b Self-Helpless: True Tales of a Working Girl: Working for Myself: How I Knew What I Wanted to Be When I Grew Up

1/12/2007

 

Working for Myself: How I Knew What I Wanted to Be When I Grew Up

When I tell people how I came into my new career, they shudder and tell me how brave I am. It’s funny, because when it comes to taking dramatic risks in my life I don’t think I’m that brave.

So many say, “I really admire you for doing this, after all – I could NEVER just quit my job and start my own business.”

Let me tell you: I never thought I would quit my job and strike out on my own either. I am someone who thrives on the secure… I work, I make money, I put it in the bank and put some towards retirement. Never did it enter my mind that I’d ditch that security for a completely insecure existence.

However, I gradually became that person. As I spent day after day (and subsequently night after night) stewing in excessive stomach acid and depression as a result of my growing distaste and sheer unhappiness with my former career, I woke up one day and knew I could just not do it anymore. Things went from bad to worse… I tried to work harder and harder to make things work out, and the worse off I was.

As I searched high and low for a new job and interviewed at various places, I was dismayed when I saw nothing coming to fruition. The more I thought about it, I knew deep down that I’d only be going from the frying pan into the fire. I decided my life was too short to try to make anyone other than myself happy. In my experience, people very rarely appreciated it. So why bother?

Once I made that decision I had to give serious thought to what I was going to do. I mean, it’s all fine and good to decide not to work “for the man” anymore, but I had to do something to support myself and have a solid future.

Then it came to me.

I was steeped in books and research trying to find ways to make it work with bosses; I learned new management techniques and styles and enrolled in communications workshops – all to make my (now former) career work. I did it so much that people came to me asking my opinions on issues. People wanted advice from me. Then I started getting asked to do workshops of my own. Then I started this blog and decided to write a book. That’s when I knew I saw the beginnings of a new career take shape. Just to be sure, I took personality tests to confirm my aptitude and interests (I took the MAPP test).

I got my financial ducks in a row and hired a business coach who walked me through all the steps I needed to take before “quitting the day job”. He helped me construct a business plan and an income plan. I put myself on a strict (ok, semi-strict) timeline as to when things would get done (one of the biggest lessons I learned: things take a lot longer than you originally plan).

As hard as the journey’s been, I have never regretted my decision. It wasn’t easy to make the leap, but let me tell you, it was harder for me to stay behind. The way I see it, I was more or less forced into action. Some people are naturally inclined to take risks, others are propelled by outside forces. I’m one of the outside forces people. And I think I’m better for it. At least now I can look at myself and feel good about what I do and look to the future with a newfound sense of hope.

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Comments:
I too am happy for you. It does take balls to make that move for happiness...I too was in the same boat. If I was @ my former employer I think I would be in the looney bin.
 
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