The amazing feeling when you’ve made a big scary decision

I’ll never forget the feeling I had when I made the decision to quit my job. It was a feeling of MASSIVE relief and freedom. Like I could breathe deeply again. I remember feeling exhausted. But I had a real sense of – I can do anything.

I’d been at my parents crying my eyes out, talking through my situation and I came to the conclusion that I needed to leave my job.

Related: The Day I Decided To Leave My Job

The next morning, I caught a train back home, and started walking back from the station. I bought myself a packet of salt and vinegar crisps and really savoured them, strolling along in the gentle sun.

And it might not seem a big deal, but that was quite symbolic for me. Buying a packet of crisps at 11 o’clock in the morning and strolling along eating them! I never do that! This is real freedom!!

And I just remember that feeling. I’m free. I’m not trapped in this feeling of frustration and shame and discomfort any more. I’ve made my decision. After years of self-flagellating and dreaming and not moving on – finally, finally, I had made a big decision as a grown-up adult has the right to do, and I knew in my gut it was the right decision.

The right decision?

I tell you this in case you are struggling with a decision. If you are all twisted inside, feeling uncomfortable, sick, nervous. If you are terrified of making a mistake.

Ultimately, you probably know what you really want, you are just scared. Or you are torn between two equally decent sounding options. Or, maybe one is decent and sensible and a little boring, and the other is big and exciting and risky. Whatever.

Related: What happens after you reach ‘Breaking Point’?

The main thing I want you to know is that the absolute worst is the indecision. The wrangling and overthinking and swaying from one side to the other.

And the absolute best, is making that decision. Knowing that you are equipped to deal with whatever the outcome is. Perhaps it won’t work out quite as you hoped or expected. Maybe there are still tough times to come. It could be you’ll have to quickly make another big decision, then another.

Think new thoughts

But the sooner you move on, the sooner you can get stuck into the next phase. And feel that sense of freedom and excitement at having made your decision. You can concentrate on other stuff. Think new thoughts.

Sure there will be other dilemmas and issues and let downs. But you will be safe in the knowledge that you made that big decision! It’s yours. You did it. You had the guts to do it. And you can do it again. It’s given me a certain confidence that I’ll never forget.

From deciding to leave my job, a good year or so later I then made the decision to move to live in Spain. With a new job working remotely and a looming Brexit, this was the time. A little after, I made the decision to set up my coaching practice on the side.

I’m certain my decision to leave my job allowed me to make these other big decisions with a  lot more ease and confidence. (With moving to Spain, I still stressed, and worried, and sometimes wondered what the hell I was doing…but I got on with it. Because deep down I knew exactly what I was doing). I’d stuck my neck out once, I could do it again, take a risk, follow my heart. Survive and deal with the consequences.

What decision are you hesitating on? Do you have your answer deep down? Can you take a step forward?

If you’d like my help through some coaching, get in touch here.

Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash

Start Your Side Gig

I wrote in a previous post about a few ways in which I started to manage my money, save money and make a little extra money in preparation for a career change.

Here I’ll talk more about having a side gig or two – some of the things I did to make some extra money on the side of my full time job.

This is important for two main reasons. One, as I learned from a post on the Life Your Legend blog  Earn an extra 1000 dollars a month, earning money on the side gives you a certain confidence. Knowing that you can earn money outside of your day job through a side gig helps with the fear and uncertainty of what to do next. It’s proof that there are other options out there beyond your current role.

Even if you start small with something on the side, this can be a massive breakthrough when you feel stuck in your job and certain there’s nothing else out there for you, with your skills and experience. It’s the start of something new. And perhaps your side gig will lead to something bigger.

The second reason is that there can be a huge amount of fear around money when it comes to career change. The fear of losing that monthly pay, of everything going wrong, of having to take a pay cut if you want to retrain or study.

Starting to earn money on the side gives you an element of control, you can start a pot of savings. Psychologically having a side gig can be really impactful.

Here’s what I did. A while before I decided to leave my job, I met up with a good friend of mine from uni. She was working for a translating company as a freelance translator, checking final translations from Spanish to English. She could work anytime, anywhere, and was earning enough to survive.

I was so impressed – she had freedom! She told me that with my qualifications (I have a language degree and a 1-year translation course under my belt) and experience (I’ve lived in France and worked for French companies) I’d be able to work for them too.

