Some people don’t get tired of the thrill of commuting or driving everyday to and fro work. Some people love arriving in the office and heading straight to their cute cubicle or aesthetically designed workspace. Some people like the challenge of climbing up the corporate ladder to reach their dream job position. I once dreamt of that, too sans the commute. But when I finally got to step foot in that life, I discovered that it wasn’t really for me and it took me 2 jobs to realize that. Some may find it too early to decide on, while some may say that I could have already started doing something better with my time earlier on.
If you’ve read my post on why I quit a job that’s been good to me, then you would notice there that it took me a heck amount of time before I got the courage to actually decide to leave. Trust me, you wouldn’t want to be in my head when I realized I wanted to resign. I delayed that decision for weeks and weeks all because I was scared with a lot of things. My fears are what held me back for a period of time and that is what I am going to talk about now.
Quitting your job means stepping out from a stable, comfortable life to a path leading to the unknown.
Terrifying, I know, but I did it anyway.
Where am I going to get money now?
I am pretty sure what convinces a person to stay in their job, whether it is harsh to them or not, is because of money. And that is perfectly understandable. I actually applaud those who have to work twice as much than others so they can provide to their family or for their own self. And that is somehow my case because even if I don’t have anyone to support, I have my own self to feed. I don’t really like asking money from my parents because they have provided so much already.
I learned how to budget my earnings wisely and not to spend that much anymore (and if I did, it’s a hundred percent because I am really really stressed). Heck, I even need to budget what I eat or even when to eat if I am really trying to save up.
So, the thought of leaving a job that has been my sole income source for months really didn’t help me sleep at night.
How I overcame this:
I didn’t immediately leave my job even if I had made my decision. I made sure I have a considerable amount of income saved in my bank account—enough to help me last for maybe 6 months max as I start on my freelance and blogging journey. I was prepared and I have planned everything out. Did I mention I’m a planner?
- I promised myself not to overindulge nor buy things that I don’t (currently) need. I told myself that I can always have the option to buy them when I make some money again.
- I gained networks and connections wherein they have expressed interest in working with me (project-based/freelance opportunities) whenever I find the time. So, make sure you don’t immediately cut ties with the fellow professionals you meet!
- I made an oath to myself to start making money on my first two to three months. The first month is to research resources and tips on what I am actually getting into.
- I am going to treat my craft as a business. Hence, I am going to work hard on it until I see results.
What are they going to think of me?
“You quit your job again?” “Did you even last a year this time?”, “Are you sure you’re not giving up too easily?”, “You quit your job so now what?” are just some of the questions I dread will be thrown at me. And oh, they will be thrown at me, I’m sure.
I know this isn’t a good thing (and I’m working on it, trust me), but I care too much about what other people think of me especially if they’re someone close to me. And that is why I try my best not to disappoint those who expect so much from me. At the top of my list: my family.
Now, growing up in a conservative Asian family, you get all these expectations and dreams (that are not yours) thrown at you at a very young age. Read my experience here. My parents’ dreams for me were to either become a doctor, a lawyer, or work for an impressive company working my way up to a comfortable and stable position. It’s obvious that none of those worked for me so am I really ready to throw another curveball at them?
Next on my list are my friends and fellow colleagues who are pretty content on their jobs. So, making them understand my choice might be a challenge. I actually told my decision to some of my workmates and I was met with clashing opinions. Some supported me and were happy for me, while others kept questioning my decision and were actually saying I’m going to come running back to them in the end. “You’re going to get tired of that lifestyle.”
But I guess I should have already expected that, right?
How I overcame this:
First: Because of some not-so-positive feedback I got from my workmates, I just kept my decision a secret to most of the people I know. I know the social pressure will get into me, (Spoiler: it did somehow get into me when I was met with hurtful responses) and I want to avoid that as much as possible or else it’s really going to be unhealthy for my mental state.
I know that if I tell my decision to everyone I know, I’m going to get so much pressure from most of them asking for updates about my life: “What are you doing now?”, “Are you job hunting again?”, “Did you already apply for freelancing jobs?” I know these are meant to be encouraging, but too much of these questions will pressure me to the point that I force myself to actually do something. And when I force myself to write, the more I can’t—my mind just goes blank.
A handful of people who I know will give me that extra needed encouragement is really all I need.
Second: I hardened my armor and strengthened my confidence. This is especially difficult for me since I have social anxiety and I always tend to put on a pleasing or “perfect” front to others so they won’t think any less of me. But then again, I didn’t want to live for others.
