Today I quit my job.
Or, more accurately, I chose not to renew my contract. I’ve been freelancing on and off there for the past four and a half years. I usually wait until they find a replacement or the work fizzles out before I leave.
But today I left on my own terms.
It’s a comfortable role. I work 3 days a week. I get paid the same as when I worked there full-time. There are loads of people at the company who would kill to work the days I do.
Why did I do this?
Because I want to work on my start-up.
This seems like a bizarre thing to do. It’s an app. I don’t have funding. I have no way to monetise the product for the next 6 months. And, after releasing it, there’s no guarantee anyone will use it, let alone pay for it.
So why would I give up my cushy job to do this?
I know that I have a safety net with my partner and my family. Even though a global recession looks like it’s looming, I hopefully have enough savings to see me through a year if I scrimped really hard.
And the best things I’ve done in my life have come when I took risks. The last time I had a few months off, I made an award-winning documentary, worked for an amazing charity and, well, came up with my start-up idea. I would have had none of those experiences if I stayed put in a 9-5.
Creativity always happens when you freefall.
But it also happens with people. This is one of the first times I don’t have have an idea of something to do such as a course. This feels like a risk.
And yet, I know these are just fears.
The last time I was unemployed and job-hunting, I found a job in two weeks. I know my current place would take me back, and they usually have projects I can help with in the future. I’ve always wanted the excuse to job-hunt. I have a much better idea of where I would want to be if I did decide to get a job full-time.
The fact is: I don’t have a good excuse.
But I’m still frightened. I’m frightened of how lucky I am to even be in this position where this is something I can do. I feel guilty about it. Shouldn’t I save up money? Shouldn’t I focus on adding up the pennies and eventually reaching the faraway vista of financial independence?
But I know I don’t earn enough for that to even be an option. The only way to earn more is to do something different.
But the dream isn’t to work for someone else: it’s to start my own business.
My partner says the way I can make myself most employable is to have my own start-up. I have no idea whether that applies to people in my circumstances. I don’t know how to code (he’s a coder). I don’t have heaps of confidence. I’m worried I’ll watch Netflix all day, drink beer at midday and do no exercise.
But I also feel relief. If they had come to me and said, ‘by the way, your contract has been renewed for another 3 months,’ how would I be feeling now?
When I close my eyes and let myself sink into my gut, I know it wouldn’t be right. I feel a lightness in me when I think about how my life will be in 3 weeks. I feel optimistic and excited.
For the past 2 months, I’ve actually been feeling grumpy and depressed when I go to work. This hasn’t got anything to do with the people or the role. It’s to do with the commute. I have no stamina for the 3 hours of my life wasted on a packed tube.
Now I feel I have a reason to go through with the commute each day.
Now I have made the decision, I’ve got the excitement of planning out the next four months. So stay tuned…