I quit my job, started my own firm and am happier than ever!


On May 1st of this year, I did something I had dreamed of doing for what seemed like forever… I QUIT MY CORPORATE JOB! I barely slept the night of the Friday I resigned.  I woke up with butterflies in my stomach that reminded me of every time I had ever fallen in love.  Anticipation, excitement, romanticism with a dash of the unexpected. I couldn’t believe I was actually going to QUIT!  And, I was soon officially going to be the Captain of my own ship, the President of my own company (hello tax advantages!) and the Branch Manager of my own Raymond James Wealth Management Office. Truthfully, I was a little scared. But I also staunchly believed in myself, my work ethic and my commitment to my clients.  I knew deep inside that my success as a Financial Advisor has always been due to those principles, not the fact that I worked for the Big Banks. What happened next, you ask? My life changed instantly for the better. Walking into MY office the following Monday was beyond cathartic. Since then, I absolutely can’t wait to open those welcoming glass doors and start cranking! I am so much happier in every aspect of my life and exponentially more productive.

Did I mention that my office is beautiful? I got to design it to my liking (modern, clean, inviting, new) and apart from CNBC that is playing in the background, I listen to John Mayer/Jack Johnson/Claire De Lune/Sleeping at Last on Pandora whenever I am not meeting with clients. I have inspirational quotes on the walls and upon entering, clients feel the zen, “financial life coach” vibe that is the core of my values as a Financial Advisor. Then there is the icing on the cake. Although I have worked ridiculously long hours during my transition, I have experienced the joy of seeing the two largest paychecks I have ever received in my entire career in finance. I also received one of the smallest, but then again, I was on vacation for 3 weeks in Italy and Croatia, so it all balances out. It is a roller coaster, but that is what makes the adventure so exciting. My favorite  part of it all is that I am in a position where I can truly serve and HELP people.  At the end of the day, that is what makes me the happiest and leaves me feeling the most fulfilled. Feeling inspired?

“If you work hard on YOUR JOB, you can make a living. If you world hard on YOURSELF you can make a FORTUNE.”  – Jim Rohn

Work on yourself! Make yourself more valuable every day by developing your talents and reaching out and going above and beyond for everyone you can (clients, friends, family, etc).  Hone your craft. Do that little extra something that sets you apart. Write that letter of encouragement to someone that needs it. People tend to remember most the kindness extended to them during difficult circumstances (i.e., guiding our loved ones and clients during times of uncertainty and volatility). Sometimes it is the littlest things that make the biggest differences. Lead by being the exceptional person you were meant to be. It will really make you happy and you will make a positive contribution in the world in doing so.

What could you accomplish if you really did what you LOVE? You are phenomenal at something – probably many things!  Are you stuck working in a job you hate? Does your boss make your skin crawl? Do Sundays make you cry? Do you come home drained from the people you work with and without energy to love the people you come home to? Do you feel that you are not working at your top potential? Can you be more productive doing something else? Life is too short to spend the bulk of your days unhappy and unproductive. Everyone has a gift to give to the world and it’s up to you to figure out what that is. Invest in yourself. You are not your job.  You are YOU. Some people work tirelessly at their “jobs” and they never bother to work hard on developing themselves. “Good” employees get laid off all the time, so do “good” husband and wives. You have to be GREAT and add value to everything you do, whether it be your job, your boyfriend, your husband or you family. Don’t settle for less…ever. Promise me that you will take a first step today. Making a career change does not happen overnight. But it will happen if you consistently take a few extra steps every day. It’s the few extra reps that build a bigger muscle, you know. Everyone does what they are asked to do, but the few that go above and beyond – even by just a little – are the ones that make a difference. Start by making a list of all the things that you want to accomplish tomorrow. List everything that will make the day a positive one for you – one that would have made you proud at the end of the night. Don’t forget to list “connecting” time such as having dinner with your family, meditating, working out, reaching out to an old friend or business colleague, etc. Then, look at this list. Other than necessary banalities such as taking your car for servicing, does every item on it MATTER to you? Analyze your list and make sure that most of your activities serve a higher purpose for you (not just the company you work for). For example, I spent a few hours every day attending to items that were on the agenda for the company I worked for, not for my clients. I was part of a team and was expected to “participate” but had gotten to a point in my practice where these time kidnapping activities really hindered by ability to grow. Plus, I really did not want to do them. At all. I was stuck. What did I do? I sought help. I asked business people I admired for their advice, learned their successes stories and read countless books (I am recommending one for you below). Soon, I began to form ideas as to what I can possibly do next. I was patient. You will need to be too. I put my resignation letter on my vision board and less than one year after, my dream became a reality. The universe really does conspire to help you once you know what you want and it serves a higher purpose. Find out what you want. What are you best at? What activities do you do on a daily basis that bring you the most joy? Why don’t you do more of them? If you are awesome at bringing in new clients, are you doing that most of the day or are you hiding behind mountains of paperwork, keeping you from doing what you are best at (and what brings you the $$ & satisfaction of a day well spent)? Don’t stay on automatic pilot. Question, think and dream. If you envision you dream vividly enough, in no time, it will become your reality!

With that, I would like to share two life-changing bits of wisdom with you…

1) I read this book last year and it was one of the many that most inspired me, mostly because I really wanted to do what the title encouraged me to do… For the record, I didn’t really “hate” my job; I just felt stuck because I had stopped growing. Sometimes we reach our limits and contrary to basking in the glory of our success, we get frustrated because we are no longer stretching ourselves.  We start to grow horizontally instead of vertically and that is never much fun.


“DREAM YEAR: MAKE THE LEAP FROM A JOB YOU HATE TO A LIFE YOU LOVE” by Ben Arment will give you that extra push you may be craving to quick start the engine of your mind and start exploring your possibilities.  It’s great fun to read too!  Start envisioning the life you want to live and before you know it you will be living it!

Click here to order DREAM YEAR on Amazon.com

2) Wise words from funny man Jim Carrey… This needs no introduction.  Two minutes watching this short video will feed your food for thought.

P.S. In case you are wondering, the picture of me on the top of this post was taken during our summer vacation this year. I chose it as a symbol of my jumping off the corporate ladder since I was jumping off a boat in Croatia. My family LOVES to travel and I intensely look forward to going on vacation every year. For the first time in decades, I also looked forward to coming back. :) This is my wish for you too!



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2 Responses

  1. Emie Caraballo says

    Hello Arlene,
    Congratulations on your new journey. I basically don’t know but have seen you at the dance studio where your daughter use to dance, MDS. This is quite an inspiring story and has definitely made me think.
    May God bless you and your family in this new step of your life.
    The sky is the limit !!

    • Arlene Alvarez says

      Thank you Emie! I have not posted in a while because I have been busy with my new business and a book I just wrote. I really hope to find time to post more material and help people (especially women) get the most they can out of life. If I can ever help you in any way, please let me know. Good luck with your daughter @ MDS and with dance. It is a great hobby for them to take on. Helps them so much as they grow older!