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.
- 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.
- People will not understand why you left without having a new job. Don’t explain a thing. That is all.
- Nothing is more frustrating than well-intentioned friends and family sending you job postings. Be gracious and keep grindin’.
- Your reputation follows you … everywhere. You’re very much a brand. Behave accordingly.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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’ve left behind).
- 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.