This year, I did something that was completely out of character. I quit my job… without having a back-up plan or a new job lined up.
I have always been a borderline workaholic. I feel guilty when I am not productive. I love working (even when I complain). I like getting paid on a regular basis.
In 2016, my work life began deteriorating because the environment was less than ideal. It was toxic and in the end, I knew there wasn’t a future there that I would want. It drained me—but it took me a full year to admit to myself that I needed to be done. It wasn’t an easy conclusion for me to arrive to. That Asian-Model-Minority-Guilt is way too real.
This blog post isn’t a “I quit my job and started working on my own and made many moneys and here’s how YOU can do it too!” … I swear, are any of those legit? Because yes, I would be super interested in making 6-figures with just my laptop.
These are my own, personal advice to people who are struggling with their work right now and are thinking to themselves: being broke is better than this.
First, make a very real and very semi-rational plan.
I have always been obsessive about saving money and I made a financial goal for myself as well as a set-date to motivate me to reach that goal. I understand that my situation is different from other people and most people can not easily save up. I do believe it’s not impossible. Start prioritizing your purchases and bills. Is there anything you can exchange for a cheaper deal even if it’s not THE THING you want? What is unnecessary in your life? This is important and it will be hard, but it’s a good start.
Remember, money will always come and go — time is constantly running out.
Okay. I know it’s super annoying to see blog posts like this and I get it, people can not just afford to quit their jobs, especially if they are supporting other people. I’m super lucky.
BUT time IS constantly running out. During the year I cried and fretted over whether or not I should leave my job, one of my best friends constantly reminded me of this. You can’t ever get time back and if you had a chance to spend time the way you want, go for it.
Admit to yourself when it’s time to be a quitter.
This was difficult for me. I have never just taken a break from,well, life. For most of us, our work defines us and that is very hard to shake off. I am still struggling with it. I have to keep myself in check and prevent myself from jumping on every opportunity. Although I admit, I already have a job interview right after my last day at my current job! See? I suck at this “taking a break” thing.
I am a creative person and my peers are pushing me to actually take a real vacation from working. Again, I know it’s a luxury and I am taking advantage of it while I can. I will take a trip. I will work my own projects and portfolio. I will freelance when I can but for the most part, I am embracing self-care.
Not just yoga on the beach.
I know people are assuming I am going on some Eat-Pray-Love-Find-Myself-Journey. Um, no. Gross.
I am learning that there is a difference between working versus productivity. Anyone can work but it takes more to actually produce. I want to make things that I care about. I want to elevate my skill set and find a more elevated career path for myself. I can’t just sit at a desk job anymore and push the same buttons on my keyboard.
Things you can do to achieve a somewhat vague goal or making “things better”:
• If you are a creative person, try to go back to your roots. Step away from the computer and pick up a pencil and a sketchpad.
• Take classes! Find something interesting that pertains to your career, or a logical extension of what you were doing before.
• Keep a physical or mental to-do list even if it’s just: Clean out that damn bookcase and donate old books to Goodwill.
• Spend time with like-minded people who you can share thoughts and knowledge with. People who understand what you are trying to achieve.
• Don’t listen to people who want you to fail.
• Don’t let other peoples’ fears get in your way.
• Pet as many dogs and cats as you can (unless you’re allergic… then I’m sorry you will never feel the joy of a loving pet).
• Do the things that you love.
• Know that you don’t have to settle and there will always be a better place for you when you are finally ready to get back into the work force.
I will keep you updated on my own progress as I go through this very new phase in my life. I’m sure I’ll have days when I’m crying and broke, so… stay tuned and let’s all find out where this insane decision takes me!