Leaving my Desk Job to Pursue my Passion: Determined to Make a Change

Hi guys! How’s your day going? I hope it’s going splendidly:) I’m most likely off training a client on the other side of town – my last one of the night! 🙂

I’ve been getting quite a few emails lately on how I made the transition from working at a desk job to working in the fitness field. I have it all documented here on the blog, but some in one post, some in another, and so on. Instead of writing back multiple emails on the same (ish) topic, I figured a post would be helpful for those who are looking to make a related decision or just interested in my story! 🙂 Since it’s kind of a long story and I can get pretty wordy, I’m separating it into two separate posts for your and my sanity 😉


Growing up, I’ve always been interested in physical activity. Never one to lay idle, I’ve always participated in something active. Whether it was softball, soccer, volleyball, running, sand volleyball or WHAT have you, being active has always been FUN for me. I love the endorphins. I love pushing my body to the limits. I love seeing myself get physically better at something with practice. It’s rewarding and it’s pretty damn fun. Honestly, if I could show as many people as I could that being active and pushing yourself can be fun and rewarding, I’d be one happy girl.

I’d just never thought about turning that passion into a career. My dad was a corporate man my whole life. He accomplished many great things at the 40+ years he was at his corporate company. From factory worker to management, he was the epitome of middle America corporate life. That way of thinking was somewhat instilled in me. I needed to go to college, graduate in four years, and then get a desk job in the corporate world. That was the plan, and I never really thought about it too much. I thought I was going to be some big time reporter for a while, but that fizzled – and that’s a whole ‘nother story. (heh)

After I graduated college with a journalism degree and minors in comm studies and Spanish, all of the sudden, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I knew I wanted to stay around the area, so I just started applying everywhere. About a month after graduation, I got a job at a high end department store where I was promoted toa department manager after three months. Then three months after that, I started working at the BIC (though fun at times, retail was NOT for me.) Throughout this whole ordeal, I’d go to the gym daily, attend fitness classes, work out to DVD’s, and lift weights – even though I had no clue what I was doing.

At first I loved working at the BIC. I met TONS of amazing people there, and it was pretty laid back. I worked, but wasn’t over worked. Coffee breaks were frequent and the group lunches were pretty fun. It wasn’t until I got my promotion at the BIC to project planner that it hit me – I was on the fast track to making this my life. Me, working 40 hours a week, behind a computer, in a cubicle. While that’s a great career path for some, it just doesn’t scream Paige.  I liked the job, the people, the atmosphere, but I knew exactly what it was lacking (for me.) Passion. It was kind of a frightening realization. I was enthralled with my salary, and it made it very tempting to stay. So I did. For almost a year and a half longer.

Then, things sort of went downhill. I won’t go into detail because I don’t want to dog the company, but the work PILED on, and since times are tough, the compensation for it didn’t. I was exasperated. You could probably sense my underlying unhappiness in my posts around December of last year. It was all the sudden, too.

What I didn’t know then was that it was going to end up being a blessing in disguise. See, people can be mildly unhappy with their jobs for quite some time. The stress adds up and adds up, but if one isn’t pushed to their limit, some times they’ll just stay put and deal. Well I’d been pushed, so to say, enough to do something about it. Pushed, driven, and determined to change it.

Around this same time, I’d been taking a course on becoming an ACE Certified personal trainer, and I’d passed the ACE exam to get my certification. When I signed up for the class, I thought, “this would be a cool class to take – who knows what could happen!”

So I started applying to gyms. I applied to many gyms around town and luckily for me, the trainer at a gym by my house had just quit, and the owner was looking for a new trainer.  After one interview and a mock training session, I was hired! I chose to take the position and I got my first client in a couple weeks, then another, and another. I was still working at the BIC, so eventually this schedule began to take its toll on my mental wellness, social life, housework, and even my marriage. My clients would start as early as 5:00 a.m. some days, and from there I’d go straight to work, and then back to the gym afterward for another few hours for more clients – and this was working 5 days a week at a full time job! I questioned myself a LOT during this time. WHAT had I gotten myself into…

The husband saw how the stress was affecting me and after a while, we determined that I had enough clients that I could quit at BIC if I wanted. Plus, the owner of the gym agreed to let me work staff at the gym a few hours a week which not only helped with some extra cash, but also the client-trainer face time.

