I quit my job last week.
It was an exhilarating rush. But it also felt so expected and firm. Like it was already written and I was simply moving into action to the plot of my own story. This whole post might seem very anti-climatic if you are expecting an epic blow-out of Independent Creative vs. Corporation. So first let me tell you why I didn’t do it.
I didn’t do it to start a movement. Or a revolution. I didn’t do it to lead you anywhere except to a new point-of-view. I didn’t quit to convince everyone else to quit their jobs too. Or to proclaim that jobs are utterly useless by nature. I think jobs have the potential to be incredibly valuable. Just like I think your own small business and diversification of income is valuable.
I think we should embrace all options, instead of it being an either-or situation. I made the decision to quit from a steam room last weekend when my husband took me to get a massage for my birthday. I had just dumped so much water over the rocks, I couldn’t see a foot in front of me.
As I settled into the hot fog, I found myself relaxed and calm, ready and sure, and completely delirious with core-rocking warmth against the 9-degree weather outside. The idea to Quit(!) suddenly and swiftly rooted firmly in my mind. And unlike all the other times it presented itself, it wasn’t in the middle of a warpath of uncertainty or doubt. It was surrounded only by the future.
And in that future I am no longer with my company. That’s not to say the decision was rash. I am contemplative by nature and spent months looking at my situation on and off, deciding next steps. So what felt like thousands of hours of inner-debate was decided in a single moment when my mental guard was down. I could see my decision sitting there. And it wasn’t going anywhere.
Here was my big epiphany. I was never going to feel any differently about this job. And there was no reason to debate it any longer and stall moving on with my life. I quit because it was time. I quit because I could no longer ignore the direction my job was taking and saw the fork in the road was a wide one. I could no longer straddle both paths. If I didn’t pick the creative path, I wasn’t certain I would ever get back on it.
When I started this position, I had already been self-employed for nearly 8-years as a video editor and a writer. Nearly 2 years ago, I was in a bit of a rut and when I dug my way out realized there was a crossroads. I could either keep aimlessly wandering and be looking for pieces to connect in my creative career, or I could look at a totally new path and make a move toward reinvention. So when this job presented itself, the idea of combining writing with video and social media work as a Multimedia Director was too big to ignore.
During my tenure, I’ve been the creative catch-all and while some of it was dense with the usual frustration one faces at a job; I’ve also worked on some amazing projects in social media, commercials, pitching, and copywriting. There was a reason I stayed as long as I did. The company I’ve been working with is owned by a corporation. And that corporation is owned by an even larger corporation. It made things… complex.
My life was often a series of corporate meetings and a flurry of spreadsheet tabs. I could easily spend all day in meetings wishing I was somewhere outside or behind a computer working on my writing. As the company inched toward a new chapter on the horizon, I saw the writing on the wall. And the writing was full of run-on sentences and hanging participles. I would soon be in a position where I was overseeing everything with little hands-on creation.
There were other reasons, which don’t really seem relevant to anything I talk about here. And in the end, it doesn’t matter. I just couldn’t hide from the knowledge of what I knew deep down. What I know is this. In between all the issues and non-issues at work, having more creative options is the only thing I really want.
There’s more. I have a Trust Fund. A Trust Fund I built for myself the first time I was self-employed. A fund I started with $0.00 while making 25k a year in NYC when near-broke and living penny to penny before, during, and after 9/11. A Trust Fund I built when I worked at two different jobs from 2 a.m. to 7 a.m. and then 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. when newly self-employed. And when my husband and I got married, we ventured into the journey of building a Trust Fund together to open a world of new possibilities.
I had the foresight to look down the road and Trust that my fund could keep me going when I needed it; that leaps of faith would be easier to launch based on merit and quality of work than solely to survive. I’m not suggesting I don’t need to work. Far from it. I’m suggesting I set my intention to have the ability to make choices for myself and not worry about the risk of a financial catastrophe while doing it. I don’t trust one job or one project or one check to keep a roof over my head and never have. I only trust myself to do it.
