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Young Aussie's message after quitting 12-hour a day job to be a barista: 'Work doesn't have to be your identity'

Ellie Kate launched her own business but quickly realised it wasn't going to give her the work-life balance she wanted.

A young Aussie wants people to know their job doesn't have to be their "whole personality" after she quit her gig to become a barista. Ellie Kate has been hustling in her industry for nearly a decade after becoming a YouTuber at 14, but she decided to give it all up for the pursuit of happiness and a better work-life balance.

The 22-year-old dropped out of university and became a freelance executive assistant for a social media and marketing company. After close to three years of learning invaluable skills, she launched her own business on the Gold Coast to compete with those she saw on social media who were young and seemingly always succeeding.

Her business was teaching others about social media and writing courses for people who want to tap into that space. But she told Yahoo Finance she felt like she needed to "rush" her career in order to get ahead.

Ellie Kate standing with a laptop and another shot of her holding up a coffee cup
Ellie Kate started her own business and quickly realised it wasn't giving her the work-life balance she wanted. So she put it on ice and picked up a job that made her happy. (Source: Supplied)

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"Because we consume so much of other people's lives [on social media] and we hear so many amazing success stories, we often feel like there is a rush or there's a timeline or a deadline to achieve whatever it is that you want," she explained.


While she was proud to launch her own brand at such a young age, she was quickly working 12-hour days to make sure her venture stayed afloat.

After a few months, she discovered others around her were able to finish work and enjoy their personal lives.

"They seemed so stress-free," she told Yahoo Finance. "They come home and get to hang out and they don't have to think about work. I was looking around and realising that there isn't just one way that I can be successful and be happy."

Kate explained how being in her field consumed her "whole identity" and she wanted a change.

So, she paused her business and went to work at a local cafe. But navigating that mentally was a lot for Kate.

"I think that's the biggest thing I had to get over was the fear of other people's judgement," she said. "Of it being perceived that I was going backwards or that I had failed because I tried something and then was no longer doing it."

The 22-year-old is only a few weeks into being a barista, but she said her whole world had changed.

"I feel like so peaceful. I feel like I've got my thoughts back because I have the mental energy and space when I come home from work to just do what I want to do now," she said.

While she's not making as much money as she was as an executive assistant, she believes having a good work-life balance can be more valuable than a higher salary.

Not only that, but the huge career switch has helped her realise what she wants to do in the future.

After seeing how one operates, the young Aussie now plans to open up her own cafe in the next few years.

Research from LinkedIn found 76 per cent of professionals were considering changing jobs in 2024, which is up 15 per cent, year on year.

Higher wages was the main factor (49 per cent) motivating workers to make the change, followed by a desire for a better work-life balance (33 per cent).

After posting about her career decision, Kate was met with loads of people who had done the same or were thinking about it.

"Me literally quitting nursing to become a librarian or work in a bookstore because it brings me so much more peace," wrote one person.

"I worked eight years in healthcare, during covid etc. I am 28 and now I’m just a waitress at a little cafe and enjoy going to work every day. The worst that can happen is I spill some coffee!" added another.

"Yes girl, I am a 31-year-old who just left her corporate job to go back to barista life while I be kind to myself and figure things out. I see you," said a third.

Kate said it was so nice knowing there were others out there in the same boat.

"It's been so beautiful. I just want to give everyone a hug that has commented and said, 'I wish I had this mindset', or people saying, 'Thank you for sharing this it's made me feel better' or 'It's made me want to try something new'," she told Yahoo Finance.

She wants people to know it's okay to go down a different route at any age and while it might be scary, it's better to take a chance rather than remain stuck.

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