Staring off into the distance thinking about that money…

I just turned down a six-figure salary

…Which sounds kinda crazy when I type it out.

But it’s been a week, and still, no regrets! Here’s why:

I value my flexibility.

Which means working for myself suits me — way more than answering to leadership and sacrificing my schedule to be online when someone else wants me to.

Obviously working remote, for yourself, with no manager harping you about deadlines has its challenges. Surely, you’re familiar with some of them.

👉 Creating structure for your days so flexibility doesn’t swiftly turn into loosely ‘working’ willy-nilly and not really getting much done.

👉 Practicing discipline which is oh so hard when you are completely on your own (I’m in the market for a writing mentor — know anyone?).

👉 Doing the leg work of networking and finding clients that will actually pay you for your hours of professional training and years of experience.

I’m staying at my friend’s place right now and watching them crawl through the 9–5 (which is more like 8–6) rat race affirms this even more: I wouldn’t trade a flexible life for more money.

I tend to thrive in malleable, unconventional situations. I think on some level I crave a lifestyle with a certain amount of instability. Which is why freelancing and cultivating a flexible, WFH, nomadic day-to-day life suits me right now.

I value creative work.

The six-figure position would have been doing research — which meant I would have actually been using my four year social science degree, finally. But very little to no creative work.

In my last startup role I took on a managerial role, aka setting up tons of systems and processes, communications, and strategy. Again, very little to no creative work.

I relished the times when the designer was too busy and I got to mock up blog thumbnails in Canva. Like mini paintings that were an expression of my caged creativity, confined to a little box left in the crawl space.

After I left that position and dug the box out of the basement, I vowed to never put my creativity there again.

I value my energy.

Startups are a one way ticket to burnout, unless you are SUPER passionate and have high energy for the product. Even then, you can easily overdo it.

I learned this because I’ve been down that road.

I stopped freelancing the first time to pursue an exciting opportunity at a startup (which taught me so much, and I am very grateful), and 1.5 years later I was bunt to the bone. I had no mental space left for anything else. I lost touch with my creativity.

Having the mental energy to create, imagine, and explore is so important. And taking the time to develop yourself personally and professionally is invaluable. It’s not something I would trade for any amount of gold.

It’s important that you know, I’m a single woman in my 20’s with no plans to have kids. I’m relentlessly and selfishly pursuing my career. And I know many people who dream about my lifestyle (because the grass is always greener), but they wouldn’t necessarily fit the bill.

Turning down a stable, well-paying job isn’t the right choice for everyone.

Don’t get me wrong: I am not in a good financial position. And I have BIG dreams for my wealth. So I know that I need to $ hustle $ now to invest in my future — and I’m ready to do just that. On my own terms, with my own business.

Because, for me, that’s living in alignment. I hope that you’re living that too — whatever it may look like.

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Kaya Lemaire

Kaya Lemaire

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Thoughts and stories about Wellness, Health, and Self-Improvement | I research life-changing topics and break ’em down for you.