It has taken me years to come to the realization that I can answer to someone besides myself. I know many people who have been somewhat traumatized from their first real job(s) out of college, and I am no different.
You have to understand that as a residential real estate agent, I essentially owned my own business. Many people don't understand that. By this, I mean that I was an independent contractor. If I didn't go to work for a week, nobody asked me where I was. However, I also had to pay my own health insurance, retirement, office space, copies, advertisements, mailings, office supplies, fill up my gas tank every 6-7 days, client meals, client gifts, constant cell phone overage, and the list goes on. But, I was my own boss. I was often saying, "I could never go back to working for someone."
When I left Cleveland, the easy part was leaving the real estate business. It wasn't gratifying at all. I am sure for many people, it is fulfilling, and I always thought I would stay in it, had I stayed in Cleveland, but I didn't, and it was simple to walk away from. Please keep in mind that I do still hold my license in Ohio, and I can still get referrals anywhere in the entire country, regardless of what brokerage you choose to work with.
One mistake I made was saying that I would never work for someone again. I was under the assumption that working for someone meant hating your job. So, I had some bad managers in the past. But, they aren't all like that. When you are interviewing for a job by your potential future boss, and there is chemistry, why wouldn't you want to work for them? And these days, with our generation, I don't even think that you technically are working for them. You are working with them. Work hard and you will get the respect you deserve so that you don't feel "owned" by them. Trust develops between the two of you, and you can easily feel the freedom that you had when you were wanting to work for yourself.
Besides really investigating and figuring out what I could do for 8-9 hours a day, 5 (sometimes 6) days a week, I was excited to have a salary and benefits again. It took me a long time to wrap my head around the idea of having a regular paycheck and it is a beautiful thing. Sure, in real estate, there were months I got over $10,000. However, there were also months I thought I was getting thousands of dollars, where literally 24 hours before a closing, the deal fell apart, and I had already planned a trip or bought a fancy gift for myself.
I feel so blessed. I think the last phrase out of my mouth last night was something like, "I am so happy I have a job." And, when my manager asked me how my weekend was, I looked up at her and said, "I am just so happy to be working here." Her response? "I thought you were going to say how happy you are with your boyfriend." Hah!