Well, it is the cardinal rule of the global workforce—never quit a job without having another lined up.
However, sometimes choosing to walk off the beaten track can be a good idea and an enriching experience for some.
Being a professional for more than six years now, I have dawned various job roles spanning across three industries. From content to publishing to KPO, back to publishing; then jostling in a remote startup, followed by online marketing and now a full-time digital media professional, I have learned a lot. Not only have I matured as an individual but grown as a professional as well.
In this short span of my career, I have almost faced it all—right from being laid off (company issues) to being a victim of Queen Bee syndrome to quitting a full time job without any backup plan.
While these experiences might seem (or may not) fascinating to some, there are various bright side and even flip side to it. However, I would ideally focus on the last part—that is what I have learned by quitting a full time job without any backup plan.
Looking back, I can vouch that leaving job without another job, while probably might not have been the wisest decision to make. Nonetheless, it did teach a lot of life in general. Whether you call it stupid, impulsive or courageous, at the least it was educational.
Three major life lessons I learned (after quitting a full time job) are explicated in the paragraphs below:
#1. Uncertainty can be exciting
Well, for me the uncertainty came as a welcoming change. Somehow, deep down inside I knew that this phase of unemployment would turn out to be fruitful for me and after a while, really it will not be a problem to take up another job after some time.
However, the uncertainty also instilled a sense of excitement and enthusiasm in me. I felt optimistic and happy in pursuing my passions for some time at least. While I must confess it was one of the most anxiety-stricken time of my life, it was also one of the most exhilarating time – devoid of any routine.
#2. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone
True. And I am a living example of that. I realized the support of money being credited to your account every month would stop. I will have to continue living off my savings. There was a big part of me that figured I was suited for that sort of life and career. I had succeeded in overcoming my worst fears. Jobless, living in a big city all on my own and sustaining on my little savings with an uncertain future. However, I somehow felt safe and contented with myself for getting to do the things I like, such as reading and photography. I was content.
#3. Your career doesn’t define you
Yes. I have realized this the hard way. We all have this inherent tendency to use our professions to define ourselves. But is life all about careers and occupations? I realized our job isn’t who we are—it’s what we do.
Initially, I felt the need to explain people about my decision. But later I realized it does not matter at all. Quitting a full time job was my decision, and it did not matter as to what others thought about my decision. In fact, most people and even my future employers (when I interviewed for them) did not care as to whether I was just sitting idle at home or globetrotting.
Quitting a full time job (for Queen Bee syndrome or office politics) is probably one of the scariest things I have done till date. While I would not go out and blatantly, suggest others test such waters, but the overall experience is worth sharing.
I not only learned a lot but discovered another side of me – the bold and courageous side to face and fight against the odds that professional life can throw at you anytime.
So, if you are thinking of taking your leap of faith any time soon, I hope these lessons embolden you and help you see the light at the end of the tunnel.