I applied, did some tests, passed and was taken on. I didn’t get started immediately but it was amazing knowing that I had a back-up plan should I need it. The job requests were coming in. If I worked enough hours, this could be a viable source of income for as long as I needed it.

Even just going through the motions, making the application and passing the tests, gave me a confidence boost.

Another thing I turned to in order to earn money on the side was private tuition. A friend of my Mum’s has her own tutoring company and didn’t have space to teach a child touch-typing. She asked if I wanted to give it a go.

I’d been taught to touch-type as a child, and I’d tutored English as a foreign language whilst living in France and working as a language assistant. I decided to give it a go! And it was so gratifying.

From then I found new clients either by word of mouth, or from a tutoring website, Tutorhunt.com.  I really enjoyed working one to one with students, seeing their confidence grow as they learned and improved. And tutoring can be well paid, from around £20-35 per hour, or more.

I ended up having a 6-month break between jobs where I did all sorts of things (read here) including working, studying and travelling. Having these two side gigs, amongst other temporary jobs, helped me through. It meant that I could keep busy, keep learning and earn some money, whilst exploring options for a new career.

Your turn

I hope this post inspires you to start your first side gig to earn extra income. Whether it’s signing up and creating a profile for a freelancing website, applying for part-time work locally, or offering a paid service to friends and family (dog sitting, helping with taxes, teaching an instrument, whatever). There’s no doubt you will have some expertise that you think everyone else has, but in fact, other people would pay you for.

If you’d like to work with me and receive some coaching in moving forward in changing your life, send me an email at joaopoku@gmail.com.

You can read my interview with Careershifters on financing your career change here: How to finance your career change

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Career Change & Money

Tip jar with notes and coins in it

I think sorting out your finances is one of the best ways to mentally prepare yourself for a career change. One of the biggest fears around career change is money; we probably all have the same fear that we’ll end up out of work, with no money coming in, and a mortgage or rent to pay and perhaps a family to support.

A few habits I started way before my period of career transition, and others I started in the months leading to it, helped me deal with this fear and made it easier for me to go for it and change career.

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Let’s start with the basics. Around 15 years ago I lived in Paris, and with my first job there I realised I needed to start getting a handle on my finances. Renting a flat with a friend, paying bills, it was time to get responsible. I started a simple excel spreadsheet where I noted how much money I received in my bank account each month – deducted all regular expenses such as rent, bills, food, and then any ad hoc expenses I expected such as new trainers or nights out with friends. This allowed me to budget, to see in which months I’d need to be a bit careful and those where I could save a little. I loved feeling in control of my finances. I’ve stuck to this method ever since.

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Some time ago I’d had instilled in me the idea that you should have 3 months’ living costs in savings – I suppose I read about it in context of losing your job or quitting your job. So I always had that at the back of my mind. It might be an extremely hard slog starting from scratch, but knowing that it could help cushion a transition period makes it a positive goal to aim for. Also, it’s not only saving that can help you achieve this goal, a money-making project on the side can massively help with this, we’ll come to it in a bit.

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At some point I developed an obsession with a more minimalist way of living. This may well have been inspired by Tim Ferris and The 4-Hour Work Week (read the chapter called Mini-Retirements: Embracing the Mobile Lifestyle).

I’m pretty sure I was subconsciously trying to rid myself of extra ‘things’ so that if I ever wanted to take off and travel it wouldn’t be too difficult. I also think my mind was so cluttered with worries and doubts that physically decluttering helped me try to find some peace. If my surroundings were simple and uncluttered then maybe my mind could be also…

The bonus is that when you really get into decluttering and start seeing some of your belongings for what they are (we hold onto so many things just because we ‘own’ them, not necessarily because we like them anymore or they are doing anything for us) there is often a lot of stuff to chuck out – be it recycling, donating or selling. I made a fair bit of cash selling decent odds and ends that I no longer wanted or needed on ebay.

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Here are some of the websites that satisfied my minimalist urges:

https://www.becomingminimalist.com/ Particularly the ‘Inspiring Simplicity. Weekend Reads’ posts, where the author collates interesting articles about minimalism and living simply.

https://www.theminimalists.com/archives/#popular

https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/category/mmm-classics/

https://zenhabits.net/archives/

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Speaking of money making side-projects, Airbnb gave me amazing freedom. Again, I got the idea from a blogpost, this time from Live Your Legend where the author talks about making your first $1000 dollars on the side. Read it here. If renting out a room or your whole home is an option, it’s definitely something to seriously consider.

