Why I quit my job to do an MLA

This month marks the 1 year anniversary of the courageous Catarina to make a life-changing decision. Although I had been thinking about quitting my job to travel the world for 2 years prior to that, it was only 1 year ago that I was brave enough to move forward with what my inner self was whispering within for a long time. It is so interesting to see how easy it is for us to get carried away by what others say, but sometimes so difficult to hear our own intuition, quite often silenced by the business of our lives and the constant noise we create for ourselves on a daily basis. That’s in fact an interesting topic for another post. But today, I would like to reflect on and share the reasons behind my decision to leave my comfortable, safe and secure life to embark on a self-discovery journey, towards the unknown.

1. I cannot fit the shape of the box 

I spent 5 and a half years working for the same company. A company I deeply admire and respect. A company who has invested greatly in my development and provided me inumerous opportunities for professional and personal growth and for which I am forever thankful. Apart from that, there was the feeling of having to squeeze which accompanied me during all these years, which only now I can clearly illustrate with the metaphor of a box.

Imagine a company is a box. Another company is another box. They all have different shapes. Some companies you can’t even name the shape. Being a box is not a negative thing in this story. By joining the company one must jump into the box. Ideally, we will join the shape where our body can fit nicely. Some people only fit in a certain shape. Others, are so flexible, they can fit in almost any shape. Still others find it hard to fit in any of the existing shapes and decide to create their own, or no…they just squeeze and be uncomfortable. Thankfully, there seems to be space for all the shapes. However, it is often hard to realize one does not fit into a shape and even harder to find one that fits perfectly, especially if there is no courage to jump out of the box, or if we keep jumping to a similar one.

Although I spent all these years working for the same company, given its size and extension, I was kind of able to experiment different box shapes: different brands, different geographical scopes, different roles and responsibilities and different teams. As diverse as working with 7 brands, in 3 countries, with 5 different teams. Of the 5 times I changed jobs, 4 were by own will. A willingness to find fit. Just to find out that the next shape was too similar. After all, it was always the same company… After many attempts, I finally decided to fly out of the box, “I quit trying to fit into a world that never really fit me“. And what best to explore new shapes than doing a MLA?


Dreamland Beach, Bali, Indonesia

2. I want to live a life of purpose

I firmly believe each one of us is given the gift of life with a purpose. And living by one’s purpose is a big step towards living a fulfilled and happy life. And also the best way to make a positive and lasting contribution to the world and others. Throughout our existence we are given clues in the form of passions, talents, relationships and experiences to what this purpose may be. For some, it is very easy and clear to realize their purpose. For others who are willing to find it, it requires an intense search which can take years. One way to do it successfully, I believe, is to to take an active posture rather than passive. Instead of waiting for signs, start looking for them. And this, of course, involves time and effort, trial and error, and heaps of perseverance.

I am not one of those who has it super clear what my purpose in life is about. But I have been receiving signs. And I have been on a mission to try to make sense of those signs and to look for more, especially within my profession, to try to define and leverage my purpose. What made it challenging to accomplish that mission was the fact that I always had to fulfill a certain job description, rather than having a job designed around my self, my passions and my talents. And, because I could not find the space to explore my purpose within my job, I decided to quit. I left to become a student again. A student of life. A student with a child sensation. A sense of freedom. A sense of space. A space where I can go back to play and be active, super active… the whole idea of the MLA!

And the MLA has, in fact, been an incredible vehicle for finding fit instead of squeezing, for being active instead of passive, and for empowering me to fly higher!


Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia


2 thoughts on “Why I quit my job to do an MLA

  1. Olá Catarina,
    Adorei a analogia com as caixas 🙂 Faz todo o sentido. Eu já me apercebi que não pertenço a nenhuma caixa mas encontro-me na mesma caixa desconfortável há quase 5 anos (tirando uma breve pausa de 5 meses para fazer voluntariado fora). Estou a começar a desenvolver competências para me tornar freelancer e poder ser nomada digital e fazer finalmente o meu MLA.
    Obrigada pelo blog, inspirador 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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