Three Questions I Needed to Answer After Deciding to Quit My Fortune 50 Corporate Job

Question #1: What if I ended up poor? And homeless?

As the daughter of two immigrants who still count their pennies to this day — diluting dish soap (!!) to make it last, washing and reusing single-use plastic utensils — I’ve grown up with a deep aversion to being poor.

Question #2: What if I wasn’t ever this successful again?

I’d recently been promoted to Executive Director, which was a major accomplishment and recognition of the many hours and effort I was putting in. It came with a pay raise and more benefits. When it came time to leave this behind, the thought hurt!

Question #3: What if I regretted leaving?

So, on Jan 15th, 2018, I was closer — but still not convinced — that I would be able to quit.

So what happened?

I didn’t actually leave my job until May 2018. As part of my decision to leave that job, I’d applied to graduate school and got into the Stanford Graduate School of Business, receiving my Masters in Management, and had one of the best years of my life.

A final thought

One of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver, has a line that haunts me and impels whenever I get afraid and want to stick with the status quo:



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Tiffany Teng

Tiffany Teng


Former East Coast, now West Coast. Lover of books, baking and all things beautiful. Writing & reading about identity, growth, and leadership. Stanford ’07, ‘19.