This is a post that I’ve been wanting to put together for a while now. Not too too many people realize that I have left my full-time job yet (unless you follow me on Snapchat and are putting together the pieces when you see me snap during the hours of 8am-5pm). I’ve had two months to let everything really settle in, and so I’m sharing my thoughts on my exit process (it was a very long one) that brought me to the world of self-employment. What should have been SO obvious actually took a very long time manifest. If you’re also struggling with your own career, I’m sharing 7 signs to look for if you’re wondering when to quit your full-time job!
As a background refresh, I graduated in graphic design at LSU, worked with LSU Athletics in creative services where I eventually became the creative director, left for a design manager position with Community Coffee last November. As of July 9th, I have been transitioning into being my own boss, and now blogging and content creation for brands is my full-time career. At the same time, I’m also assisting Community Coffee as a content creator – with the opportunity to continue this contracted role in the future.
Read More to See the 7 Signs That It’s Time to Quit Your Full-Time Job!
In a nutshell, here are the 7 signs that I can now clearly look back at and recognize as determing factors that set everything into motion.
1. Your 9-to-5 motivation has left the building.
When I was at LSU, I started feeling very unfulfilled in my daily routine. I thought it was because I had been there for so long that perhaps I had plateaued with those responsibilities. Maybe I just needed to be challenged in a different way to get that motivation back – which led me to Community Coffee and the transition from public sector to private sector. I thought this switch would be a good way for me to really learn the business side of design and marketing.
I wasn’t at Community Coffee for long, but I can honestly say that I learned more about marketing and business than all of my years combined at LSU. So my motivation to learn and pick up those skills really peaked – BUT my motivation for the actual design work itself was non-existent. I slowly realized it wasn’t design that was motivating me any more. It was digital marketing and creative direction. It was photography and the process of branding images.
My 9-to-5 title no longer matched my passion.
2. You’re working ALL of the time on things other than your full-time job
At LSU, I worked ALL of the time. I would be at my desk every day until 7-8 at night – never leaving for lunch. I’d sit at my desk and eat, so it’s easy to see why I was burnt out there. At Community Coffee, I had amazing hours. I was out of the parking lot by 5 every day, and suddenly I had so much more time – to do more work.
I’d get home around 5:30, and sit down at my desk to do even more work on my blog. So technically, I was working just as many hours of the day that I was originally at LSU, but I was getting so much more done with APOL. Those extra few hours a day really started to make a difference, which only fueled me to work longer and get less sleep.
3. Your lack of free time is taken out on others
Because I was working non-stop, my disposition radically changed. All of a sudden I was cranky all of the time – not just when I was hangry. I was easily agitated by things that I would normally laugh off. Everything was a bit more elevated on my annoyance radar. Jordan ended up getting the brunt of it most days either by me holing up in my office or exploding when he asked what we were eating for dinner. Okay, so I still get annoyed about what to eat for dinner – but that’s because I’m incredibly indecisive about food. Unless it’s Mexican food.
4. You have an impending sense of guilt
I had a massive amount of guilt leading up to leaving Community Coffee. I knew that I wasn’t giving 100% effort to my full-time job, and that’s what they needed. I also knew I wasn’t giving 100% to my blog either. Instead of doing one thing well, I was doing two things half ass. But then I let the other factors start to weigh on me – like what if I leave at a terrible time for the company, what if they can’t find anyone to fill the position, what if the work falls back on other people etc. Bottom line, the guilt will eat you alive if you let it.
The way I overcame the guilt was by sitting down and having an open and honest conversation with my supervisor as soon as I started having those itching feelings about leaving. Our open dialogue about the entire process was one of the most relieving moments – literally the mental weight and exhaustion were lifted off of me immediately.
5. You realize you are missing out on normal life
When I’d get invitations to do things on the weekend, I would quickly turn them down because there was more work that I wanted to do. I was keeping up with friends and family through text message instead of being present in person – in short, I made myself MIA. How could I have a blog about loving and leading a creative lifestyle when I had ZERO real life?
My friends literally had a group text conversation with me asking if I didn’t want to be friends with them anymore – that’s how disconnected I became with my real life. This was the lowest point – and also where I had my cryfest, breakdown and decided things had to change.
6. Your conversations are always about your passion project
There are two conversations that I run into the most with people who want to quit their jobs:
Convo 1: The people who talk about how miserable they are in their current jobs.
Convo 2: The people who talk about what they passionately want to do in life.
I think for the most part, everyone wants to quit their job. Everyone wants to work from home or have the option to work remotely – or maybe not even work at all. But the odds of Conversation 1 quitting their job is less likely than Conversation 2 because Conversation 2 has already identified their path to quitting and their motivation to make it happen.
7. Money is no longer a leading factor
Talking about money is always a scary thing. I have never wanted to be in the position to rely solely on one salary in a marriage or depend on someone else for money, so I wasted so much time stressing and worrying about financial hurdles before realizing that I was already making more than my actual full-time salary through my blog. I tested it for a few months to see if it was somehow a fluke – maybe I just had a couple really good months. But then I also realized, I’m making X amount each month by only putting in half a day – imagine if I could devote entire work days to my creative business.
This is the final step that secured me leaving my full-time position – but I think it will really depend on the person and how much of a risk-taker you are – and how much you trust yourself to be financially secure. (I am by no means a risk taker.)
I’m sure a lot of you identify with at least some of these signs! But just to note, life as a my own boss is not completely stress-free. I still put in over 40 hours a week at a computer including weekends, but instead of feeling like I have to do it, it’s because I want to do it! I will be putting together more posts on similar subjects including my daily schedule and things that I’m learning along the way, so please feel free to shoot me your questions: firstname.lastname@example.org