Never did I think I would quit a high-paying job at Goldman Sachs to pursue a career in social media — and yet that’s precisely what I did. Creative fulfillment was one of the biggest reasons I quit investment banking, and it taught me that happiness is worth more than the paycheck.

Coming from a middle-class Asian family, education always took prime importance. And my overriding experience in my early twenties was a drive for independence, wealth and success. I got hired by Goldman Sachs as a financial analyst at age 20, and I believed I had my dream job.

But during my five years at Goldman, I learned what kind of person I was, discovered what made me happy, and most importantly, understood what my priorities were. So even though I had it all, deep down I wasn’t satisfied. It took me three years to figure out that what I was feeling was not an everyday boredom or tiredness but a lack of internal fulfillment at my job.

Despite working with such a big name, I felt detached from the overall process. It’s not that I hated what I did, but I didn’t feel I was making a difference in a substantial way. Additionally, while it’s not like Goldman doesn’t give you enough vacations or breaks, the hours weren’t forgiving. To top it all off, when you work in such a highly competitive environment with some of the smartest minds, you are always racing against time to do better, which substantially contributes to you working longer hours.

In the rush and strict structures of the corporate world, my creativity took a backseat. I stopped asking questions. All I wanted to do was to do my job well and move up the ladder. But the stress got to me, and I found an interesting way to de-stress was blogging. In fact, that was my first tryst with social media. I could experiment, design and explore.

As I grew older, the need for having non-monetary fulfillment started to take precedence. I started envisioning a life where I could eat healthy, workout every day, have control of my time, pursue a hobby and spend time with family, so I decided to make a shift. It wasn’t easy to transition between industries, and multiple factors made it very challenging.

First of all, complacency sets in. Financial perks and stability made it really hard to quit. Secondly, the uncertainty of what's next weighed heavily on my mind. I was sure I didn’t want to be in finance, but I didn’t know what jobs existed out there that could utilize my skills in the best way possible. In fact at that time, a job like “social media marketer” didn’t even exist.

However, I knew if I had to make a change, the validation and hard work had to come from me. I persisted to learn more about the social media industry. After a year, brands started to notice my blog. Seeing that success, a few of my friends who had their own startups asked me to help them grow their social media presence.

The experience I got working hands-on for small startups was what made me realize that I had to be part of this space. Don’t get me wrong, Goldman is a great place to work if finance is your cup of tea. It just wasn't mine.

In 2017, I launched my own digital marketing company. Within a year, I was lucky enough to work with some great clients and finally call it a sustainable business. In a snapshot, this may sound like a success story — but trust me, the journey wasn’t an easy one. It took me five years to convince myself to quit my cushy job and another three years to successfully establish a company in a completely different industry.

Having said all that, if there is one thing I have learned through this journey, it’s that you shouldn’t settle. Life is too short to live any differently. It can be hard. But even if it means saving up, asking for help and getting a mentor, I say do whatever it takes.

Nupur Singh is a social media and growth strategist. She runs her own consulting company, En Creative Media.

workplace Creative fulfillment was one of the biggest reasons I quit investment banking, and it taught me that happiness is worth more than the paycheck. Photo: Pixabay