lessons I learned during my tenure there have transferred over into my business in ways I didn't expect. There aren't enough "thank you's" I can say to cover how eternally grateful I am for the experience I gained there. However, I'm so happy I took this chance on myself and ran for it. I do miss my old job at times, but being able to do what I truly love has been overwhelmingly amazing. It feels great to be on this journey! To have the opportunity to share the ups and downs with all of you has been nothing short of awesome and absolutely terrifying.

So TLDR - Why did I leave my corporate job? To find myself, my identity and my genuine passion in life. I'm happy and so proud to say "Hi, my name is Jenn and I'm an event and wedding planner for the Nashville area." If you want my advice, go with your gut. There's generally a reason why we feel the push to go outside of our comfort zones and to take huge leaps of faith. Be the person who just went for it. I promise you'll become the person you've always dreamed of being.

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