Inspiring Gen Y’s Who Quit The 9-5 To Take A Leap Of Faith

When I put out a call for Gen Y’s who quit the 9-5 to tell to me for their stories, I was expecting maybe 3 or 4 replies, but that was soon to grow! It’s so refreshing and inspiring to hear tales of how people got progressively tired of making money for someone else, and made the jump to creating some wonderful businesses and lives!

For me personally, I decided, after much consideration, to leave my full-time Government job for 12 months in the pursuit of some passions of mine. A favourite pastime of mine is listening to people’s stories about their lives. Where they have come from, what they have been through, and how this has shaped who they are today.

There is such an untapped beauty in the communication between humans in that of the written and spoken word, on the flip side, there is an equal level of beauty in actually listening, reflecting, and asking questions to see where a conversation can go. This all feeds into my major passion in life, which is writing about peoples stories, experiences, and getting their voices heard. So I decided to put out a call for others who had made the leap into the unknown and see what they are up to.

Something I sensed when reading replies and through the email conversations I had with those who responded, was that people felt that they did not belong where they were, or perhaps had outgrown what they were doing. Be it in their upbringings, social environments or ultimately, their career choices.

Drawing on my own experience of feeling like I did not fit in a lot of places, I always had a knowing that one day I would, and that this would perhaps be as a result of me creating a place, or a space to fit. Perhaps this article will kick-start this, in that of creating a space where others who feel the same, can come together and feel safe amongst those of the same mindset and share their stories.

This piece aims to share a snippet of the thought that went into the decision-making behind leaving the 9-5 to see what happens next. Another theme that I noticed from reading each response was that most people ventured out into the world of business, arts, or creation, and the underlying reason for people now doing what they do is about helping people.

Creation being the key word here as I touched on in the previous paragraph. I am honoured that people chose to share their stories with me and it is a privilege for me to put this piece together on their behalf.

To provide some more context around what questions I posed, here is the original query;

Gen Y’s who quit the 9-5 to see what happens next

Did you start to feel a yearning for more in life as you approached 30?

I am writing an article/blog about Gen Y’s who started to get restless in their lives and careers as they approached the age of 30.

This information will also be fed into a book I am currently authoring about we Gen Y’s and what our lives are really about these days and into our futures. 

Did you realize that your 9-5 dream job from your 20’s was not all that it seemed? 

If so, what did you OR what are you going to do about it? 

OR – Did you quit your job with no future plans other than to see where life takes you?

For those who dare – If you are a spiritual being and know what a Saturn Return is, do you feel that this has had an influence over any restlessness as you ended one cycle and began another?

If you can summaries your experience in a 250 words or thereabouts, get in touch!

Below are the words, photos and stories of some amazing Gen Y’s from across the country and the world who stepped outside of their comfort zone to see what would happen. Something I find amazing about these people is the energy they conveyed to me in their response and how that their overall desire to help people in their own way shines through in their now work.

Join them on their stories.

Vanessa Davey

At 27 and 28, my husband and I bought a small business as our first step toward escaping the 9-5. I have since started working part-time from home (still in my former career in Marketing), while my husband is still in his professional job. Our aim in to continue to grow our business, and find an exit strategy for my husband, which could include him completing his doctorate and working part-time at a University while we still work in our business.

We were both a bit over the 9-5 thing, and started to feel less motivated. I also found myself being a lot less career focused in the past few years (being the ‘best’ at what I did seemed less and less like something I wanted – longer hours, more stress, less hands-on marketing, more project/client/issue management). My husband’s 9-5 had grown to a 7-7 somewhere along the line, and we want something more sustainable and balanced for both of us.

I have read a lot of huge statistics about mums who start their own businesses because they have had kids – almost a result of having a family (cannot easily get back into the workforce, or don’t want to go back to their old career). We felt our approach would allow us to be more in pro-active than reactive – starting a business we both want and putting time into the now and the long term.

Daniel Pietrzak

I live my life based on spiritual teachings and would love to use the opportunity to inspire other fellow humans. See more about what I do here;

I was born in 1981 as just another human being coming to the Earth plane to experience life in the physical reality.

Growing up in a rough neighbourhood and not being taken care of by my parents the way probably most of us would call “normal” upbringing, I had no choice but either to follow the system that society followed, or to begin searching for the reasons why circumstances happen to us, and how to have any kind of control over our own lives.

In my 20s, I had gone through a number of different jobs in order to figure out which profession would be the one I would enjoy doing for the rest of my life. I didn’t like any of the jobs, and the frustration grew in me to such an extent that I turned my focus towards spiritual wisdom in order to find my life’s purpose.

