In Her Words
Jumping off the Ladder
A decision that was a long time coming brings long-term satisfaction
By: Mayra David
The plan after college was to get a job while working creatively on the side. I wanted to write and do theater, but I needed a day job to pay off my student loans and make the rent in Manhattan.
A job at a real estate firm seemed as good as any, since I wouldn’t like it anyway. I was right – but somehow I grew attached to it. It was a 9-to-5 job that allowed me to flex my creative muscles during the evenings and weekends. That’s all I’d wanted.
Then I got promoted. As assistant to one of the top brokers at the firm I was earning twice as much, showing spectacular properties and meeting fabulous people. The work environment – while stressful and cutthroat – taught me organization, professionalism and killer negotiation skills. But I no longer wrote in the evenings, because all I could do was crash into bed. And I was working weekends too.
For all the satisfaction of a job well done, I was miserable. I set a dollar figure in my head and told myself that once that cushion was in the bank, I’d leave my job to pursue more fulfilling work. But I reached the number and found that, at any given moment, I was either too comfortable or too drained to quit.
Then my boss got into building development – a new venture that meant two years of consistent sales for us. I saw the next 24 months of my life and realized I’d been given a sign. It was a decision three years in the making, but I finally said, “I think it’s time for me to move on.” Then I jumped off the ladder – and never looked back.