I was feeling the sweat and nervousness tickling through my head. I kept on minimizing and maximizing my email box. Going through the lines I drafted again and again for hours, which I was about to share with my Manager.
I looked left and then right, saw all my fellow colleagues and prayed for the last time. And Hit the SEND button. The arrow has left the bow now, Yes I quit my job.
Very Next day, Its post lunch time. I was sitting in a very uncomfortable chair in the meeting room across the table facing my manager. I kept picking at a piece of torn papers toward the bottom of the seat, despite my best attempts to look cool, calm, and collected. But, no matter how many stories I have drafted for successfully putting about my 2 months notice period, I’ll admit it’s pretty tough to look confident and composed when you’re quitting your job.
“Well, It’s a surprise to us ! “, he said to me with a forced smile on his face. You are an asset to our company and this sudden resignation letter was kinda very unexpected to us.
Then as usual political drama started how much valuable I am to organization, How great I am working and bla bla bla …………….. I knew it’s all fake. But still I was silent, just listening without uttering a single word.
Finally, he asked me ” Where are you going? Did you receive a better offer elsewhere?”
I swallowed nervously, took a deep breath, and attempted to keep my voice from trembling. “No, not exactly,” I replied, trying to suppress the nauseous feeling that was slowly rising from my stomach to my throat.
“So, why are you leaving?” he pressed, “Where are you going?”
I felt like saying that “I want to be a freelance Photographer”, which was indeed TRUE. But I felt that it’s better to avoid the unnecessary explanation. I then just said, Yes I received an offer in my hometown and am shifting there. The meeting was over and my manager walked out with a tensed face.
Now it’s time to disclose my decision to my best pal in office. He’s one person whom I trusted most.
Listening to my decision, he too got shocked. His face said it all. Like so many others, he was confused as to why I would leave the comfort and security of a traditional, full-time job (and, hello, health benefits!) for a life of uncertainty freelance Photographer.
I wanted to explain to him that this was something I just had to do. I’d been thinking about it for ages to do something of my own, and I could no longer tolerate it being only that—a thought. I needed to take action and give it a try.
But in reality, I didn’t said any of that. I kept my mouth shut ! As a matter of fact, I didn’t have a plan which I could share with him. I have started marketing my photography skills on Facebook though got few calls from college students to have their photo shoot, but I didn’t have any clear vision as how I can grow myself in this career.
As someone who loves security and predictability, to this day I have no idea what came over me. But, regardless of the fact that I didn’t really know what was coming next, I quit my job anyway.
Looking back, taking the plunge from my full-time position with no firm back-up plan in place probably wasn’t the smartest thing.
And, I’m definitely not trying to encourage you to Hit that Resignation Email to your manager tomorrow and use that exact same tactic—unless you’re prepared for a lot of hustle, shameless crying, depression, anxiety and many more which comes after that.
However, I do think taking that terrifying leap of faith was one of the most enlightening career experiences I’ve had so far. Call it stupid, impulsive, or brave—at the very least, it was educational. Here are a few of the (many, many…….) things I learned.
1. You don’t Need Anyone’s Approval
When I would tell my friends and close ones about my decision to become a freelance photographer, I was expecting that they would come with wow statements like , “Oh wow, you’re so brave!” “Good for you!” or even a friendly and dad-like, “Go get ’em, tiger!”
Unfortunately that’s not what I really received. Instead, I faced a lot of negative comments like, “Wait, Are you mad , you are doing what ?”.
But, in the end it was all me. I was the only one who needed to feel good about my decision.
We naturally crave approval of others for our decision to feel good, to feel confident and reassurance from others every now and then. But, trust me, you don’t need it—at least not as much as you think you do.
2. Don’t be Scared Is Exciting
We all knew the reasons to be scared of but still we do certain things that gives us a exciting experience. If not, then why would you pay cash to see a horror movie of a possessed girl or to walk into an haunted house where someone is guaranteed to leap in front of you with a scary face. There’s a big part of being terrified that makes you want to run and cry—but the other piece is actually somewhat thrilling.
In the first few months after leaving my full time job, I would sit down my computer and did all research on photography and how to get new clients etc. Every day it was a battle within me, trying hard to prove everyone that I have made correct decision.
But, at the same time, I felt absolutely exhilarated. I had no idea what was coming next, and that actually made me feel surprisingly motivated and optimistic. It was one of the most distressing, nauseating, and anxiety-inducing times in my life—but it was also the most exciting.
3. You Never Know What You are made for (Until You Try)
I know, it might sound like a high school speech. But this fact is actually true. You have no idea what you are capable of until you start trying.
I’ll be honest that it was not exactly I wanted to be a photographer. It was more about my strong dislike about my job that drove me to my decision. I never had my heart and mind into my work ever, and I knew that’s the reason of my unhappiness. I didn’t really feel all that challenged or fulfilled by my work.
However, I took the plunge to try my career in photography, as I loved photography much over my job’s tasks :).
Fast forward to now, the exploring attitude which I developed after quitting my job today made me an internet entrepreneur where I am into full time Digital marketing consulting/training. Along with that I run my Mehndi Art business. In rest time I do blog on various topics like Freedom Lifestyle (which is my core ) and Digital Marketing etc in this website.
Just think—none of it would’ve happened if I had stayed with the “safe” route. I truly believe once you start, paths will open automatically.
As Mark Zukerberg said ” Ideas don’t come out full formed, It only become clear when you start working on it.“
4. Your Career Really Doesn’t Define You
We all have a tendency to use our career to define ourselves. But it’s important to understand that your job is not your identity – it’s not who you are.
When I left my job, I felt the need to justify my decision and clarify every last detail until people were literally snoring in front of me. There was this immense need to explain my employment situation in order to give myself a purpose and identity.
I later found, that’s really not the case—all of that pressure to define myself using my career was totally my own thoughts. In fact, most people honestly didn’t care if I was a dog walker or the Ambani. Although, above anything else, they were most likely just wondering why I gave them a play-by-play career breakdown when all they asked was, “Paper or plastic?”
Taking plunge from my full-time job was undoubtedly one of the scariest career decisions I’ve made in my life thus far. But, even though it had me hit rock button of frustration, depression and anxiety attacks, I’m glad I did it. It’s worked out well so far, and I’ve managed to learn a lot along the way.
So, if you’re thinking about taking your own leap of faith anytime soon, I hope these lessons would encourage you and help you see the light at the end of the tunnel. And, in those moments when all you feel is sheer panic? Well, reach out to me on Facebook. I’ll come running—to be with you.