Being sick of work (literally)
A lot of people dream about being able to escape the 9 to 5 for the dream of entrepreneurship. As long as I can remember this was me. Since I was a child, I’ve always wanted to be my own boss and run my own business. I was one of the lucky few who got that chance but little did I know what I was really in for. Before I dive into how becoming an entrepreneur made me sick, let me share a bit of a background.
The Back Story
When I started college I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I had always wanted to be a CEO but didn’t really know what that meant other than I got to make all the rules and be my own boss. I decided to go to school for business. One associates degree and bachelors degree later I was working in business, well, sort of.
I got a job at a very reputable company. This was the kind of company that you only heard good things about. I would talk to customers daily and literally hear “I love “company name”” almost daily, no joke. It was a prestigious organization and a company that everybody could not be a customer (membership-based).
Anyway, about a year into the job, I started looking for new jobs and over the next 6 years I would go through bouts of looking for a new job. I was super selective but right when I would start to get into the job hunt, I’d have a growth opportunity and I’d stop the search.
I had several lateral job opportunities and I got a chance to learn a lot and get trained in several areas but it just didn’t stimulate me enough. I decided I wanted to be self employed so about 18 months before I quit I started looking for an online income opportunity.
I was pretty desperate.
I would do anything (legal, of course) to make money online. I did many things including:
- My first attempt at flipping websites
- Selling Twitter fans
- Writing for content mills
- Opening an e-commerce store
The last one stuck! A ran the e-commerce store for a year before I was making enough to replace my 9 to 5 income so I quit! Prior to quitting, I had all these big plans for how I’d be super organized, be so happy working from home, no longer needing to check in for doctor’s appointments, having freedom to take as many breaks or long lunches as I wanted, etc.
Before I quit
I was really passionate about the business. Before quitting, my schedule was like this:
- 5am: wake up
- 5am-5:45am: nurse my son
- 5:45am-6:45am: get ready for work, eat breakfast
- 6:45am: hit the road
- 7:50am: arrive at work
- 8am-6:30pm: work
- 7pm: make it home
- 7:30pm: take a shower/eat dinner/spend time with family
- 9pm: start e-commerce store work
- 2am: go to bed
I didn’t mention, I also worked on the e-commerce store at work during breaks and lunches. I was so thrilled when I quit to take control over my schedule and live a more enjoyable lifestyle. Little did I know, my schedule got worse!
After I quit
As I said, I was super passionate about the e-commerce store. I lived, breathed, ate, and slept the store. It was fulfilling, I was seeing results and growth and I received income every single day! It was awesome.
What happened after being an entrpreneur and how I became sick
I neglected my family. I overworked myself. I lost all my healthy habits. I gained 15 lbs within a few months of quitting.
I did get the chance to be home more and see my little guy grow up but when I watched him I was glued to my phone the entire time and people noticed. I never thought I was a bad mom and I wasn’t but I could have done better. Keeping my eye on the prize (my business) made me feel like I was being responsible, making money and taking care of my family but there was no balance.
People talk about work life balance and I used to pay it no attention but it really matters!
To make things “fair” I made my husband take turns watching our little one on a schedule. He was a student (didn’t work) and went to school at night so we were both home all day once I quit. He would have my son 3 days a week and I would have him 4 days a week. Taking shifts made us grow apart. We didn’t spend much family time together and our weekly date nights and dinners together quickly ended.
I didn’t mind it, I was obsessed with my business and didn’t really see what was happening.
I was overworking myself like crazy. I didn’t feel it much. Getting 2 or 3 hours of sleep a night didn’t bother me much but I didn’t know I was taking out my exhaustion on my family.
Healthy habits lost
I quit eating fruits and veggies on the regular. This might not seem like a big deal but I used to eat super healthy when I worked for my employer. I even ate 6-7 times a day but because it was mostly healthy stuff (fruit for breakfast with green tea, 1 coffee black during the day, fruit and veggie snacks, salad lunches, 1 sweet for dessert most nights) I maintained my weight and didn’t gain any weight in the last 7 years.
I started drinking coffee loaded with cream and splenda 5-6 times per day. I ate while I worked, which caused me to overeat. I drank 3-4 diet sodas per day (yes diet soda is bad for you, even if it’s zero calories) and I stopped working out.
The Perfect Storm and How I Ended Up in the ER
The day before I ended up in the ER, I was at the pool on a summer day with my son. We swam for a few hours. It was a fun day, a normal summer day. The next day I woke up and couldn’t stand up straight without having a killer throbbing headache. I also had back and neck pain and was nauseus. I had to lie completely flat to tolerate it all. I went to the ER 3 times over the course of the next month. Yes, a month!
I was sick for a month!
The doctors checked me, x-rayed me, tested me, drew my blood, etc. What was the cause? No true cause was given to me and I led to believe it was caused from the stress of overwork.
I slowly returned to normal, getting better incrementally over the course of the next 30 days. It was a horrible experience and I hope to never experience that again.
I lightened my load and tried to be healthier over the next few months. I tried to get more sleep, take breaks, and take care of myself. I didn’t get sick again but I did almost lose my marriage. My husband came to me telling me about his unhappiness, being neglected, etc.
I was truly shocked.
So into my business over the past year, I didn’t realize what was going on around me. Fast forward to now, I feel grateful (sort of) about the experience I had. Had all that not happened, I might still be addicted to my business.
Hubby and I worked things out and today, we’re happier than ever, married 8 years, together for 13 years. I overcame some additional hurdles over the past few years including my mother being diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and losing her battle a year later, then having my 2 year old being diagnosed with autism just one month later.
Experiences make you stronger and through it all, I feel wiser and grateful for the blessings that have come my way.