In November last year, I was told two things: my position would be eliminated and the school I was working at would be closed permanently the following month. What I felt was a heavy mixture of disbelief and relief; I had been wavering in the decision to put my notice in or stick it out for another six months. Due to the job market created by the pandemic, I didn’t feel responsible walking away from a salaried position with benefits, but I also knew I was suffocating under the stress and depletion of working the past 18 months in survival mode, reaching new thresholds weekly. The call to close the school made my decision for me.
I knew I had been perfectly poised to finally make the leap from a job that made me miserable into the thing I had always wanted to do with my life but had been too afraid to fully go after: becoming a full-time writer. I’d put into practice years before the act of choosing things that might make other people uncomfortable and realizing that necessary things happen when I got uncomfortable myself.
Transitioning from the security of a 9-to-5 job with benefits into a job that is solely based on your commitment to your abilities is not comfortable, but there are so many ways to embrace this change with eyes wide open, alleviating some of that pressure. If you're thinking about making that transition, take these lessons from my experience into consideration.
Meet with a Financial Advisor
It wasn’t one month before receiving this life-changing news that I felt nudged to meet with a financial advisor for the first time, and I can’t recommend this move enough. Finances tended to be this monster in my head that I tiptoed around, only being scared into making big strides when it started to roar. Getting advice from a professional set me up for this transition in a way I’m incredibly grateful for and I feel more confident in my daily life carrying his advice around in my back pocket, front pocket, all the pockets, regardless of my income level.
I was given the opportunity to move into a trailer at one fourth the cost of the rent I was paying, and so I welcomed an entirely new lifestyle with fewer expenses.
Commit to What You Want
With this adjustment came the ability to embrace other alterations to my life, like forming new habits and parting with old ones that no longer served my season, setting new expectations for the day-to-day, and knowing that what I was choosing might not be approved of by people in my life because it wouldn’t be a comfortable choice for them. One of the most empowering points of hitting a dead end and making the choice to pursue a dream job is that the inclination to care what other people might think has the opportunity to die along with the past.
Go Easy On Yourself
The magical ingredient to this season of life has been heapings of grace. My first week embarking on the journey of being a freelance writer was rough. I prioritized the wrong things, didn’t get the amount of work done that I needed or wanted to, and was quick to choose extroversion over much-needed time alone. It has taken me ten years to arrive at the place of finally embracing the life I have so desired to live and making it happen was not a magical overnight experience. It was trial and error, financial hardship, and discomfort, but it was and continues to be joy-filled, extraordinary, and life-giving.
I went from choosing jobs that provided security but ultimately ran me into the ground to trusting my abilities and valuing the years of fine-tuning them, and while I no longer dare to sacrifice my personal legend for the sake of financial security, I leave room for other opportunities to supplement the cost of living. Grace in action; the freedom to figure it out.
What can seem like the end is actually a beautiful beginning to an unpredictable new season, one of those objectives that present a high level of difficulty while also being oh so worth it. It’s like having a peek behind the curtain at the life of a seedling: at its most vulnerable stage, before any growth has begun, it’s covered up by a mound of dirt. But don’t let the fear of the process of being planted hold you back from moving into a new season, especially if the soil seems divinely prepared.