How I quit my tech job and moved to Los Angeles

  • Dayana Sabatin worked in technology in Seattle and felt unhappy with her career.
  • She decided to drastically change her life – so she moved to Los Angeles without a clear plan.
  • Sabatin started out as a waitress, then was able to develop her full-time freelance writing job.

Four years ago, I was a finance specialist at a tech company in Seattle — in a cubicle for eight to 10 hours a day, and beyond misery. I decided that I wanted to change my life.

I always dreamed of living in a city like Los Angeles. So I made a plan and left my life in Seattle behind to move here.

Since then, I’ve built a life for myself in Los Angeles — I’m a writer, blogger, and YouTuber — but getting here has been a journey. I’ve heard stories of people moving to LA with less than $200 in their bank account, and I applaud them – but I wasn’t one of those people. I spent three months trying to pay off my school debt and save at least $10,000 for my move.

I set aside a specific amount of money for rent, car payment, phone bill, gas, and groceries from each paycheck. Everything else went to savings. The goal was to move with enough money in my bank account to feel comfortable until I could find another job. I didn’t give myself the opportunity to spend money on unnecessary things. I’m not a saver – I’m strictly a spender, so it was tough.

What helped me was knowing that I was heading towards something that would radically change my life. But most of the time, what got me through was knowing that I was only doing this because I wanted to. It was exhilarating.

I didn’t like the path I was on

When I was young my whole life revolved around the idea that I had to go to college, get a tech degree, get a good paying job, and sell my soul to the corporate world. I was homeschooled in high school, which allowed me to go to college for second year, and it was decided that because my cousin made the most of our family as a software engineer, I had to become one too.

I wasn’t the most confident growing up; I had no “passion” for anything. It was incredibly easy for me to be influenced by my family and everyone around me, because there was nothing specific I wanted to do with my life.

I had interests. I’ve always loved the idea of ​​becoming a writer, but those dreams seemed unrealistic in the world I grew up in.

The change was difficult for the people around me, but I was determined

When I moved to Los Angeles, I left behind everything I had ever known: my mother (who is also my best friend), my little sisters, my cousin who was also my roommate, my dog ​​and the friends I have. were done. I’ve always been a big introvert and making friends was a challenge, so the thought of having to make new friends was scary.

My family felt blindsided by the news of my move. When I told my cousin, she looked at me like I was crazy — my mother was afraid I was being kidnapped or being on my own because I didn’t know anyone. She didn’t like that I was so far away.

I told her it was my only chance to do something different and exciting with my life. I had my decision – I was going to Los Angeles. I’m incredibly indecisive, so feeling so sure about something felt weird, but good.

Some people in my life tried to stop me from going

My boss tried to stop me from quitting my job, promising me a six-figure salary if I stayed and kept my position as a financial specialist – I said “no thanks” – and my friends also tried to stop me. prevent it by telling myself that it would be extremely difficult to survive in Los Angeles. My ex even tried to get me to stay and then tried to convince me to take him with me.

When people hear that you’re chasing your dreams or doing something they don’t understand, they get jealous. Usually it’s because they’re unhappy with their own life, and the thought of someone else escaping and thriving bothers them.

When I saved enough, I found an apartment on Craigslist.

I moved to LA before I got an apartment, with about $9,000 in my bank account after paying for a hotel. I still remember the trip from Seattle to Los Angeles. I woke up at 4 am, delighted. I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing, and all those years before this moment had set me up to be where I was.

I doubt Craigslist is that safe these days, but I got lucky using it for my apartment search. The place I found was only 25 minutes from the beach and I had two great roommates – loved it.

I used LinkedIn to find a job and worked remotely for a tech startup for the first few months – I was making $2,000 a month and my rent was $1,200. My salary was enough to cover rent, food, and my coffee addiction, but the hours were infuriating. I felt like I was back in my box in Seattle. After a few months, I quit my job and took a job as a waitress in a trendy restaurant in Venice, where I earned about twice as much as before.

I was still pretty lost career-wise, but I was living a life that I really enjoyed and was building on my own terms. I met celebrities like Jillian Michaels, Paul Wesley, Emilia Clarke and Kevin Garnett. I met my boyfriend who introduced me to all his friends, and I went to the beach every day and ate amazing food.

I started writing on Medium and identified my passion for writing about self-improvement and relationships. The first few months I made a few dollars, those few dollars eventually turned into a few thousand dollars. Monetizing my content came after a lot of grinding and hustling. I contacted brands, did a lot of work for free, and eventually started getting paid here and there for sponsorships and writing articles. I quit serving once I made enough money writing.

Now I’m growing my lifestyle blog, YouTube channel, and working on my dating and relationship book. Eventually I want to publish more books – both fiction and non-fiction.

My goal is to be financially free

I want to be able to take care of myself and my family while doing what I love, every day. I know what it’s like to live a life dictated by outside pressures or family expectations, so I want to inspire other girls who also feel lost in their careers.

I can confidently say that I’m on the right track now, and I’ve never felt so excited about where my life is headed. If you feel destined for something outside of what you currently have, then go for it. Don’t be afraid to color outside the lines.

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