On Quitting Your Job: Courage vs. Responsibility

On Quitting Your Job: Courage vs. Responsibility

I’m not quitting my job.

Not walking out. Not putting in my two weeks’ notice. Not saying, “Bye, Felicia.”

Not yet at least.

As a part of so many travel and freelancing/solopreneur groups, it seems like every day I hear about someone is quitting their 9-to-5 to pursue their passion, the open road, and creativity. This move is unanimously praised as the right thing to do, as a huge courageous step.

It is especially prevalent in the Bucketlist Bombshells Tribe Facebook group (one of my favorites), for several reasons. First, because the group is about both travel and building your own business. Second, because that’s exactly what both co-founders of the group did – quit their jobs and moved to Mexico (as discussed in their recent Forbes article)!

Third, because their target audience is millennial women. In particular, ones who can see themselves traveling the world, which says two things – their ties to their current location are limited (often they are single and don’t have children) and they have, or aspire to have, disposable income that they want to spend on travel.

That is a broad generalization that of course doesn’t apply to everyone in the group. It does, however, apply to me.

The main tie I have to my current location is my family (parents and siblings, along with their families). I am one of nine children, and my parents and all but two of my siblings currently live within a half hour drive. I rent a place with one of my sisters. My brother, sister-in-law, and their two children (who will turn 7 and 3 in July) live 4 minutes away.

While technology has made living apart from family easier, it still would be hard to be away from them most of the year, especially my nieces, who grow and change so quickly. It would also be difficult for the sister I live with to find an affordable rental on her own.

Shared living costs is one aspect of the responsibility I feel about keeping my day job – especially since I just signed a year lease. Even if I would spend most of my time abroad, I would need a space to store my stuff and a place to stay when I’m hear (if I was only coming back a week at a time, I could stay with family, but I’m guessing trips home would end up being a month or so, and I need my own space). $300/month wouldn’t be too bad to keep paying, since a storage unit would be $50-$150/month anyway. I would need to see how much I’d be home after the lease was up.

Another responsibility is my car. I live in an area where a car is needed to get around. Fortunately my car is fully paid for. I could perhaps get a sibling to cover my auto insurance costs in exchange for using the car while I’m gone, or severely reduce my plan, or even sell the car and use a rental whenever I’m in the area.

My health insurance is covered through my job, and I don’t have to pay premiums. But I have Hashimoto’s, a thyroid autoimmune disorder, so I need access to medicine and infrequent blood tests to monitor my levels. If I quit my job, I’m stuck paying for health insurance on my own. It seems like many younger millennials would be able to get back on their parents’ health plans (or perhaps they are already on them?) if they quit their jobs spontaneously.

I also have cash invested into my vacation in September. Plane tickets, some non-refundable rooms, tours, and long train journeys have already been paid in advance. I will be using 9 of my 10 vacation days for my work year of May 2017-May 2018, which means if I leave before spring 2018 I may have to pay some of them back. However, paying a couple hundred to quit my job earlier would not be terrible. Since I know this vacation will be pricey, I suspect that I won’t be able to save much for a transitional buffer until the trip is over.

I definitely would be leaving my company in the lurch if I quit suddenly, even with 2 weeks’ notice. Right now, the company has a skeleton crew, with many people doing multiple jobs, and I know my leaving will put extra work on the shoulders of my already overworked coworkers. I am, however, a bit frustrated with the company – I have been asking for 2 months to have a conversation about salary, and it hasn’t happened yet. Two months ago I was in the middle of a big project and my confidence level was high. Now I’m between projects, so my value to the company isn’t as visible, even though I have plenty of tasks I am still doing.

The bottom line of this discussion the fact that I need to be making money with my fledgling business before I even make plans to quit my job. I have too many responsibilities that need cash. Maybe these women who are quitting their day jobs don’t have as many responsibilities. Maybe they have a safety net of moving back in with their parents if things don’t work out. Maybe they have a nice lump sum in the bank.

