So I Quit My Day Job

 

Why I made the choice to move on from lululemon after almost 10 years

lululemon series | part two

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3487 Days | 498 Weeks | 115 Months | 10 Years (almost)

How long I worked for lululemon

One of the first questions I receive when people hear I’ve moved on from lululemon is “why did you leave?”

It’s an obvious first question to ask. Just like myself, I’m sure you’ve asked people this kind of question many times.

For me, this question often leads to a story since, well, that’s who I am. So, because I also enjoy writing, I’ve turned that story into this blog post.

If you’re curious or just enjoy following along, this ones for you. I hope you enjoy this look into why after nearly 10 year, I decided to say goodbye to my comfort zone and move on from lululemon.


I loved my time with lululemon but as I mentioned in this post, I never planned to be there long. My goals were heavily focused on building my own business but as the store became my second home, leaving became harder and harder.

I’m the type of person who puts 150% into their work. This made it beyond tricky to give my business and lululemon the attention they both deserved. You can’t work at 300% forever ;-) . Instead, for years it looked like me giving lulu most of my energy and my business whatever I had left.

When I launched ldotdesigns.com at the end of 2017 and continuing through 2018 I focused on my business HARD and gave it all I had. I remembered weeks on end, working full time hours at the store and then coming home and continuing to work non-stop on my businesses. 60-80 hour weeks became the norm and for me, that’s far from sustainable. The burn out clouds started to threaten.


In September, I took on a new role at lululemon called Store Business Lead (SBL) which I absolutely loved. It was a role that I had always wanted to do but never spoke up about because it should go to someone who had goals with the company right? Side note: most people who had “goals with the company” never ended up being with the lulu even half as long as I was. Oh the irony of life.

When the opportunity to take on store business lead came up, I offered to help out until it was filled but instead immediately got given the role. Because SBL was doing things I loved and knew I was good at, this wasn’t a big deal. I was however extremely concerned about how it would impact my business.

I knew in my heart I couldn’t sustain giving this new role my all while also focusing on growing ldotdesigns as much as I had been. I also knew I was planning on moving on from lululemon in the next year and wanted to give it everything I had before I left. Once again, I chose lululemon before my business and stepped into my new role.

My business fell to the sidelines as I navigated my new position and put 200% into it. I worked my butt off and when my weekends came around I either continued working on lululemon stuff or didn’t have anything left to give.

As much as I wanted to focus on growing my design business, I was loving my new role. It was the perfect opportunity to give back to the store and learn more about a different side of lululemon.

I worked hard through the SBL day to day tasks from the end of September through early January when things shifted a bit, making it an even better fit as a transitory role.

What was this shift? I got the opportunity to work on an extra special project for the store that fused my design skills with my knowledge and love for lululemon. How freaking cool is that!


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What was this shift? I got the opportunity to work on an extra special project for the store that fused my design skills with my knowledge and love for lululemon. How freaking cool is that!

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This project was what we called the “Development Journal” which was basically a learning resource/ journal that would be gifted to every member on the team. Think: internal resources, goal setting, book recommendations, and so many other juicy things.

The “Development Journal” was a massive project (a 316 page book) that took me most of January and February to complete. It was full of learnings, sleepless nights, stress, and tears but I wouldn’t give up the experience for anything. I put my heart and soul into it and I’m beyond proud of how it turned out. If you haven’t checked it out yet, I wrote more about this project over here.

As absolutely amazing as the Development Journal project was, after 150+ hours on top of working full time ...I WAS EXHAUSTED.

Like burn out exhausted.
Don’t make me work exhausted.
No more creativity exhausted.

Additionally to being a wee bit burnt out, I also stepped back into my educator role as transition happened in the store. The role I had loved so much for the last 6 months got passed off to someone who, you guessed it, had goals within the company.

Now, I think it’s important to say this was totally fine with me. If I’m being completely honest, SBL had been a huge distraction from ldot designs (as I’m sure you’ve gathered). The move back into a less involved role meant I could actually get back to focusing on my goals i.e. making my business my 100% full time gig.

When I left, the gal who took it on was doing a great job of the role (shout out to Kendra!). I also got to train her which was super cool and meant any systems I created for the store could live on. Passing the torch was an excellent opportunity to move forward with my life while also supporting the store.

That all being said, it wasn’t all sunshine and roses. Having to “step back down” into the role I had been doing for most of the nearly 10 years I’d been with lululemon all of a sudden felt like a little bit of hell to me. It really woke me up to the fact that I wasn’t learning or growing there anymore (and truth time, probably hadn’t been for a long time).

