This week, it’s time for the big reveal, time to announce the centerpiece of my plan to change up my life. I’ve been chomping at the bit to share this news, to shout it from virtual rooftops. So get your champagne glass, or coffee cup, or whatever is handy ready to lift a glass in toast. Today, I can finally publicly announce it: I am leaving my day job.
It will be a done deal in less than two weeks, at which time I will officially join the ranks of the self-employed. Note I said self-employed, not unemployed. I am not giving up a paycheck (at least not for long, I hope). And I’m not throwing myself headlong into the role of the fulltime writer, not yet. Not for a very long time. Possibly not ever. My change will be less drastic and dramatic as I move from employee to consultant in my chosen ‘day job’ field. But it’s still huge for me, as I will get to pick and choose my projects and make time for things other than work – little things like creativity and fun.
You might think I’ve buried the lede in this series of posts about change (here are parts 1 and 2 if you missed them), and you’d be right. It was my sincere hope to announce this monumental change weeks ago, but there were ducks to put in a row and ts to cross and professional courtesies to extend, and so I had to postpone my happy news. It wasn’t easy. Several people in my ‘non-virtual’ life knew it was coming. A few of the Eight Ladies knew I was headed in this direction as early as a few months ago. But now that everyone in the world can know, I feel like I can really celebrate!
It was neither a quick nor an easy decision to give up the security of a weekly paycheck for the uncertainty of consulting, but truthfully, if I stayed in my current position much longer, I would probably leave the field within the next year due to burnout. And that would be a shame, because there are aspects of my job I love and I’ve spent over 12 years becoming educated, certified, and really quite good at doing what I do (managing proposals for US federal contracts, if you’re dying to know and if that means anything to you). By becoming a consultant, I am taking control of my own destiny, and with it, my schedule and hopefully my sanity.
As often happens when we undergoing a major life change, I started seeing ‘signs’ that I am on the right track all around me. This past week, Jenny Crusie wrote a post over at the Reinventing Fabulous blog about a class assignment from a course she is taking. One of the goals of the assignment was to think about meaningful work to design a ‘hyphenate/slash career’. After reading that post, I realized I had decided on my new ‘slash career’ the day I decided to make this change. When my transition is complete, I will have changed my professional title from ‘proposal manager/anything else there is time to do’ to ‘writer/proposal manager’.
With a rough outline of my new work schedule firmly in hand and my newly decorated office waiting for my arrival, I’m ready to embrace this new professional role and re-embrace my creativity.
What’s the biggest change you’ve ever made to make time and space for your creativity? I’d love to share my celebratory mood, so tell me – do you have any changes on your horizon you’d like to share?
Congratulations! You sound so happy, and I wish you the best on your new path.
Hmmm, changes I have made? Maybe clearing off a desk? No, doing the online course with McDaniel was the biggest thing I’ve done for creativity. It was an investment of time and money, and I had a blast doing it. It really was a life-changer in many ways, and I’m still working through processing the whole experience.
I’ve got a couple of research trips on the horizon, but they are combined with kid stuff, so I don’t expect them to be too hard on the budget. I have no idea what I’ll get out of them, but I’ll try not to fritter them away. I’m going to Tokyo in less than five weeks! I’ll have two days to walk-the-walk of my characters, and then I’ll pick up my kid who is returning from an exchange program in the States.
It sounds like the best part of your trip will be picking up ‘the kid’! I assume the exchange program was an entire semester? That’s a long time to be in a different country.My ‘kid’ is all grown up and lives two states away, and i still whine when I have to go more than a month without seeing her.
Eleven months. Yeah, it’ll be great to see her again! She brings with her a load of logistical problems, though — getting her re-installed in her dorm, finishing her senior year in high school, figuring out what she’s going to do for college. (She chose a school in Sapporo which has a good English department and this year-abroad study opportunity.)
It’ll be so cool to be on the same island again, though!
Congratulations, Nancy! Best wishes on the big move. You’ve been underwater for so long, and while self-employment isn’t exactly a walk in the park, either—or at least my experience with self-employment isn’t—at least it’s a different kind of walk. Happy trails!
Thanks Kay! Yeah, I’ve done the self-employed thing before (freelance writer for several years) so I am wearing no rose-colored glasses where that’s concerned. But I am looking forward to that ‘different kind of walk’ for a while!
Thank you :-)!
Congrats, Nancy! It’s great to finally see this come to fruition.
Alas, nothing major to announce in my life, except that I now classify myself as a work-from-home mom, rather than a stay-at-home mom, and I have dedicated work (writing) hours that I’m really trying to enforce.
Words matter, so and changing your job title might really give you a mental boost. It might also help you draw boundaries, not only for yourself, but also for your loved ones. I am already making a list so my husband will know what I WON”T do when I am working from home. Most contract work will take place on client sites, so that would be when I’m between contracts, and we could easily fall into me being the maid/errand woman/chef/all the details of our lives person, as opposed to writer/proposal manager. But up through 5PM, possibly later, every weekday, I am going to draw a firm line in the sand. Let’s pinky-swear that we will not let our families overrun our work time!
Many congratulations, Nancy, and best of luck in your new, independent career.
I made my big changes a couple of years ago and I’m extraordinarily glad I did. As Kay said, it’s a different kind of walk, but I haven’t had a moment’s regret.
I hope to have the same thing to report in a couple of years, Jilly. And I really think I will!
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