This was the turning point in my life as I had discovered new ways of perceiving the world, life as well as myself.I knew that I wanted to live my life based on creative ideas, inspired actions and delightful results.

When I reached 30, I was already deeply rooted in spirituality. Throughout all the years, I had kept my new understandings and the spiritual wisdom to myself.

The impact of the Saturn return made me to step up and create a space within which I could honestly express myself as the person I have become, and to share the inspiration with others. As a result, I created “The Awakening Art”, a creative place to get inspired.

Amanda Cordner


BIO: Integrated Marketer and Founder of Sea Salt Marketing. Amanda Cordner has 10 years experience in creating powerful marketing solutions with an infectious energy that motivates business growth and success. Amanda holds a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) and Diploma of Digital Marketing and has held senior marketing roles in a number of multi-national blue chip organisations including L’Oreal, Lion, Heinz and Fonterra. Amanda’s strengths lie in the development and implementation of marketing and digital strategy and works with a highly organized and collaborative approach that inspires team morale and just makes things happen!

When did you realize that your 9-5 dream job from your 20’s was not all that it seemed?

I am a serial planner. Driven, organized and always knew exactly what I wanted, how long it was going to take to get me there, and it was all happening before 30. After completing school, smashing out a 95 ENTER score and getting into my dream university course, life was set at 18. Moved to the big smoke from my small little beachside town and studied Marketing at RMIT…its business, but its creative, exactly what I wanted to do.

At 20 I landed an internship at L’Oreal Australia. I got to go to all these glamorous events, work the decent sized marketing budgets and of course, test out all the products (I think I’m still using up my Kerastase shampoo stash 10 years later). Working my way up the corporate ladder I jumped around FMCG working for Lion, Heinz & then ending up in a Senior Brand role at Fonterra at 27. I purchased a few properties along the way (that was on the must-do list pre 30) and then my partner got a job in Broome. He’s a pilot and needed to get his hours up and by this time I was kind of over the corporate world. It was busy, stressful, and I didn’t feel like I was really living life. So at 28, we replaced the office politics, stifling air conditioning, and horrid public transport commutes for a complete change of pace into the outback, the coastal town of Broome, WA.

What did you do about it?

So, when life took me to Broome in 2014, it was there I founded Sea Salt Marketing, my own boutique marketing agency that delivers a fresh, simple look at marketing for medium sized business, with a focus on Digital. The big 30 was tapping at the door and I thought it was now or never, I love our transient lifestyle but I also love marketing, and I am passionate about my career so have found a way to have both.

We now live in Cairns, in far north Queensland, and Sea Salt is thriving. The structure of Sea Salt is quite fluid and constantly evolving, with clients based all over Australia including Melbourne, Perth, Broome and Cairns. I also work with a number of freelancers and have strategic partnerships with design and digital agencies in Melbourne and Perth. A typical day for me includes a few Skype sessions, strategy development and a lot of content creation for the digital and social worlds.

What do you love about the change?

Mobility! With the other half as a pilot there are always opportunities to jet set to some pretty beautiful locations (and islands!), so the fact I can just pick up my laptop, get the mobile Wi-fi and head off is amazing. I could be Skyping from the Whitsundays, emailing over the Great Barrier Reef and no one would even know.

The flexibility is great, there is no 9-5 Mon-Fri, some days are absolutely crazy and some are really quiet, so I’ll just take myself to the beach for the afternoon or catch up with friends. I find this lifestyle also promotes much more creativity in how I approach different projects, opening yourself up to new environments, people and surroundings constantly pushes me to find more efficient, creative ways to do business. And I guess it allows me to live in paradise, so no complaints there!

Elle-May Michael


BIO: Elle-May is a Gen-Y entrepreneur who owns a successful business which helps Australian artists branch out into the retail environment with their own mini-store inside a bright pink cabinet of curiosities. in.cube8r gallery supports 100 local artisans to sell their wares to the public without paying commissions or hefty rents. Find out more at

At 28 years old, and after 10 years in a management job doing charity fundraising, I was ready to start working for myself. I had an extreme yearning for change. All I knew is I wanted that change to include working for myself, in Melbourne. I was ready to move out of my comfort zone and into the unknown!

When you have your heart open to something, it just appears in front of you. A dear friend in Melbourne told me about a business I had long admired being for sale. I jumped on it that day.

Five months later I had the finance I needed, sold my apartment, packed my two house-bunnies into the car to drive to my new city and life, leaving everything I knew and loved behind me.

