I was speaking with a friend earlier this week about my experience of leaving my full-time job this past August. She is discerning doing the same thing, but for different reasons. I don't pretend to have everything figured out in my life, and the big catalyst for leaving the secure job that I had was because we were moving across the country. So in a sense, the leaving work was a consequence of a bigger life event. But regardless of how or what lead me to it, it's still a big deal. Now, I am incredibly fortunate because in my last week at that job in Boston, my boss offered me work on contract basis. I could do it from home, here in Minnesota. So that was, and is, a great blessing. However, nothing is guaranteed, and I am well aware that this setup could end at any time. And yet I still turned down a full-time job here when I was offered about a month ago. Why in the world would I do that and how do I not freak out about the possibility of being unemployed?
A few things I've learned, and once again - I'm no expert, about being able to make the leap from "security" to "unknown":
- Know thyself. I come from a background where hard work and practicality is greatly valued. For years all I can remember is identifying the path I was on and sticking to it. There was never a time I thought to hit the pause button, and before I know it I'm 26 wondering how I ended up in this field. With each year and each job I held, things got harder. And while there were many external factors that contributed to that, the reality is I did not love what I was doing. And I was not growing as a person in the ways I wanted to grow. Realizing this was the first step in being okay with making a change.
- Discover your passions. It's true that not every passion is going to be lucrative. I'm still working on figuring out what it is that I can realistically do that will allow me to flourish as a person. I've also changed dramatically since graduating college. It's actually been a challenge to figure out what my interests are now without bringing to mind all the things I've invested in over the years. Discerning truly where my heart is has been a process, but this brainstorming needs to be done.
- Have a plan, but be flexible. When we decided to move, I had a semi-plan when the offer to continue my previous work came. Whatever I was feeling at the time, I had to be prudent. I'm not in a place where I could start my own business and thrive, so this opportunity was actually a huge gift. It still gives me flexibility to develop other passions while performing work that I'm comfortable with. Whether you're offered an opportunity like I was, or you can find part-time work to sustain you while you make the transition, it's a step that many people need to take in order to get where they want to be.
- Trust, trust, trust! I definitely have moments of fear; moments of dreading what may happen next month, or even next week. But I remember that in all my time of doubt, I've never been let down. Things don't always go as I had hoped, but I've never been left in despair. Right now I am trying to focus on the paid work I'm doing, while also working on other projects that I may want to lean more towards in the future. When I dwell on the future "what if's", I am completely robbed of any joy and gratitude I have for the present. "Do not worry about tomorrow, tomorrow will take care of itself." - Matthew 6:34
I'm still figuring out this part of my life. I don't know everything that's going to happen, and on what timeline. And as much as I might sometimes pine for life back in Boston, I am deeply convinced that I am doing what I ought in this moment. Not to mention, I have a loving God looking after me and a great husband supporting me along the way.
Have you ever made a decision that would mean a time of uncertainty? Have you made the leap into a new career that is life-giving for you? Tell me about it!