Have clear and confident answers to these important questions before you pull the plug.
I made a conscious decision to quit my job as a full-time journalist two years ago. The thought of staying in a role that didn’t balance my family’s needs and was not helping me grow, scared me more than the unknown world of freelance and self-employment.
The reasons for quitting are plentiful and not everyone will agree with what you are doing or plan to do, but that’s okay. Tune out those voices and try to figure out what you want. Not any easy questions to answer (I’ve written about this here with some help on how to tackle it).
I decided to plan and control my exit and do it own my terms. It was not an easy decision and I quit a great-paying job that many journalists would die to have but deep reflection (some tears, heavy, early morning CrossFit workouts to decompress and meditation) revealed that my career was not moving in the right direction, so I gathered the courage to do something about it.
I have an awesome wife who supports me and both of us knew that other aspects of our life were in jeopardy if I continued the work I was doing. My health (physically and mentally), our relationship, my sanity and the strength of the relationship to my kids were all deteriorating in many respects. I did not want that.
We both felt I was ready to work independently and try something new. The kids certainly wouldn’t mind having one parent home more frequently.
Before quitting, here are the questions I took some time to answer and reflect on:
Those are tough questions to answer but essential. Your situation may demand a different set of questions but these are the ones that were important to me.
My decision was not taken in isolation as being married means you make decisions jointly by balancing the needs, desires, fears and wants of your partner. There are more questions that need to be answered, sure, but get those down that directly address your biggest fears and that will help inform your decision.
If, for example, I had identified that financially it would not have been possible to go freelance then I may have found a new job first and not chosen the freelance path.
Quitting a job is a messy affair and no amount of planning makes the transition easy. It’s been two years since going freelance and, what I can say for certain is that I don’t regret leaving full-time employment. I have a new and more complex playground of my own making but I now shoulder the full responsibility for what I am doing.
In many ways there is more weight to carry, in other ways an abundance of opportunity exists beyond what I imagined. The hope for a future of my choice lessens my worries on days when things look murky on the new mountain I have decided to climb.
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