This Was Not Part Of My Five Year Plan

*Like the side hustle article this was also originally published on LinkedIn but also feels relevant for the blog :).

If I were to meet myself from five years ago, I feel I might not recognize her — at the very least, I’m almost certain she wouldn’t recognize the person I’ve become. Five years ago, like most college students, I was trying to navigate through life, to prove my worth to potential employers, and to figure out what it means to have a career. When I landed an internship at LinkedIn, I felt like I hit the jackpot — my career had been set. Little did I know how transformative my professional journey would be.

If you told me five years ago I would leave my job to pursue my own projects, that too in the wellness space, I would have looked back at you with a dumbfounded blank stare. That was never supposed to be in the cards for me. It was definitely not part of the the five year plan I had perfected to a T while preparing for my job interviews.

It’s serendipitous that my own wellness journey began right around the time I started at LinkedIn. In the last four years I’ve held three different roles in advertising, market research, and sales analytics, but that only covers a portion of my journey. I’ve also ran three half marathons, a handful of Turkey Trots, and an obstacle course race — all thanks to LinkedIn’s amazing wellness program! I’m grateful my passion and career coincided.

My career in wellness began with this simple blog about a year ago. Then I received my first group fitness certification, created an online community for women, worked with multiple brands and now, I’m developing a healthy Indian food recipe eBook with my mother. Only time will tell what else is in store for the future.

Perhaps ironically, the knowledge I have gained at LinkedIn is what has given me the confidence to leave. From writing content with some of our best marketers to learning how to tell stories with data, LinkedIn has given me the tools to succeed regardless on the role or industry I choose.

Not to say that I know everything quite yet. In fact, I have a huge learning curve ahead of me and I know there will be many restless nights during which I’ll question my decision to leave. I don’t know what success looks like for me yet, but I know this leap will get me one step closer to finding my version of it.

Thank you to all who have been with me through this incredible journey.

Why I’m Leaving My Job At LinkedIn

I haven’t talked much my full-time job as an Insights Analyst at LinkedIn much because it didn’t seem to be so relevant to a health and wellness blog (it kinda felt off brand, ya know?). That was my mistake thinking my personal journey doesn’t bring value to anyone else.

I want to share a bit more about me and my story because I think it’ll help you better connect to my mission and brand. And hopefully you find it interesting!

Soo my side hustle is going to become my full hustle. At least for now. I’m going to the wellness space for the next few months to see where it takes me next. Which means I’m leaving my job at LinkedIn in 3 weeks!

The background:

Like many of us in our mid-20s, I’ve always been someone who has had a plan and a set goal. It felt like life was all planned out for me until I started asking myself “Wait, is this how the rest of my life will feel like?” It was that nagging question that made me want to explore and take some risks. Which is odd because I’ve been so risk averse my entire life.

Though I may risk-averse, I am always honest with myself and those around me. If I’m feeling a certain way I can’t hide it. So when I started feeling a disconnected to my job (even when the company and the people were absolutely incredible) I knew I had to do something about it. I couldn’t fake it for much longer.

I knew I needed a change, and it took me a while before I figured out that I needed a HUGE change that makes me uncomfortable and pushes me to do something completely different. After months of thinking it through, I decided to quit my job to focus on my own wellness projects.

My wellness projects:

I have a feeling my journey will steer me in many different directions and there will be multiple ups and downs but there are three things in particular I want to focus on over the next few months:

+Growing the Citrus & Gold community: If you haven’t already checked out the C&G Girl Gang, you’re in for a real treat.
+Partnering with my mom to create a healthy Indian food recipe eBook: I’ll write a post on this soon!
+Gathering more knowledge: through certifications, consulting, and meeting others in the wellness space.

Sure I’m nervous, scared, and very uncomfortable but I’m also very happy & excited. This feels like the right decision and I am very grateful and privileged that I can take this leap. I encourage you to watch this space closely and I will be sharing many more updates and changes over the next few months. I can’t wait to take you along on this journey with me.

Why Every Young Professional Should Have A Side Hustle

This post is a little more buttoned up than my usual because I actually published this on LinkedIn first. It was kind of a big deal for me for a few reasons: One, publishing on LinkedIn adds a bit more pressure because all professional eyes are on you. It’s so much easier writing posts for my blog! Two, it was my first time I publicly mentioned my blog as a “side hustle”. Sure many people knew I had a blog, but I finally confessed that it’s much more than a hobby. It takes too much damn time to be a hobby. And finally, I work full-time at LinkedIn so it’s a big deal to me talking about what I do outside of my full-time job.

Hope you enjoy!

We millennials are known to want it all. We are known to be restless and a little naive, but I don’t think that’s necessarily bad.

Our itch to do more, be more, drives us closer to our dreams and goals. Yet the desire alone isn’t enough — we have to work for it.

Many of us have turned to side hustles: part-time gigs that supplement and complement our nine-to-five, and help us get closer to our long-term career and life goals. Some of us are creating our own clothing brands, others are picking up photography, blogging, or design. For others, the side hustle may be something as simple as working at a coffee shop or driving for a ride-sharing app. No matter what the hustle may be, almost all of them are stepping stones toward a larger goal.

Personally, I’ve been working a corporate job the last few years, and I’ve recently started to invest more in my passions by finding ways to monetize them. Alongside my full-time job as an insights analyst, I also teach group fitness and run my own wellness blog.

Side hustles are extremely beneficial when you are young and new in your career for a few reasons:

1. You appreciate your full-time job way more

The more you start investing in your side hustle, the more you come to appreciate the benefits from your full-time gig! With a side hustle, you don’t get the nice perks (goodbye health insurance and 401K!), you don’t have a team to lean on, and you may not even have the luxury of an office. It’s hard running your own business, and you sometimes forget the little (and the big) things you’ve been taking for granted. It’s a very humbling process.

2. You get to be your own boss — and learn from the good and bad

So you may miss out on the comforts of a corporate job, but with a side hustle you get to have 100-percent control over you and your business, which can be both terrifying and amazing. I’ve experienced more rejection, self-doubt, and excitement with my side hustles than I ever have with my full-time job. I’ve grown both personally and professionally from these key moments and I know these learnings will help with my career down the line.

3. You diversify your skill set

Many skills you pick up a corporate setting are very applicable to your side hustles, and vice versa. For example, public speaking is a skill I’ve always wanted to perfect — I’ve tried Toastmasters and other projects at my job, and they all helped to an extent. However, through teaching group fitness, I’ve seen a bigger improvement in my public speaking skills in the last couple of months than I have in the last few years; it’s because I threw myself into a job that forces me to get better.

4. You become a pro with time management

All right, so “pro” might be a stretch, but you do get much better with your time when you have more responsibilities added to your plate (just ask any new parent!). If you want to pursue your own idea and also keep your nine-to-five, you have to find a way to make it work. That may mean scheduling everything down to the hour, waking up earlier in the morning to work on your idea, or just being more efficient with your time (ie, not checking Instagram every hour…).

5. You professional network gets even bigger

Finally, through your side hustle, you expand and diversify your network. When you grow your professional network, you have the opportunity to learn and understand different perspectives from a wide variety of people. The breadth of your network can be very valuable; you are more aware about how other people work, you understand how business is conducted in different industries, and you have a chance to make new friends!

For those of you pursuing your own side hustles, what advice/learnings do you have from your personal experience?