It can take years to find a job where you can make a good living, and it can be even harder to find a job where your voice is heard and respected. I miraculously found that job when I was 20, and I walked away from it, because I was still totally miserable.

I worked at a company that did internet tech support, and looking back, I’m not even sure how that happened. I have little to no IT skills, and if the solution to the call got more in depth than “turn it off, and turn it back on,” I was out. For some reason that I have yet to understand, they decided to promote me to an open project manager position. The only thing I knew less about than IT was how to manage projects/people. I got into a groove though, and it turned out I was really good at the job. My clients loved me; I confidently contributed in meetings; I earned the respect of the male dominated office. Things were going well when I decided that no matter how much they paid me or how well I did, this was absolutely not what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to go back to school, and I wanted to work for Disney.

I’ve been a lifelong Disney fan, and going to Walt Disney World in Orlando was my semi-annual vacation. To me, nothing could beat working for that company. So I put in my two week notice, packed up the cat figurines on my desk, and left my job to follow my dream. These are a few of the things I wish I had known before I did that.

Your friends and family will probably think you’re crazy

When I told my family I was leaving that job to work at Disney, I got more than a few raised eyebrows. After all, I was moving to a new state where I didn’t know anyone to work at a theme park. It sounded crazy to most people, I’m sure, but those people have never seen Cinderella’s Castle during the fireworks. It’s absolutely breathtaking.

There will be times when you really regret it, and that’s OK

The homesickness set in immediately. I missed my salary, my friends, my town, everything. In the beginning I was still full of pixie dust, and I was confident with my decision. Eventually though, it became harder and harder to justify why I had made the move. That’s when I started regretting leaving my job. But I had to remember that even though my new situation wasn’t perfect, my old one wasn’t right either. Making a change was the right thing to do.

Remember that not everyone’s path is the same

Some people saw my decision as a move backwards. I took a pay cut and a job with less growth potential than the one I was in, and it just didn’t make a lot of sense. I always argued that it wasn’t a move backwards, but rather a move down a completely different road. You can’t let anyone else’s opinions dictate what you do with your life, because only you have to live with those decisions.

It’s totally OK if you fail

I would probably call my career at Disney a failure. I took a job at the front desk of one of their hotels with the hopes of networking and quickly moving up to a managerial position. Unfortunately for me, it’s one of the largest companies in the world, making it almost impossible to move up. That realization broke my heart at first. Had I wasted my time? Why was I even here? But honestly, it’s okay. I’ve had great experiences and met some of the most amazing people in the world whom I never would have met otherwise.

It’s also OK if you change your mind.

When Disney lost its magic for me, I started trying to figure out what to do next. I also started writing a lot, and I haven’t really stopped since. I get to talk about my life and things that interest me, and I get to share those things with the world. I get to explore every single thing I’m interested in through my articles. There is no cooler job. In the next month I’ll be leaving Disney and Orlando to pursue writing full time. My dream may have changed, but my determination has not. And this time it’s not a company I’m after; it’s a career I’m super passionate about.

[Image via Wikipedia]