Today is the 3 year anniversary of leaving my 9-5 job. It’s a significant milestone.
I remember when I first made the decision to leave. It was more than a year before I actually left and it was as if a light bulb had gone off. The “aha” moment was as sharp and clear as a well-composed digital photo. So, why am I still here in this job where my ideas are not valued, my work duties are slowly being eroded, and my work is being marginalized by people who do not have the training and expertise that I have? It may have been a case of being in one place too long or maybe I was just tired of the hypocrisy I witnessed everyday. If I sound bitter, I was, and I was exhausted. Something needed to change and I knew then that I would leave.
In preparing to leave, I had a vague concept of what I might do and I even wrote a business plan. That business plan was okay but was born at a time where I was still thinking like a manager and an indentured servant. My plan was to be a consultant which was another way to become an employee again, only now, I would have many bosses instead of one. I knew that I would make a living doing consulting, but in the process I was ignoring my true calling.
I worried about money and making ends meet. I worried about what my friends would think. I was particularly worried about my family especially my husband. Could he support me, spiritually and financially, in leaving a well-paying job to follow my passion? I even worried that I would be homeless in a few years. Doesn’t every entrepreneur have that homelessness worry at least once a month?
The one thing that kept me from chickening-out and staying in that job was this overwhelming desire for autonomy. I no longer wanted to write a script for someone else and have my words become swallowed in the corporate morass. I wanted to write my name at the bottom of all my work. I wanted to have the say on what I published. I no longer wanted to maintain programs and structures that were ridiculously bureaucratic. I wanted to dream, teach, entertain, tell stories and do interesting writing projects that allowed me to continuously learn my craft. I wanted to be crazy and explore ideas that seemed impossible. I wanted my work to be fun again.
So I have become an artist who uses words as my medium. Despite the doubts I have and the fear that I will someday starve, I still get up every morning excited to sit down at my computer and write.
Three years ago today, I left my 9-5 job and I became writer.
Cheers, Catherine Location: Saltspring Island, BC
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