Getting out of your comfort zone is the most difficult thing in the world to do. But then, the thing that I learnt early in my life (thanks to an advice from someone I respect a lot) was that the time to quit your job is before it starts to feel painful.
The worst time to quit is when the pain is the greatest, simply because decisions made during great pain are rarely good decisions.
So, sometime in 2010, I decided to quit my job just as I was starting to get comfortable in it. That comfort was leading me to stagnation, and thus pain. I quit in 2011.
That my spouse was strongly by my side – not just emotionally, but also rationally – was an important factor that helped me in my decision making. Our second child was on the way when I had decided to quit, but that acted more of an incentive than a deterrent to quitting my job. The thought of taking care of my kids, and seeing them grow every day, encouraged me to move fast in this decision.
Now, while it may seem like an easy decision in hindsight, quitting a comfortable, high-paying job isn’t a cakewalk or a subject of a dreamy life ahead. There are finances to be taken care of, fears of worst-case scenarios to be laid to rest, lifestyle to be readjusted, and survival plans to be made.
In my case, life was expected to be topsy-turvy over the next few months after quitting, and it turned out to be exactly that. The first six months were scary, especially because I had to break my addiction to a large monthly paycheque. Over that, there was not a single rupee of income for those early months, before it started trickling in.
Occasionally, I had nightmares of failing in my new work. But since I was working with no Plan B, and that I had burned my boats, there was no way but to forge ahead. And that I did. Maybe I got lucky.
Anyways, there have been multiple lessons I learned during that period from my experience in quitting my job and living a life my way. I would like to share these lessons with you, just in case you are sailing in the same boat as I was around eight years back –
- You don’t need to quit your job if you can work on your passion alongside.
- Quitting your job must be the last resort, or when you find the burden unbearable and abusive.
- Quitting a job and living a fulfilling life isn’t as easy as those who have done it would make out to be. Things get scary at times.
- Quitting your job will affect others in your life, so it’s critical that you have an honest conversation with your family first and get their buy into the decision.
- Learn an important and sellable skill before you quit your job to start on your own.
- Practice minimalism and lean living at least a year before you plan to quit your job. Instant compromises are heart-breaking!
- Save money to use as initial capital for your business, and then keep your expenses low. Don’t borrow money for your business till the time you aren’t generating cash.
- Don’t believe people who tell you – “How I quit my job, doubled my pay and cut my hours in half”…or something like this. They will not help you if you reach a point of no return.
You see, quitting your job isn’t the answer to all your problems. It’s not a decision to be taken lightly. But my doors and windows are open if you need any help and guidance in making this decision, in case you are looking to make one. I’d love to play the devil’s advocate.
As for my consultancy fee, it’s a cup of green tea and your promise to share the learning with someone needy in the future…again for just a cup of green tea. 🙂