Emma McGowan #empoweredWritten

Within year and a half of being hired to Fundable, I had gone from being the first full-time copywriter, to managing a small team as Fundable’s Head Copywriter, and lastly, Editor of our parent brand, the online magazine Startups.co. It was a heady ride, and often I couldn’t really believe that I had somehow become not just a Writer with a capital “W,” but an Editor with a capitol “E.” It was the management of other writers that made it feel most surreal. A couple of our talented writers worked remotely from beautiful far-flung locations — including Emma McGowan. 

Emma and I have never met in person, but I felt an instant connection to her. First of all, she hailed from Burlington, Vermont, just 45 minutes from where I grew up! Her stories of living the digital nomad life abroad were fascinating, her writing—for us, for other publications, or just in the team Slack chats—was always on point, and we had a natural rapport that was a bright spot to my day. 

And as time passed, I needed the pick-me-up that her witty camaraderie provided more and more. No matter how I tried to make it work, being Editor with a capital “E” at Startups with a capital “S” just wasn’t the right fit for me. Talking and writing and reading all day every day about others building their own businesses was getting to me, and I found myself wishing for that same independence. 

Eventually I came to realize that although I felt connected to Emma professionally and personally, we were living very different lives. I was socially exhausted by our open format office; Emma could choose to work from her Airbnb, or at a co-working space. I worked long hours, and had no energy left over for hobbies or passion projects; Emma set clear boundaries on the time she spent writing for us, so she could do freelance work or sew herself a new dress from textiles collected on her travels. I was having multiple crying jags each week, and feeling a distinct lack of control over my own life; Emma was literally picking up her life and moving to beautiful new lands every few months. 

There were a hundred things that factored in to my choice to leave Startups, and a hundred more reasons I stayed as long as I did. But one of the things that made me realize I needed a change was seeing how Emma was living the shit out of her life. When I compared my own existence with hers, it was so much easier to see that as long as I stayed in a job that wasn’t right for me, the rest of my life would be on hold.