Why I’ve Cut My Day Job Hours in Half (And Why You Should Too)

 

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Last week I officially announced on Facebook that I am cutting my day job hours in half to pursue the growth of my online business. This is HUGE for me because running a lifestyle brand is a vision I have held since graduating college in May 2010. Now, just a few short years later I am well on my way to creating the life I want to live!

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You might be surprised to hear that this decision did not come as easily as I would have expected. As someone who spends much of her time reading “how to quit your day job” blogs I have come across some pretty scary stories of entrepreneurs taking the leap. I’ve also spent much of my time in recruiting interviewing people who are just dying to get back into the corporate world after not doing so great running their own businesses.

I myself have been petrified to take any sort of leap. After all, what kind of a nut job leaves a decent job that’s is paying her more and has given her great experience? What kind of a person quits to chase a dream? What kind of person leaves a job they actually kind of like?

It’s the EXACT OPPOSITE of what we counsel candidates to do when they come to us for career help.

But my proverbial fork in the road came sooner than I had anticipated. Granted, I’ve known for about a year that I should start phasing out of working for someone else and instead work for myself. Plus, I’ve spent three years writing about this very topic. And for the last few months managing the success of this blog, growing my business and working full-time has been burning me the hell out.

So what the hell happened? Why did it take me so long to grow a pair?

I got comfortable.

I was making more money.

I had more responsibility.

I got distracted.

I was good at my job.

I was learning about business each and every day.

I felt like I was needed.

Any of these excuses sound familiar yet? Don’t get me wrong, they are all good reasons to stay at a job, but they are awful excuses for putting your ideal life on the back burner.

I had reached a breaking point.

And so I mustered up the courage to walk into my boss’ office and tell her that we need to come up with a plan so I can start phasing out of the day job and move into full time business owner. Just blurted it out. Literally. (Not the best way to approach a talk with your boss in case you were wondering.)

The result? I have cut my day job hours in half. That’s right 2.5 days of the working week I’ll be in the office and the rest of my time is dedicated to growing my business, getting back in the gym and creating the life I desire for myself. The life I’ve been busting my ass to create.

Now, my boss is totally awesome. She’s flexible and she herself gets it because she’s been running a business for 45 years, however this was still really freakin’ scary for me. I think I even choked back a couple of tears because this had been weighing so heavy on my heart.

You’re probably thinking, “Tears? Amanda are you nuts? Most people are dying to ditch the day job and you’re well on your way to doing it!”

Yes, this is true. And believe me I am just itching to go full time solopreneur; but unlike a lot of what’s out there when it comes to this subject, I don’t hate my job. In fact, I am eternally grateful for this job – burnout and all – because it has allowed me to get very clear on who I’m supposed to serve, it’s helped me create compelling content for this audience, it helped me get used to selling, it’s taught me about boundaries and it showed me the ins and outs of running a business. These are all very valuable lessons that will help me run and grow my own business, and I plan on cherishing them every step of the way.

So how do you know when it’s time for you to start packing?

Everyone has a different limit when it comes to this question. Quite frankly I used to envy people who had the gall to just pack up, leave and do their own thing with an incredible amount of confidence. I tend to think things through a little longer and then go after what I want.  I also picked up an incredibly high tolerance for discomfort thanks to Momma Abella’s stellar example. However, there are some clear cut signs that may help you decide whether or not it’s time to start moving on from your current job – regardless of where or what you’re moving on to.

1. When you’re sacrificing your life for work.

I have spent months teetering between burnout and emotional breakdown from the amount of work I’m doing. It was (somewhat) manageable when all I was really doing was freelance writing, but now I’ve added speaking and coaching to the recipe – and boy does that take work!

The result has been that I’ve barely had any time to take care of myself, mixed martial arts has been sporadic at best, I can’t remember the last time I did yoga and all this lifestyle design stuff I keep raving about just wasn’t happening.  I’m exhausted all the time and I already landed in the doctor’s office.

Now, can someone explain to me what the point of working myself to the bone is if I’ve completely sacrificed having a life and my health?

There is none.

If you find yourself in a similar situation it may be time to start making some changes.

2. When you’re not being respected.

I want to make it very clear that this is not my predicament. I may have been basically doing 2 different jobs at work but I was always respected. I’ve also always been allowed flexibility (whether I took it or not was a different story until now).

I’m lucky enough that my boss has been like my mentor, but I know this is not the case for everyone. I know some of my readers, coaching clients and fellow colleagues have some really crappy situations going on at work. Horrible managers, a terrible work environment, and doing the work of 3 people without proper compensation are all really good reasons to start moving on from that situation. This kind of stuff can seriously affect your well-being – not just in your career but the rest of your life as well!

So, if you’re looking for your permission slip, here it is! I grant thee PERMISSION, in fact I downright URGE YOU, to drop that job and look for something else.

3.  If you’re sick and tired of hearing about how bad the economy is.

Hear me out. There is a lot of fear surrounding the job market, so much in fact that people are sacrificing A LOT for really crappy jobs. They’re too scared to even think about moving from a bad situation and companies know this. I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be so damn scary.

Screw this talk of a bad economy. 

A. It’s way better than it used to be (trust me I’m up to my eyeballs in the industry).

B. The internet has made it easier than ever to start side hustling. So yes, you can always have extra income.

C. Sitting around moping about the economy isn’t doing anyone – or the economy – any good.

D. Your entire life does not revolve around the economy. You are defined by way more than stocks, bonds, dollar signs or GDP.

Does this mean everyone should just quit their jobs? Not unless you feel that is the right decision for you, in which case more power to you.

What I’m trying to get at is that everyone – no matter what the situation – always has an opportunity in front of them. Everyone always has a choice. If you feel like the choices you’ve made up to now aren’t working out for you, then it may be time to start looking into new ones.

So how about you guys? Any stories of quitting or cutting your hours to pursue better things in life? Share in the comments below!

 

Image via Vincent_AF

About Amanda Abella

Amanda Abella is a coach, writer and speaker that believes creating the right career will help in all aspects of your life. She is available for hire. For more info: http://www.amandaabella.com/work-with-amanda/

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