I haven’t posted on this blog in a while, mainly because I started a new women in tech blog, Away With Words.
This new post is for all the people who may be thinking about doing something scary, or are struggling to find a new path for themselves.
Why I quit my job
Though I’ve wanted to be a freelance writer ever since I was mature enough to understand I need to have some kind of job, actually quitting my full-time job was something I thought I’d do in my late thirties, or maybe never.
Being just your average person, I settled for getting a job in an office (my ultimate nightmare!) and this was mainly because I didn’t have a clue how to become a freelancer.
It turned out that working in an office is nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be (well, my first proper job was, but you live and learn). It was actually kind of fun at times, and of course everyone is lovely.
But something nagged at me, telling me that I wasn’t fulfilling myself. I didn’t feel I was ‘complete’ by doing the work I was doing, and I always wondered about what else there was ‘out there’.
Overcoming a lack of self-belief
Since I didn’t believe it was possible for me to become a freelance writer, I didn’t even try to look for other work.
Instead, I did a lot of volunteer writing, which taught me a lot. I also wrote on this blog, and some very kind people gave me great feedback about the posts I shared.
Finally, one day in April 2016, I’d had enough.
I had been searching for my next step on the career ladder, and I got rejected after having an interview for another job. I was really annoyed and decided to throw in the towel on the whole career ladder thing – extreme! This was because my heart wasn’t in it.
I spoke to one of my friends about how he’d managed to quit his job as a recruiter (grueling!) and started travelling the world while running his own business. His words of encouragement were resounding, and they started me off on my journey.
I was also emboldened by another friend, who had to cope after losing his job. My worst nightmare had evolved from working in an office, which I was already doing, and turned into getting fired, but their triumph and grace made me see that the worst is never really that bad.
That it’s always me and my own fears that are holding me back.
So, after trying out freelance writing for a couple of months, it turned out I could make quite a bit of money out of it.
And then I quit.
Well actually, I tearfully told my manager I was going to quit and then I went on holiday.
Then, I quit.
How I knew what to do
It’s been really sad but I know I’m making the right decision. The time is right to leave.
I learnt so much from my job and it is a hugely contributing factor to how I’m able to become a successful freelancer. I met wonderful, helpful people and learnt about business, marketing and workplace culture.
Telling everyone I know about my decision has been an ongoing process, and I’m stunned to be able to say that every single reaction has been positive. No one has asked me if I’m crazy, or what I’m going to do if I fail.
Everyone has been wholeheartedly supportive (at least to my face!) and been excited for me. Maybe it’s because I am an extremely cautious and sensible person so they assume I know what I’m doing (heh…). Or maybe everyone I know is also crazy.
I’ve learned that there are many things you can do, even if you lack self-belief. You can build up that belief – you just have to work up the courage to take that single first step. That is the turning point between complacency and exhilaration.
So, if anyone else is thinking of making a big leap, I’d be happy to talk to you about how I dealt with the anxiety I felt (and still feel), and how I have systematically taken calculated risks to ensure I stand the best chances of success.
My next post will be about what I have learned from being self-employed.
Image: Phoebe Dill, Unsplash