What I Learned From Quitting My Job With Nothing Lined Up

Call it the ultimate opportunity to reinvent yourself and build new bridges … all you have to do is quit your job.

Ready to hand in the resignation letter yet?

Much has changed since leaving a full-time, permanent gig in daily news.

I’ve been knocked down too many times to count.

Still, I didn’t wind up walking away from journalism and remain in the biz (and you don’t have to be a journalist to relate to the joy/terror of not knowing what to do next when the world is yours to conquer).

In a nutshell, here’s what I’ve learned from being a risk-taker.

  1. When you’re forced to find an income stream, you just might find a few. The key is to give yourself time to generate revenue. Be realistic.
  2. People will not understand why you left without having a new job. Don’t explain a thing. That is all.
  3. Nothing is more frustrating than well-intentioned friends and family sending you job postings. Be gracious and keep grindin’.
  4. Your reputation follows you … everywhere. You’re very much a brand. Behave accordingly.
  5. It’s OK to create something and walk away from it. I started a hyperlocal news site out of sheer frustration and curiosity. People paid attention to a very tiny project and it’s led to multiple job offers, two of which I’ve accepted (simultaneously).
  6. Keep moving. Physically (join a gym, pronto — it’s an excellent place to network and/or learn about yourself when you fall onto your face), emotionally, spiritually. It’s all connected.
  7. Savings will save your sanity. Having money in the bank is what afforded me the chance to do this crazy thing called “up and leave your job without a new start date at another company.” It’s an enormous gamble to walk away from a steady paycheque … having a little financial padding will help you sleep.
  8.  Say yes to meetings. But don’t be afraid to end the chat if you realize it’s not going to result in a positive outcome. (I once accepted a meeting with a man who’d interviewed me for a position a year prior. As soon as I sat down, he began rambling before heading into a sales pitch for a new biz he was starting. I was out of there shortly after. In hindsight, I could’ve asked for an agenda before taking the meeting).
  9. Be selective about who you give your phone number to. I’ve had too many people say “I know a journalist who works for _________. Maybe they can help you.” The reality is, they probably can’t. Get out there and meet people who don’t work in your field (or the one you’re leaving).
  10. Be proud of yourself for taking the plunge. Maybe it worked out, perhaps it was a disaster (like me on roller skates). Either way, you did it. Most people wouldn’t have.


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