WELLNESS
09/10/2014 10:09 am ET Updated Sep 10, 2014

A Painful Wakeup Call Taught Vanessa Cunningham 'You Don't Have To Kill Yourself To Prove Yourself'

In the conventional sense, Vanessa Cunningham was a great success. After graduating from Pace University, she took her knack for finance to a succession of jobs on Wall Street, eventually landing at Goldman Sachs.

As an associate at the investment bank, Cunningham logged days that could stretch to 14 hours. The grueling schedule left her stressed and unfulfilled, and began to take a toll on her health. She began to grapple with the fact that she was “doing well” professionally but not as a human being. Finally, a hospital visit convinced her that it was long past time to change her life.

“One of the things I noticed when I was in corporate America was that people tend to put their jobs before every and anything in their lives,” Cunningham, now 29, told The Huffington Post. She decided she couldn't afford to be one of those people, a decision that gave her a fresh perspective on what really mattered in her life. “You don’t have to kill yourself to prove yourself,” she said.

For Cunningham's full story, see the video above.

This video is part of a series highlighting the causes and consequences of burnout, and the ways ordinary people are rejecting our culture of overwork and reclaiming their lives. To share your story, email thirdmetric@huffingtonpost.com.

Producers: Gregory Beyer and Jordan Jayson
Videographer/editor: Amber Genuske
Graphics: Noelle Campbell

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