I now spend every day working for my artist clients who dedicate their lives to creating beautiful jewellery, clothing & everyday products. My small business empowers artists to branch out into the retail environment by renting a cube, shelf, rack or wall from as little as $22 per week & I pay them 100% of their sales. My new role takes my strengths in marketing, customer service, problem solving and organization, and directs it people who need all the help they can get in that department – artisans! It really is my dream job!

Jo Hodson

BIO: I quit my career in architecture and launched myself into the abyss before creating a new identity as a nutrition and mindset coach, and food business owner. Read my full story on my website here:

I had been working as an Architectural Designer for a number of years, yet my curiosity and desire to create something more was growing deeper and deeper each day. In 2011, on a whim one evening, I started a food blog. This has since evolved into my full time business and passion- one of living a healthy optimal life. It occurred to me that I had never before delved into and questioned what this really meant and how I truly wanted to ‘show up’ in this world. In that moment my journey from the 9-5 to a more personally fulfilling life began.

Sarah Yip


BIO: Sarah Yip is a professional psychic and blogger, who speaks on 97.3FM’s Breakfast Show (one of Brisbane’s top morning programs). She teaches workshops and introduces thousands of people a year to their life paths. Her passions are waking people up to the 11:11 prompts, encouraging self-inquiry and juggling her adorable son with work, love and yoga.

I’m a science graduate who worked in Canberra, then at the UN at 25. Got totally disillusioned after serious bullying, did some whistleblowing then changed careers to charity fundraising.

After raising millions with a team of inspiring people, I had a massive serious of wake up calls around age 29-30. Left behind a job, partner, house, career, family approval, friends, health, sanity etc.

Went on to become, of all things, a numerologist. I believe that skeptics are usually the most psychic among us. I’m incredibly cynical of many people in the new age industry, but have been fortunate enough to attract an awesome support network of truly gifted friends and mentors. Just had my first child after recovering from Orthorexia and am getting married soon to my soul mate. Kris and I promote alternative news and ideas through TV, blogging etc. So the journey was worth the darkness.

If you want to know more, my site is and Facebook is The Numbers Queen


Daniel Trani


BIO: Daniel Trani is a e-commerce entrepreneur/stay at home dad. Together with his wife they are changing their lives to achieve a more family balance life. Their three-year old daughter has helped inspire the businesses that they have started which include and

Family is very important to Daniel and even more important is the time you spend with family. Being able to travel and show their young daughter new things has inspired them to dream big and work to achieve the lifestyle they desire.

My wife and I have both just turned 30 and rewinding a few years ago we questioned everything about our life direction. We have a 3 ½ year old daughter who I guess really got us feeling that the 9-5 just wasn’t going to work for us for what we had planned our life to look like. After leaving my job of 10 years, to gain more time with my family by taking on a position in a family business, we soon realized that this was just a Band-Aid fix. So we decided to sell most of our possessions, quit our jobs and move to Bangkok, Thailand for 6 months to figure life out. With no real plan other than spend 6 months as a family we spent our days exploring and just really getting to know ourselves.

A couple of years previous we had some friends, who work online, give us an insight into the world of eCommerce, which we knew nothing about. They offered to teach us their business model and as we knew we had to come back to Australia with a plan we decided to give it a shot and this turned out to be what we needed. We now work from home on multiple online businesses and are slowing seeing some success. It is a huge transition to go from physical jobs working for a wage to working for yourself for a profit. Our future is now in our hands and our dream lifestyle is now achievable. We have spent more time as a family then we would ever had gotten by working in the 9-5 selling ourselves fake dreams.

Ashley Baxter


“I felt empty after spending 10 years climbing the ladder in corporate America. Dreams of finding a mate and building a family were put on hold. Instead I worked around the clock and slept with my phone in my bed to prove my dedication to companies where I struggled to find meaning. Shortly after turning 32 I realized this wasn’t the life I wanted. Just like that I quit my 6-figure job at a Fortune 10 without a concrete backup plan. I started investing in my spirit and doing things where I could see the direct positive impact I was having in my community. Everyone asked me what was next and the truth is I wasn’t 100% certain. I filled my calendar with volunteer work and activities to get back in touch with the me I’d lost while chasing someone else’s dream. My life is on a new path, a happier path, and my spiritual energy has reached a high that I forgot was possible. I’ve always had side hustles, but a few weeks after quitting my 9-5 I committed to building my own business. I launched Modern Marketing School and am teaching executives new strategies that build brands with more meaning. For the first time in years I feel fulfilled. This kind of shift can be a reality for anyone who’s willing to get real with him or herself. Traditional ideas of success aren’t the only option.”

Natalie Kyriacou


BIO: Natalie Kyriacou is the Founding Director of My Green World and the Creator of World of the Wild mobile game app. Natalie holds a Bachelor degree in Communications and a Master of International Relations degree from the University of Melbourne.

