Quitting my 8-to-5 job (sometimes 8-to-6 or 7 or 8 – geesh, 12 hours of work?) has been one of the best yet scariest decisions I’ve ever made. The idea of not waking up early, missing the rush hour traffic and of course, no more boss to please sounds too liberating that I didn’t think twice about my resignation. My intention since the start had been to create a more independent and flexible lifestyle and I thought the best way to do it is to get out of the office life. But as soon as I made my final “professional world” exit, a big question popped into my head – Will I survive this kind of setting?
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I did not mean to be a bum but I must admit I didn’t have concrete plans at that time. I already had my Shy Shop running but it was just a small-scale online business based solely on Facebook. I sell a variety of stuff from trinkets to purses and some Marikina-made bags and wallets. And just like any other start-ups, progress was kinda slow. I was also taking up a short marketing course in CSB and was not even halfway through the program when I gave up my job.
It wasn’t easy. Being the family’s breadwinner, financial security has always been a concern and I knew that my decision of leaving my fulltime position with no firm backup plan in place probably wasn’t the smartest thing.
I want to do something that I love and I wanna be the best girl boss ever – I remember this used to be my favourite line because duh, MILLENIALS. But seriously, when I thought life will be easier after that 8-to-5 conquest, I was, apparently, wrong. Being an entrepreneur and working on an online 24/7 business means I have to deal with customers as long as I am awake. It also means doing all the work from marketing to inventory up to the actual selling. While I get a lot of help from my family, I still shoulder the biggest chunk of the task load.
There came a point when I felt too exhausted that I thought I should go back and get a real job. This is when I saw the possibility of taking freelance works. I took everything I know I can do (or at least I thought I can do) – wedding coordination, hosting, freelance writing, etc. and I worked really hard on each and every project.
So I continue doing my regular Shy Shop work while I do some happy freelance jobs on the side. From then on, I never stopped working.
Four years later, here I am, still juggling a lot of things but I can say that I feel more fulfilled and happy. I got my Shy Shop business growing steadily with online and physical stores present. I am also doing a lot of freelance stuff – marketing and PR consultancy, event hosting, fashion styling, blogging – all these while I finish my Master’s degree.
While I believe quitting a job without a stable and specific plan wasn’t a really good idea, I do think it was one of the most enlightening career experiences I’ve had so far. Call it crazy, stupid, impulsive, or brave—at the very least, it was educational. Here are a few of the many things I learned:
- Taking the leap isn’t as scary as you think it will be.
It is true that there are things you simply cannot risk such as security. You want that medical plan, 13th-month pay, free birthday merienda or that Christmas grocery pack but, bes, security isn’t everything. If you’re not happy with your job, go quit. If you want to set up your own business, make it happen. Remember, there are so many things that you can do in life and one of them is to ALWAYS try something new – or at least something that will make you more fulfilled.
2. Stick to your guns and make it firm.
Yes, I had doubts. The opportunities in the corporate world are too tempting that I had to reaffirm my decision a number of times. I had several interviews invites from companies I’ve once dreamt of working with, and turning their offers down wasn’t really easy. There are moments when I had to ask assurance from others but I know that I’m the only one who knows what’s right for me.
The secret is, once you’ve made that decision, deal with it, trust your decisions and never ever look back.
3. You can create a life for yourself.
I remember I once rant about life and work on Facebook, and my former professor messaged me privately just to tell me that I can always make a (good) choice. I guess he’s right because after that I realised I have to make a move, otherwise I’ll be stuck forever.
TIP – If you think you’re not becoming a better person because your job is hindering you from growing, then pack your things up and leave. Remember that in the professional world, people get fired, departments are restructured, companies fold. Don’t let fear of the unknown keep you in a job that makes you unhappy.
4. Networking is best.
Meet new people and learn from them. Remember that you do not know everything yet and there are individuals who have the expertise on the field. Create new friends because chances are, they can open more opportunities for you.
5. It doesn’t have to be always perfect.
Hope for the best but expect the worst. Failures are part of the learning process and remember that as long as you’re giving out your best and you’re progressing in the right direction, a step or two closer to where you want to be, then consider it a good move.
Looking back, I must say that quitting a job without a specific plan sounds foolish but I’m glad I took that risk because it made a lot of difference in my life.
Now, I challenge you to assess yourself from an outside perspective and ask these questions:
Am I happy?
Do I love what I do?
Shai is a millennial multi-hyphenate who loves randomness and spontaneity. She writes for her blog shairahabon.com and contributes for several local and international magazines. She is also currently pursuing her Master’s Degree at the Ateneo De Manila University. Apart from writing, she’s also into MMA and running. She manages a small business and daydreaming is her favorite hobby. Follow her journey @shairahabon.