On December 10, 2008, I finally let go of the railing and jumped. I turned in my letter of resignation for the job I’ve had since August.
On the face of it, the job had all the trappings of a great gig. The reality of it was such that I wasn’t doing something that took me down the path I wanted to go and there are just certain ways that I refuse to be treated in this phase in my life. The job had been turning more and more sour as the weeks progressed and it definitely didn’t help that I refused to go with bureaucratic flow. I had planned on quitting in May, but after one of the meetings I had earlier this week, I decided that holding on that long wasn’t worth my time; the opportunity costs were too high. We are what we repeatedly do – and I didn’t want to become what I was doing.
Some will analyze my decision as career suicide; I consider it a case of career homicide. I killed something that wasn’t helping me live the authentic, meaningful, interdependent life that I want to live. That something wasn’t me, so how could it be anything akin to suicide?
Careful What You Say on Your Blog Lest It Come Back to Haunt You
Strangely, one of the reasons I had planned on holding on was so that I could become a practitioner of Phased Quitting – or what I called “Strategic Withdrawal” earlier this year. It turns out that I still agree with most of what I said, but I’d add a caveat: if you’re doing something that absolutely keeps you from living the type of life you want to live and being the type of person you want to be, get honest about how much you “need” to fulfill the obligations you’ve taken on. It’s easy to dupe yourself, especially in a culture that idealizes the image of those people who toil for long periods out of duty.
At the same time, I’d been building up to phase-out another domain of my life anyway. Coaching opportunities have continually been increasing, revenue from this blog has been growing, and I have some other awesome things in the works that you’ll see soon. So instead of phasing out the domain on the schedule I anticipated, I phased out another domain way ahead of schedule. Life takes unexpected turns, you know?
The day after I quit, I picked up a new coaching client. Today I have a couple of sessions scheduled. Next week is looking pretty good, as well. So, I can’t say that I’m now jobless – I can just say that I’m working for myself and loving it.
But I’m a long way off from making what I was before and I’m living month to month. I’m facing the real prospect of drawing into lines of credit and loans to cover the expenses that my prior salary covered. On many levels, that scares the shit out of me.
In the next couple of months I’ll be rolling out products that I’ll be selling rather than giving away for free. I’ll still do everything I’m currently doing and more – but I’ll be packaging some things to make them better, more useful, and worth paying for. I hope that when that time comes, you’ll consider buying some stuff from me.
I’ve become who I am now through sharing as much as I can, and I’ll continue to do that. And as I commented on Twitter the other day, I can only find myself by helping others find themselves. That truth about me is as terrifying as it is liberating – I can’t and won’t do this on my own. I don’t want selling to get in the way of sharing, and with your help, it won’t be an issue. This community hub will not turn into a retail store, and selling to you will not drive how I connect with you.
I hope you’ll continue to show up, hang out, grab what you need, and get back to doing whatever awesome thing you’re doing. And on that note, I’m going to get back to creating.
Prepare to have your socks knocked off: I’m on the loose with my back against the wall and my heart in the intangible threads that connect us.
p.s. To all my friends who have helped me let go: thank you for waking me up. You’ll see a lot more of me now whether you like it or not.