June Quan, founder of popular blog Stir & Style, shares her story of leaving her lucrative career behind to pursue her true passion.
What do you do when you realize that you’re unhappy in the career you’ve worked so hard to succeed in? For me, my answer to this question is the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. I left my job at a law firm as an attorney practicing entertainment litigation to pursue my true passion- food. “Stir and Style” is a product of my faith in taking a leap toward happiness and pursuing a life of passion.
Here’s a brief recap: As an undergraduate, I fell in love with the entertainment industry during a summer internship in Production Management at MTV in New York City. I decided that summer that I wanted to become an entertainment lawyer, so I put my head down and did everything it took to get there. I went straight into three years in law school after four years as an undergrad, studied harder than I have ever studied before for the California Bar Exam (said to be the hardest exam in the world with a pass rate lower than 50%), spent 3 grueling days completing the exam, waited 3 months for my results, and thankfully found out that I had passed the exam on my first try! The joy that I felt at that moment is a feeling I will never forget and one that I will cherish forever. It was the pure joy of accomplishment. I felt proud, relieved, happy, and mostly excited for what was to come. I landed a job at an entertainment law firm in Century City and left everything I knew behind in SF to start a new life as an attorney in LA. It was everything I thought I wanted…until it wasn’t. I’m happy to chat about why if anyone is interested, but all you need to know here is that what I thought I wanted did not bring me fulfillment, satisfaction or joy as I headed into work each morning and completed all my tasks. Not to mention, the hours at the office left little to no time for me to do anything. I wasn’t even able to plan ahead to indulge in one of my favorite things, eating out for dinner, because I never knew if I was going to stay late at the office or not. The law isn’t meant for everyone and for those who love it, I honestly commend and respect you. I am inspired by your dedication and hard work.
When people would ask me what my dream job was, I would always answer in two parts- 1) my dream job as an attorney would be to practice entertainment law and 2) my dream job in life is to be a host of a food show on television. So, why not try to pursue the dream job of my life, right? I was at a major crossroads in my life. I had worked so incredibly hard to get to where I was, but my heart knew that I wasn’t happy and wouldn’t be happy in the legal profession. I could have stuck it out, but then what? 5, 10, 20 years down the line, I’d still be unhappy. Why should one decision I made to become a lawyer dictate the rest of my life? It shouldn’t. So after sleepless nights trying to decide what to do, I resigned from the law firm to start my blog and social media accounts for Stir and Style. When I got my first break as the host of two shows on local cable in the Valley called Taste of T.O. and Explore T.O., I realized that I was exactly where I needed to be. It gave me faith and confidence that I had it in me to get to where I wanted to be and I just needed to keep working hard for it. This year, after years of making excuses not to, I’ve created a YouTube Channel for Stir and Style documenting the food events I attend, the food I cook, Stir and Style blogs posts I create, and my travel vlogs, Stir and Travel.
It wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies once I left my job. Nothing worth having comes without sacrifice right? Oh boy, were they right. I went from a cushy paycheck to nothing at all. Having no time to spend the money I made was a blessing in disguise because I thankfully had money saved as a cushion to live off of until I figure out what the hell I was doing. I had to downgrade from my Century City apartment to an apartment inland that was much more affordable given that I wasn’t getting a paycheck every two weeks. I struggled and I’m not afraid to admit it. I wasn’t able to go out to do the things I was used to doing, I definitely wasn’t able to go shopping, I had to be very careful about what I was spending because no money was coming in. There were tears, worries, fears, questions, but never regret. I was confident in what I wanted and knew that I just needed to follow my passion and see it through for myself. During that time, I got my real estate license and began working as a real estate agent on the side to make ends meet. Turns out, I really love that part of my life now too and still work as an agent part-time. It is the perfect situation for me as I’m able to make my own schedule. A lot has happened in one year, and I feel blessed that I’m able to earn an income from my passion project, Stir and Style, but there is still a lot more that I want to accomplish.
I learned the biggest lesson of my life by deciding to choose my own happiness. I figured that I spent most of my waking hours working, so why not choose to do something that I love? I cannot tell you how many people have said to me, “You don’t practice law anymore? What a waste.”
That used to bother me and I’d get extremely defensive because I was worried about what people thought about me. I felt self-conscious about whether I was making the right decision. It took a while to fully accept my own choices, to be proud of what I’ve accomplished, and excited for what’s to come. My path has not been a waste. Not one bit. I still use the skills I gained as an attorney every day- reviewing and negotiating my own contracts, problem-solving, analytical thinking, discipline, client management, interpersonal skills, persistence, hard work, and proactively seeking out opportunities for myself.
Every day I wake up and I feel blessed that I have the opportunity to spend my waking hours doing what I love. Remember, it’s never too late to make choices toward finding your true happiness.
About June, founder of Stir & Style
In my blog, I match my food (Stir) with my outfits (Style). My fashion is inspired by the food I eat and vice versa. My Instagram, @stirandstyle, and Youtube Channel is an authentic documentation of the food I love to eat and cook, the food events I have the pleasure of attending, and my travels (Stir and Travel). I eat everything I post and I love everything I post. If I didn’t eat it or love it, I won’t post it. I am not a picky eater and will try everything at least twice, but if I didn’t like it, I will not post about it. For example, if a dish at a restaurant is too salty or a dish I cooked didn’t taste good, I wouldn’t be my genuine self if I posted about it on my Instagram implying that it was amazing. No matter what, it’s a priority of mine to stay authentic and genuine with what I share. My role is not to knock anyone down or critique the way something is cooked, but to highlight the best parts of my meal. As a result of all the eating, I definitely have to work out A LOT and it’s a good thing my boyfriend @dantransform is a personal trainer! So from what you know, I spend my days eating, taking photos and videos, editing, writing, working out, and more eating. Life is good, but I worked hard to get here, and still have a long way to go.