I also realized that maybe one of the reasons I couldn’t grow my business after all these years was the split focus. I couldn't give it a real go because I always had lulu to fall back on.

If I felt like hanging out, I deserved it because I worked hard at lulu.
If I was tired, it was OK because I was on my feet working at lulu.
If I wasn’t feeling creative, no biggy, I had been creative merching at lulu.

And all these things were really OK because I would still have a pay cheque even if I didn’t work on my business. My decision to stay with lululemon to be responsible, meant not great things for my goals. lulu was easy and safe.

I was hard core stuck in my comfort zone and knew the only way I could move forward with life was to (finally) move on from slinging those stretchy pants.

But how could I afford to move on? I NEEDED lululemon to sustain my life while I tried to build my business on the side.

That was the lie I was telling myself. Well, maybe not a lie. I truly believed it. But I had never crunched the numbers.

When I finally did a deep dive into my finances, I was pleasantly surprised. I had enough saved to easily get by for 6-9 months. On top of that, I would be able to pay off debt, travel and maybe even still have some saved. I couldn’t believe it!

And so I began to set a date.

Well, like anything uncomfortable, I kept putting it off.


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I was hard core stuck in my comfort zone and knew the only way I could move forward with life was to (finally) move on from slinging those stretchy pants.

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In the beginning of February, I made the decision I was going to move on.

I was still working hard to finish the Development journal and interviewing to stay on as SBL. I decided if I didn’t get my contract extended, then maybe it was time to take the plunge. Now let me point out this wasn’t a “stops-my-feet-because-I-didn’t-get-the-role-so-I-quit” kind of decision. As I mentioned in the beginning of this blog post, I had realized it was time to move on back in September. I knew if I didn’t get this role, it might be a really good time to move on before I ended up taking on any other roles or projects in the store.

I knew I wanted to give more than two weeks notice and I still had to finish the journal so February was out.

March sounded like a good month but for financial reasons, I wanted to wait until the end of the month. I also felt like again, if I wanted to give a good amount of notice, it was a little too soon.

And so April it was! Woohoo! I made a decision! But wait I had vacation booked to go home to Calgary and I wanted to maximize my shifts before I left. I also kept dragging my feet in March and felt with an April end date, I AGAIN wouldn’t be able to give as much time as I would have liked.

Now at this point, I was starting to get a little frustrated with myself and knew if I was going to make this happen, I had to take the plunge. Even though I decided I wouldn’t be moving on from lulu in April, I made sure to bring up giving my notice during my performance evaluation on March 27th. This gave me some accountability as well as felt like a relief and a step forward. FINALLY!

So May it ACTUALLY was. May 11th to be exact. But again, as my brain struggled to cope with this upcoming big change, I pushed my end date one more time. Not only was my boyfriend Matt going to be away on my last day but he was also going to be moving on from lululemon the following week. I loved the idea of our last days happening together. Our last day became Saturday May 18th. Then we had the thought: “Is a Saturday REALLY the ideal day for our last shift?” We decided probably not (if you’ve ever been in a lulu on a Saturday, you know what I mean) and made the FINAL FINAL decision to have our last day on Tuesday May 21st.

PHEW!

As I’m sure you can now see, I REALLY kept putting it off. It’s funny how our brains do that when we’re trying to do something uncomfortable ;-).

Well, you know what they say: what is meant to be will be. After all the ups and downs and deciding when to leave, I really believe our end date was actually the perfect choice.

Matt and I had a trip booked for an adventure to Cabarete in the Domninican Republic to celebrate his birthday and the next faze of our lives. His birthday was June 1st and our trip left on June 3rd. What a May 21st end date meant was a week to get sorted and ready. It also gave me time to prepare for Matt’s birthday and him time to finish a course he had been working on.

And so, May 21st came and went and my time with lululemon drew to a close.


 

And so, May 21st came and went
and my time with lululemon drew to a close.

 

I’ve been living my #bestlife since I left lululemon.

It’s given me...
the freedom to go on spur of the moment trips,
the energy to focus hard on my business,
and the space to take care of myself.

I am beyond proud of myself for making this change. It was a long time coming and I still can’t believe I did it.

Lululemon will always be a huge part of who I am. It’s where I grew up and became the person I am today. It’s home. For that, I’ll always be grateful.

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P.S. Did you like this post? Great! To celebrate this big step in my life, I’ll be sharing a shwack of lululemon posts coming your way over the next couple weeks. You can check the first couple out below ♥

P.P.S. If you haven’t already given it a looksy, check out this post all about my legacy project- the Development Journal I created for the Victoria store.

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