Or maybe they have decided that it is time to be courageous.

I’m not there yet. Call it fear, call it preparation, call it realism, but I know quitting my job right now is the wrong thing. But I’m hoping the time will soon come when it is the right thing, and I can finally embark on my digital nomad adventure.

Bye, Felicia!

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Do One

Do One

About a month ago, I received an article in my inbox that stuck with me. Paul Jarvis referenced the iconic John Hopkins teaching method of “See one, do one, teach one”, and explained that most people are too quick to pass over the middle step – do one. He noted that it’s especially visible within the booming online courses industry, where people learn something new and sometimes immediately churn out a course of their own on the subject.

It caught my attention because I love to share new knowledge I’ve gained, and I was trying to figure out if I could create my own course based on what I know. My brain is stuffed full of all sorts of things, but it was hard for me to come up with something that people would actually pay me to teach. I thought perhaps it was a lack of confidence in my own abilities, but in fact, it was a lack of experience (a la my last post, Confidence and Courage).

I’ve never been much of a doer. As a print learner, I grasped things best by reading them passively. I shared them with others via writing. It means I generally do well with text-based things. But if something doesn’t have the thrill of learning something new, or the thrill of helping someone figure something out, I lose interest. Which is why I can be very smart but also very insecure about my abilities.

So, right now I’m trying to work on the doing part. It’s why I’ve committed to writing a blog post every day in May. It’s why I’ve set aside the idea of creating a course, for now at least. It’s why I’m taking these skills courses – even though more learning fits in the “see one” box, all the mini projects and the whole setup of a service-based business is about doing.

Yes, doing is the boring bit of the journey that most people skip over. ***insert training montage here*** But doing is going to give me the confidence to get to the exciting part!

What is something you need more practice doing?

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Confidence and Courage

Confidence and Courage

As part of their 7-day challenge, Bucketlist Bombshells founders Cassie and Shay recently shared a live video discussing confidence and courage (you can watch a replay within the private and free to join Facebook group, Bucketlist Bombshells Tribe).

They described confidence as coming from experience. You can be confident in your ability to do something when you’ve done it before. I absolutely love that. This view of confidence also explains why confident people aren’t as fazed by setbacks. If you are baking bread and have done a decent job at it 3 times, but the 4th time it flops, you don’t consider yourself a failure at baking! You try to figure out what you did differently this time or what outside circumstances affected the outcome.

This also means that when you are doing something new, you aren’t supposed to feel confident about it! You don’t have the experience to give you the confidence yet! For something new, what you need is courage. Courage to step out and take the risk of failing so that you can gain experience. Because if you don’t try something new, you will only have the chance to be confident in the things you are doing now.

So what do you want to be confident about? Traveling to a different country? Working with a client? Giving a public speech? Leave your answer in the comments!

But what if you don’t have the courage to make that leap into doing the thing you want to be confident about? Here’s a secret – your confidence doesn’t have to come from exact experiences. You can “borrow” confidence from related experiences, add in a little courage, and move closer to your goal!

That’s what I’m doing with travel. I traveled with friends to NYC and ended up being the person who figured out how to navigate the city, which gave me confidence for other large English-speaking cities. So I added that confidence to some courage – courage to try solo travel and international travel. Now I’m taking the confidence I’ve gained from my trip to the UK and adding a little courage to visit Germany and France!

While breaking down leaps of faith into smaller steps can be helpful, don’t use the steps as an excuse. If you keep doing similar things to build experience/confidence, but there is no courage involved, you are falling into a rut. Sometimes you need to jump.

Action is the key principle here. Look at where you want to be. Can you leap there now with the courage you possess, or do you need more confidence/experience? If you can, leap. If not, take a smaller step of courage to something that will build your experience, give you confidence, and set you up for an even greater jump.

As one of my favorite movies says: “Keep Moving Forward!”

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