Jumping off a Cliff – Part 1
Over the last few months, I’ve made some vague posts on Facebook about a big life change. I hate vaguebooking as a rule because you should either say enough for people to know what you are talking about or you should keep your mouth shut.
Anything else always seems like little more than fishing for attention.
I needed to keep my posts vague, though, because until I was ready to be completely public, I didn’t feel like I could say what was going on. I was happy to discuss what was going on in private. Just not on Facebook.
Well now the deed is done, I want to talk about it to anyone who will listen because I’m excited. And scared. And a whole lot of other things.
On January 2nd, I put in notice at my job. I didn’t have another job lined up. Right now, I don’t plan on looking for another job. I just realized that it was time to make a dramatic shift in what I wanted to do with my life.
So what happened? Why did I make the decision? What kind of shift am I talking about?
First, there were some changes in my job that were particularly difficult. I was told I could no longer use work time to answer and send personal e-mails. This had been permitted up until a few months ago and with all of the shows and other work I do outside of the standard work week, the use of personal e-mail was very important to me.
Second, the demands of the job changed so that we were expected to make a lot of cold calls every day. Like 50-100.
I’m pretty good at making sales calls. I’m friendly and try to be quick so people can get back to their job. Being good at something doesn’t make you enjoy it, however. I hate doing those kinds of calls. I feel like I’m harassing people. And I also feel like they are not an effective sales technique in the current age of do not call lists. The public has spoken and they’ve said they don’t like sales calls.
Now lets be clear: I understand that my employer had the right to make these demands. They are paying me for my time and any employee needs to respect that.
But the changes made my work day far more stressful. I was doing something I hated to do and I was leaving work with an hour of other work that I needed to do as soon as I got home.
Those reasons alone weren’t the main reasons to leave the job, however. They simply got the wheels turning.
For the last few years, I feel as if I’ve been improving as a writer and a performer. When people asked what I did for a living, I never answered that I worked in a call center because that wasn’t the way I self identified. I said I was a comedian and a musician. Because that is what I wanted to be.
As my dissatisfaction with my job grew, it occurred to me that the reason I was so frustrated was because I wasn’t spending my time on what was important to me. I was selling that time to someone else and I wasn’t happy with what I was getting in return.
So I made the decision that I needed to try to be the person I kept telling everyone else that I was.
I have a theatre company to run. I have a band to perform with. I have shows that I want to write.
And I need to figure out how to make enough money doing that so when I call myself a comedian, musician and writer, I’m talking about what I’m actually doing rather than what I wish I was doing.
The step I’m making is a very scary one because I didn’t give myself a safety net other than my own desire to be successful. Success is not a guarantee, though. I’m not sure I’m good enough. I feel like I started doing this ten years later than I really should have. I’m not sure I even know what to do next.
I just know that I believe this is the only life I have and if I don’t take a chance on something that I want to be now, when am I supposed to do it?
I’m excited about the prospect of taking control of this part of my life. We’ve started cleaning out and remodeling the basement office so I have a space that I can go to work. I’m taking time off of work each week and dedicating that time to working for myself rather than for someone else.
This is a scary change but it is amazing. I know there are going to be a lot of bumps in the road but I’m looking forward to the drive.
Post script: A funny thing happened on the way to leaving my job. I got asked to stay. I’ll write about how that affects everything and what happens next in part 2.