I did a few other things to make some money on the side, I’ll cover these in another post!

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Hopefully this post will inspire you to start taking control of your finances if you’re not already doing so. It is so easy to worry and procrastinate and dwell on the worst case scenario…starting to deal with the fear is the only way to get past it. If worrying about money is stopping you from progressing in your career change – it’s something to face. The more you do, the more in control you will feel.

Maybe find one thing to sell on ebay and start from there!

If you’d like to contact me to do some life coaching sessions together, send me a message here.

You can read the full interview I did with Careershifters.com on financing my career change here: https://www.careershifters.org/expert-advice/how-to-finance-your-career-change

 

 

Photo by Sam Truong Dan on Unsplash

The Day I Decided to Quit my Job

Image of hot air balloons flying over landscape
I quit my job. It all came down to one decision. One decision I’d spent years building up to.

The day I finally decided to quit my job – one decision completely changed the course of my life, as decisions tend to do. But not all decisions are created equal. Some set off a small shift in your day-to-day life, others set off a series of events which are much bigger than you ever expected, hoped or dreamed. (More here).

I’d been considering leaving my job for years. It wasn’t making me happy, it didn’t feel like a right fit after a decade of hard work. The main reason I hadn’t left was that I wasn’t sure what to move on to do.

I started to seriously consider what the reality of quitting my job might mean. With no specific plan for what to do next, could this be an option? Make the break, and work out what to do next with a clearer mind?

I’d need to make money somehow. I had a mortgage and bills to pay.

I started reading blogposts and articles and books about what to do when you’re considering quitting a job. (Like this and this). I realised that setting myself up with some kind of extra income would help with the massive fear of not having a regular salary for a period of time.

The least I could do would be to investigate this – rather than ploughing through unexciting job ads, I could look into how to support myself in other ways. Could I find a way to survive whilst exploring new ideas and options  and working out what to do next?

The most attractive option was something a friend of mine had told me about a while before – she was freelancing for a translation company – quality checking and finalising translations. She could work when she liked, as much as she liked, from home or wherever she happened to be. She thought I had the qualifications and experience to do the same. So she passed on a contact at the company, I got in touch, filled in some application forms, did a series of tests, passed, and was accepted onto their books.

Whoo! I now had a legitimate way of making money if I left my job! It would be ad  hoc, with no guarantee of work or monthly income, but it was something.

I sensed freedom.

I also knew that I could tutor students in English and touch-typing, something both my parents did in their retirement. Again, I had the qualifications and experience to do this. And I could earn a good rate of pay from it. Again – no guarantees, but money, and more freedom.

As I started to really consider my options, I started to think about my skills in a different way, not only concentrating on what I was doing every day in my current job, but on all the skills I had at my disposal. What could I possibly do to make money? I wasn’t concentrating on the one next big important role. I wasn’t thinking about my career ladder, the next job title. It was back to basics, what can I do, can I make money from it, could I enjoy spending my time doing it?

I ended up doing various things to keep afloat – read more here.

So that day when I decided to quit my job, it wasn’t on a whim. This wasn’t a total leap into the unknown. It certainly wasn’t a rash, reactive decision.

It felt a bit like it at the time. One day I just had enough, and speaking to my parents, I said, “I think I need to do this”.

But it was actually a decision based on many hours deliberating, dreaming, worrying, analysing, planning. I’d gathered the evidence that it might be a realistic solution for me. I’d gathered enough evidence to give me the confidence to do it.

I can’t recommend quitting your job without having lined up the next one. It is a big risk. For some people this will work out fine, others need more security and certainty. What I can recommend though, is starting to properly look at different ways of making money through the skills and experience you already have.  Things you probably haven’t yet considered.

Imagine for the next 6 months you won’t be doing your current job.

You need to make money. What can you do? If you had to come up with some ideas, what would you do?

Is there something you’ve always had a bit of an interest in but not really pursued? For me at that time it was the translation work. Is there a way you could try it out on the side? Set up on a freelance website like UpWork and do a couple of hours a week? Start a side project? Writing, consulting, mentoring, volunteering?

Could you make the break slowly, bit by bit, easing yourself into a new industry, a new way of working, a new way of seeing things?

Get in touch with me here if you’d like me to help you with your career transition.

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Photo by Daniela Cuevas on Unsplash