The next day Not too long after that, I decided that’s what I needed to do. So I did it. I submitted my resignation and quit my full time job and accepted all of the risks that come with that action…


Whenever I have doubts, I always come back to a very simple and obvious piece of advice I heard years ago:

If you want something badly enough, you’ll find a way to make it happen for you. No excuses.

This phrase has SO much truth to it. No matter what excuse you have, if you want something badly enough, you can MAKE it happen! Especially with all the tools we have in this day and age! Just start going for it – even if it’s little by little 🙂

What excuse do you need to remove from your life right now to get what you want?? I want to start teaching group fitness classes, but the course I was planning on taking for it was dropped due to low attendance. That’s my current excuse for dragging my feet, but in reality, there are many other options I can use to make this happen.


20 Responses

  1. paige, this post is so inspirational! i am so proud of you for going after your dreams 🙂

  2. Last night, I was reading an article in SELF on this same thing: there’s a big trend lately, with women especially, going after a job that they’re passionate about rather than staying where they are.

    It’s inspiring, that’s for sure. I’m not happy where I am and am doing everything I can to move on, with most steps proving futile. But each day is a new one, right?

  3. Paige, I agree with Janetha, and I’m especially proud of you. Change is scary to many people, but you made a big one to do something about which you are passionate. And… you are using your writing skills and education. Good job!

  4. I love this! I’m definitely hoping to make a career change within the next year. I’m tired of being unhappy and having to passion for what I’m doing.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. My dad has worked at the same factory for almost 30 years and he has moved to an office job there within the past 10 years. I think you are so brave to do what makes you happy and not what others think you SHOULD do. 🙂

  6. Amazing inspiring post! I just posted about my new job and this couldn’t have come at a more perfect time!! Love!

  7. Wow. I seriously have chills. Reading this – its as if I am reading my own thoughts on my current job situation. I SO want to turn my passions into a career, its scary but I’m getting to that point where it’s like – do I just DO this and find a way to make it work? Clearly it can be done…you are totally inspiring me. I have no words.

  8. Like Ashley said, I couldn’t have read this at a better time. I need to thank Jessica for sending me your way. This is very inspiring and energizing for me. Thank you so much for taking the time to share.

  9. Ohhh, you know I love this post!!! I too had fleeting dreams of being a hard hitting reporter 😉 You have been such an inspiration to me in my journey, and I’m excited that we’ve been able to pursue our fitness dreams together!!

  10. Thanks for sharing your story! I just got my first desk job and am sort of freaking that I’ll be stuck in it if I don’t like it. It’s good to know nothing has to be forever!

  11. Great story! And AMEN! I cut back on my hours at work so I could spend more time teaching and I’m so glad I did. You can totally cert for group fitness in different ways. Have you ever thought about certifying for a specific program vs. getting general group fitness? Email me and we can chat! Hope you have a great day ❤

  12. go get it girl! you rock!!! i love this story 🙂

  13. This is exactly what I needed to read today. Moving out to SF was just the first step toward my big goal/pursuit and I’ve found myself questioning whether I made the right decision. I know I’m going to pursue something I am more passionate about, but veering away from the norm is pretty scary. It’s reassuring to hear other people’s success stories! 🙂

  14. […] Paige’s posts about pursuing her passion: Part 1 […]

  15. […] A week ago, I answered some questions on how I transitioned from working a desk job to working in the fitness field. It got pretttty lengthy, so I dissected it into two parts. You can read the first part of my story here. […]

  16. […] Then I went back to my desk job, but with the amount of working hours cut in half […]

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