I’d rather live and break for myself than bend and then break for others. I am not going to make my decision disappoint myself. I don’t need to explain myself to others because as long as I know who I am and I understand what I am doing, then there is no need for others’ approvals. I picked this path so I am going to make this work—there is no other option. I am doing this for myself and for my dreams—in my own pace and in my own time.
How am I going to tell this to my boss?
Ah, anxiety. The friend I never asked for. Another reason why I kept delaying the action to tell my boss is that I kept making up excuses in my head to save me the stress and anxiety of actually talking to him. “Ah, he looks busy now. Maybe later.”, “Oh, he has a meeting. Tomorrow then.”
This one was a great obstacle for me because my boss taught me a lot of things and showered me with opportunities I can only imagine. He was a great leader and mentor. Each time I think that I am ready to talk to him, my hand violently shakes and my heart palpitates, and then I delay the action again. True story, I already made my speech on the Notes app on my phone and I keep changing every line each day. I was actually ready, but the mere fact of facing him and showing my vulnerable side, and at the same time disappointing him, is what terrified me.
How I overcame this:
I realized that I was wasting so much more of my time. My heart wasn’t in my job anymore and my outputs were not as spectacular as before. I deserve more and the company deserves more. The more I kept on delaying, the more I waste precious seconds where I could have already searched for freelance opportunities or could have placed in more effort on my blog.
So, even if I barely got any sleep the night before from all of the nerves, I went to work the next day and the moment I arrived and saw that my boss was there, I told him that I need to talk to him. Even with my hands shaking behind my back and my voice visibly shaking, I made the move. No more delays and no more excuses.
This will look bad in my resume
What if some companies measure employee dedication through the length of time they have been working for their employers? I worked at my first job for 6 months and at my last job for 10 months. I did not reach a year on either one and apparently, that does not look good in my resume. Will this affect my freelance opportunities? What if I suddenly want to have a corporate job again? Will I have difficulty getting accepted?
How I overcame this:
There’s really nothing else to do but to prove everyone wrong. Here is a great chance to present to people my strong portfolio of written works. If they think dedication is measured by the duration a person stayed in a company, then I hope I can make them see me in a different light. I hope they could see my dedication and passion for what I do and in what I do for others through my works.
No more direction
I don’t have a boss to tell me what is right or wrong. I don’t have a mentor to guide me on my career path nor give me advice. I won’t have a deadline to follow and to push me to finish the work I have. No one will provide me with opportunities that I wouldn’t easily get when I’m on my own.
I have to trust my own instincts now and just hope that every decision I make will be the right one. Scary, isn’t it?
How I overcame this:
There are a lot of people out there who are on the same path as me (us). Just search ”Why I Quit My Job” or ”My Freelancing Experience” online and you will see several success stories and tips that will definitely help and push you in the right direction.
I did tons of research and blog readings related to the path I’m going to take even before I quit my job, and these resources have 100% helped me strengthen my confidence in the decision I made. I discovered that freelancers are slowly taking over the world and I can’t wait to be part of it. I also love reading blog income reports because I want to gain money through blogging.
On the other hand, I researched on the ugly side of blogging and how it isn’t easy money as how others make it out to be. I also researched the nightmares (and even more sleepless nights) that come with freelancing.
I kept myself inspired and motivated while keeping my foot on the ground and widening my eyes to harsh realities.
What if I fail?
Just like everyone else, I am afraid to fail especially when I am used to getting things my way—through my own efforts, of course. I was doing great in school. I had high grades, commendable outputs and projects, and I even land jobs pretty quickly.
However, I was able to achieve those successes because I was trained for it. I did well in school because I studied hard. I was able to give stellar outputs because I sacrificed sleep for it. I landed jobs pretty quickly because I was trained rigorously in college in order to face the “employment life”. I didn’t fail at certain things because I was trained to succeed.
But this unsure path wherein the only outcome I have is to either sink or swim? I don’t think I am trained enough for it.
How I overcame this:
I will fail.
Freelancing has its comforts but the downsides are quite discouraging as well. I know some of my applications will get rejected, and my outputs will be criticized, but I will grow. I will improve and I will be much better at my craft and that’s worth it.
Blogging takes a hefty amount of time to master along with disappointments and frustrations along the way. But sharing my words and experiences to people who need to hear it the most will make everything worth it.
I will fail, yes, but if this is something I’m really passionate about, then I know I will succeed in the end.
Don’t let fear stop you from facing the unknown to reach your dreams. My fears may have held me back for a short while but it helped me grow and face difficult situations on my own.
Gather courage and faith in yourself, and I promise you’ll do great. Good luck on your journey!