In an effort to engage more people with wildlife and environmental issues, Natalie created My Green World in 2013. The foundation of the company is to develop innovative and educational platforms that will enhance the efforts of global wildlife and environmental conservation.

Natalie is a sitting member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and was previously a member of the University of Melbourne’s Animal Ethics Committee for the Department of Veterinary Sciences. She is currently the Australian Director of Dogstar Foundation; a nonprofit running spay, neuter and vaccination campaigns for Sri Lankan street dogs and cats.

My name is Natalie Kyriacou and I am the Founding Director of My Green World. 3 years ago, I quit my 9-5 job and Founded by own company dedicated to wildlife and environmental education and conservation. I put my life savings into this project, and have never looked back! Please feel free to visit my website at or see my press release below:


28-year-old Melbourne entrepreneur, Natalie Kyriacou, has launched a unique charity-backed mobile game app that allows users to participate in virtual wildlife conservation scenarios. The mobile game, ‘World of the Wild’ is partnered with 17 global charities and has gamified the concept of wildlife conservation, encouraging users to participate in real-world wildlife conservation and habitat restoration scenarios on a fun and educational app platform.

High profile organisations such as Sea Turtle Conservancy, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, and African Conservation Foundation are just some of the charities that are represented in the game. Users have the option of donating to any one of those charities and, importantly, each action that users take in this app represents a real life scenario that is carried out by the game’s partner charities all over the world.

Natalie Kyriacou is the Founder of My Green, a social enterprise that is creating innovative tech-based responses to global wildlife issues. The game, ‘World of the Wild’, is Natalie’s biggest project yet, and her commitment to it is clear –she has poured $80,000 of her own savings into developing and testing the game– even going so far as to sell her car.

In World of the Wild, every day people can participate in virtual wildlife conservation scenarios. Users can build their own wildlife sanctuary, and rescue, feed and provide medical care for a variety of animals, interact with other players, compete in educational pop quizzes, and meet some of the world’s most endangered species.

“Society’s disconnect from wildlife and environmental issues is particularly apparent within the mobile game market, which is home to thousands of apps that can often detract from real global problems,” says My Green World Director, Natalie Kyriacou.

“Current models of mobile games are focused on destruction and demolition, or otherwise have a strong zoo focus, glamourizing wildlife in captivity. Users spend hours each day playing games with minimal value, so why not give them a game with charitable and educational values?” she says.

This game seeks to bring issues such as wildlife endangerment and environmental degradation to the forefront of public conscientiousness by engaging communities in an easily accessible, fun, interactive mobile game.

World of the Wild is available in the Apple App Store, and is free to download.

Akshaya Borkar


I am one of those Gen Y’s who left the consistent aka boring predictable life of working in 9-5 corporate job and decided to run with my passion for arts and crafts which i started as a blog in 2010 and by 2013 turned it around to starting a social enterprise.

So I left my job in October 2013 from Swinburne University in Melbourne and jumped in to the world of business and that too social enterprise as if being first generation migrant and having two kids under the age of 4 was not enough challenging!!

The Art and Craft Gallery is a social enterprise to drive the development of creative individuals worldwide.

The gallery is the online association, showcasing the work of community members, providing them business marketing education and connecting them with services such as craft suppliers, printers, physical gallery spaces, copyright lawyers and more.

The gallery aims at bringing transparency in the creative world so that the makers are celebrated and benefited directly, something similar to IT industry where ‘An App developer’ gets benefited directly

Our vision is to make creative profession as a mainstream industry by 2020 by connecting creative individuals worldwide.

Our, another aim is to disrupt the traditional closed network of art world as explained in our interview on Huffington Post here. By building the network of creatives worldwide, we will bring transparency in a way that all creatives are appropriately getting paid for their talent, skills and knowledge, plus will give a voice to this community in the mainstream industry. This, in turn, will lead to the delivery of better outcomes for creative individuals, NGOs and educational institutes in creative industry by both minimizing risk and maximizing the value of the information held within organizations.

Our goals include:

  • Creating a community of creative professionals worldwide
  • Building the knowledge of marketing, best practice and innovations; and
  • Ensuring that the professional discipline of art and craft industry is recognized as mainstream industry like of Performing Artists, Actors, Lawyers, and Doctors Etc.

Our business has been the winner of:

Please find more details about our business and my profile on following links

So here we have some shining examples of some Gen Y’s across the country and the globe that took a leap of faith into the unknown and have built some fantastic lives and business!

Thanks for reading and for those of you who are thinking about taking the leap into the unknown, I hope that these stories have given you some encouragement!

All the best!

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