You should consider making your own Trust Fund. Today. Now. Start with $1.01.
So what’s next? To keep the ‘employment’ in self-employment, I’ll be writing pitches for TV promos and copy for a company downtown where I have a close connection. I am incredibly excited about the creative process involved with this and getting paid to generate ideas and concepts. Something I thrive in. I may also do some light video editing work for them, and also offer my copywriting and transcribing services to a friend’s company when needed.
But I’m even more excited about what I want to do with Creative Guide To Life. This is the first time in my life I felt I had a clear, concise vision for this type of venture. I’ve always wanted my own platform, my own place to have my own voice. But it was riddled with mysteries and insecurities, false starts, and near hits and misses. This time around, I don’t doubt. I know through planning, focus, action, and persistence; I’ll create what I set out to do. It’s here and it’s time to realize its full potential.
Here’s what I’m planning:
A free mini e-course tapping alternative resources to earn money through your creativity, along with actionable marketing plans. There’s more in store for your creative life out there than selling articles for $8 a pop.
A second free e-course on how to infuse more creativity into your life and work – specially designed for those who are so burned out you have no idea where to start or how to make it a daily practice. This course lends itself to the philosophy that creativity is a point-of-view, not something you necessarily do as an artist.
A larger digital product for those who want to make drastic changes and blow the lid off the creative potential they’ve only just tapped into. This one will be a premium product, and it won’t be for everyone. But that’s okay, you’ll still get regular content here and free courses to choose from if you want it. I promise to never shove any kind of premium product down your throat or suggest anything I’m saying or creating is a one size fits all product. If I do, unsubscribe. I’ll get the idea.
Gratitude I never quite understood what the big deal was about gratitude. Say thanks and move on. Done. But now I get that it’s so much more than just that. Without expressing gratitude, you make no room to receive anything else in your life. You’re so focused on what’s next, you never truly embrace or acknowledge what you have.
There’s no time to let yourself appreciate and seize. I am incredibly grateful to have the emotional support of my husband and friends (both online and off) in this new venture. I am grateful to have work the kind of work that I love peering around the corner. I am grateful to have readers and bloggers invested in what I have to say. I am grateful my boss was supportive and understanding and made what felt like a monumental decision end with the exhilaration of cresting a mountaintop.
And I am grateful to have 4-weeks left to tie-up loose ends and leave on the best note possible. I feel completely rejuvenated and bursting to tackle the next step in this journey.
Courage Someone on Twitter mentioned my quitting was a courageous act. While I appreciate that kind of generous spirit, I can’t lay full claim to that sentiment. I don’t have an aversion to taking another staff job. If the right position presented itself at the right time, I’d take it.
But the freedom to choose is incredibly important to me. However, I know as well as anyone that it’s seductive to drink what someone else is giving you that offers sweet and easy comfort. Even when you know you don’t like the taste. It’s easy to feel like what you inherently know to be wrong for you, like a job, is actually good enough. That it’s normal to be uncomfortable. That it’s no big deal.
But while forcing myself out of the comfort of denial and into a world of possibilities might be courageous, doing so with the lessons of 8-years of self-employment behind me and emotional support of others is not. I’ve already faced those fears early on and know if I did it once, I can do it again. And this time around, I trust that I can do it even better.
I can’t say I feel brave, but I can say I feel liberated and an epic sense of humility knowing that people put themselves out there on far less. I’m sure there will be bumps in the road like any chapter of life. But instead of pretending what I did was brave; I’ll evoke the courage of others who are living their creative dreams to propel myself forward to make good on my own dreams. And in the end, those dreams are really just promises to seize upon what I’m intrinsically built to do. Create.
So when the steam cleared and I reached for more water to pour over the rocks, I knew it was time. It was time to stop wasting time in deep contemplation for an answer I already knew to be true. The time to move on is Now. … and now has never looked so good.