While travelling in Dallas for work, I picked up a book titled One Person/Multiple Careers by Marci Alboher. It spoke about how wearing many hats and not being tied down to a full-time job can work for you. In the first few chapters, I made an instant connection: There were a lot of people with dynamic careers out there in the world — just like me — who wanted to know how to quit their full-time job!
I’m a Corporate Banker/Real Estate Agent/Writer/Board Chair for my local Boys & Girls Club. For a long time, I was my biggest critic about these several slashes. I thought to myself, “Okay, Cat, you’ve proved that you can do a lot. . . now pick one. . . one!”
Then, after some further contemplation, I realized there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being the slash careerist, as long as maintaining health and balance were always at the center of my values: 7 hours of sleep; 6 days a week workout; quality time for family and friends; feeling good from the inside out.
There is a direct relationship with a healthy home life, as there is with a healthy career life. As long as these five are in check, my slashes are always thriving.
Maybe you’ve heard stories of people who just switch gears into another career – and they did it oh, so seamlessly. On the outside, it appears they went to sleep as a corporate rat-racer and woke-up as a successful entrepreneur.
Here’s the reality check – it typically doesn’t happen that way.
Usually, there’s some planning that has been bubbling behind the scenes.
More than ever, and more openly than ever, people work a full-time job to collect a paycheck and then part-time dabble with a passion that may eventually take over.
It took three years of toying with real estate on the side before I realized that the entrepreneurial spirit side of me really could embrace the industry as a full-time career, and provide the flexibility to spend more time freelance writing.
Now, I’m running with real estate faster than ever.
Eventually, I’d love to shed the corporate title and just have three slashes: Real Estate Broker/Writer/Non-Profit Volunteer.
A decade ago, working two careers might have seemed less than glamorous – but it’s no longer viewed as a second job or a slave-driving way to make ends meet; instead, it’s seen as a well-rounded fulfillment. A smart, secure Plan B. An alternate route to a more promising future.
How to Quit Your Job
If you’ve been contemplating switching careers by creating a slash, here are 5 steps to start the part-time gig and eventually replace your full-time career.
“I don’t know what I want to do though,” is something I often hear from people who are unhappy with their full-time job. There’s this unwillingness to expand, be creative and explore, in order to uncover new possibilities; and this willingness to settle into the comfort, feel stuck, and repeat each day with the current, bland, monotonous circumstance.
Just start. Dabbling in an area of interest can often transform into a full blown opportunity.
My husband is in the education industry – his employer has been a great company to work for; however, he knows this is not his authentic expression or unique contribution to the world.
Instead of waiting for an epiphany to hit him one morning where he can discover his calling, he went about his weekend by being open-minded, trying new things, and meeting new people.
In the past two years, he became very involved with meditation – taking courses locally and out of state.
Recently, his meditation teacher mentioned to him a business opportunity with her meditation center. Perhaps this will blossom into something more. Or perhaps it’s still in an infant stage.
Either way, the point is this: When we whole-heartedly pursue our interests or participate in activities that foster our growth, the Universe is awesome in its return.
2. Set Incremental Goals
Now that you’ve found an inkling of what you may want to do, it’s time to upgrade it from hobby to a job or a entrepreneur venture by establishing a business plan with goals.
For example, maybe you want to become a Social Media Manager. Some incremental goals would be to reach out to 3 local businesses a week for the next two months to promote your Social Media talents to grow these small businesses.
Additionally, you might sign-up for a Twitter following of Social Media Gurus and Managers to stay abreast to the latest hot tech trends.
3. Surround Yourself with Industry Experts
Since I was a child, I loved writing. When I talked to my dad about become a journalist in college, he told me writers made very little money and it’d be a difficult living – and that instead, I should pursue business. So I did.
I went to school, graduated with a degree in Finance and became a banker.
Ten years into the industry, I realized that my first-love is still writing – and my fulfillment meant more than a nice, corporate paycheck – but I was clueless where to begin as a writer.
I put myself out there by finding self-development websites, a topic I feel passionate about. I started sending in blog submissions and eventually met Tina via Think Simple Now (also founder of WorkAwesome).
This meeting opened my online world to a brilliant circle of like-minded writers who I highly respect.
4. Get Your Finances in Order
Pay off the debt; simplify; take a giant chain saw to any discretionary expenses.
The transition from a regular bi-weekly paycheck to a more erratic cash flow will be much easier with zero debt and 6 months of insulation built into your savings.
In our bedroom, we have a white board with a thermostat. At the top of the thermostat are our savings goals by June 2012. Each time we pay down debt and fill the savings account, the thermostat goes up.
Maybe get a white board with your finances spelled out for you every morning, or perhaps just start with a household budget. Do what it takes to get your finances in order by keeping it in front of you daily.
5. Be Fearless: Quit the Job
Now you’re ready to take the leap. You’re become more and more brave as you reach business goals and insulate your bank account.
The logistics are taken care of. But you’re scared – it feels new, it feels like change. You’ve become a bit hesitant leaving the comfy, familiar territory of paycheck collector.
The antidote to the creeping feeling of fear? Work on you, as you are the only possible obstacle and variable in the grand equation.
Associate with colleagues who have made a similar transition.
Surround yourself with people that are positive and passionate about living a life that is more extraordinary and authentic, and less ordinary and mediocre.
Reach out to a life coach to keep you on track.
Read self-development books, blogs, and podcasts that challenge the norm.
Then, go after it!
What are your thoughts on quitting your full time job to pursue something new? Share with us your stories and interesting thoughts in the comment section.
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Photo by River Beach via Flickr.
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