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.
Sarah Marie Lacy says
This is so amazing Charlie! Completely and totally terrifying as well, but so amazing 🙂 I’m so happy for you.
If you’re not doing what you love, it only has negative effects in the end. I’ll be here, cheering you on (and buying your stuff!)
I think you’ll do just fine 🙂
Mike Stankavich says
Charlie, we’ve got your back. I know you can do it. I’ll definitely pass along any relevant income generation ideas that would be in alignment with your opportunity chains 🙂
Hard times inspire people to look for opportunities to grow, change, and reinvent themselves. That should be a significant opportunity for you and PF to grow perhaps even faster than in a good economic environment.
Career suicide? More like career re-tooling. Now’s a great time for something new.
Best of luck, Charlie! Let me know if I can help with anything. I’ve been there many times… 🙂
Duffs last blog post..Beat the Recession/Holiday Blues with Core Transformation
Congratulations! Taking such a leap was the best thing I ever did. I’m sure it will be for you too, anticipating what you will make of it…
Tzaddis last blog post..Artists stay for free in Gothenburg, Sweden
An inspiring post. I am so proud of you!
Ali Hale (from Alpha Student) says
Just wanted to say congrats, Charlie! Well done on taking the plunge! I handed in my notice at the start of July 2008 and have not regretted it for a moment. You’ll be amazed at how great opportunities just seem to fall into your hands. Best of luck to you, and I look forward to seeing the products you come up with. 🙂
Ali Hale (from Alpha Student)s last blog post..Alpha Student now on Christmas break
Mark Dykeman says
Good luck with the big change, Charlie. Exciting times!
Betsy Wuebker says
Hey, welcome to the deep end of the pool. Nice dive! The water’s great, ain’t it? Let me know if you want a raft – ours have built-in cup holders. 😀
Betsy Wuebkers last blog post..BRIGHTLY SHONE THE MOON THAT NIGHT…
Site is looking really good. I think you have so much to offer and you are going to do great! You already know how much I respect you and how much you have helped me in a very short amount of time.
Enjoy this very exciting change that you have made.
From what I know of that sector, I don’t blame you at all. Some of us are just not suited to those kinds of bureaucratic antics. And you’re right about a culture that idealizes duty, though it seems like that’s just a nice way of saying “suck it up, you don’t deserve to do what you love”.
I wish you the best in growing this business and earning money from what you love. But do seriously look at those expenses the job was covering. It is so easy to increase our “needs” to meet our income and sometimes we can lose expenses without much discomfort.
JoVEs last blog post..The buyout…
I really appreciate the love, support, and encouragement you all have given. It’s a large factor of why I resigned – when thinking about what type of people I wanted to work with, the answer was clearly you all. It’s been a very nice transition – I feel like I can truly be again.
Congratulations Charlie. I know there’s a lot of security in the shallows, but it’s always much more fun to swim in the deep end. So swim, play and have faith. 2009 will be a rocking year, I’m sure of it.
@Kelly: It’s been far too long since we’ve talked! Thanks for your encouragement.