Thanks For Letting Me Stop By
It's been one year since I left my job without knowing what was coming next. As the months went by, I struggled with my decision, with my identity, with my bank account, and with the constant questions about what I was doing next. But I also learned how to be my own boss, how to better manage my time, how to be more comfortable with uncertainty, and how to deal with this whole personal branding pressure that everyone says is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE WORLD (I slightly disagree). Oh! And I created my own website! That was a feat of epic proportions, believe it or not.
I've spent the better past of this fall conducting interviews for the book I'm writing about transition, and what's struck me more than anything is that all that stuff I just mentioned? Totally normal, and common. And while we all like to think we and our experiences are unique and special, there is great comfort in knowing others have been in the same place, and faced the same victories and defeats, as they figure out what comes next in their own careers.
3 Pieces of Advice
If you're thinking about jumping without a net -- leaving your job without another one lined up -- I guess I would say three things. First, do make sure you prepare your finances for such a drastic change. When you work for yourself, there are really no guarantees when it comes to income. Second, prepare your heart and soul for some deep searching, questioning, and potential heartbreak. It is not an easy process by any stretch of the imagination, and don't let anyone tell you it is, no matter how dedicated you are to "finding your passion."
And third, prepare yourself for the new confidence that the experience will, ultimately, bring to your life. Striking out on your own teaches you so many things about how you operate your daily existence that you can't help but become a stronger person. That realization will hit at the weirdest times, and it will make you smile because you won't recognize this new piece of yourself. Of course it won't be exactly the same for you, but I do find that a year into this experiment, I am quite a different person in so many ways, and I think that must be fairly common.
One thing I wish I had done from the moment I left my old job was to keep track of the journey in some way. I didn't do that, and now it's easy to look back and start to misremember some of the emotions and the process. So if you take the leap, find a way to record your own journey. I think it's a good one to look back on.
And if you do, I hope you'll let me know how it's going. I want to hear your stories of career transition, and I'm happy to keep sharing mine with you. Good luck, and thanks so much for joining me here.