What I Lost When I Quit My 9-5

Today marks the one-year anniversary of when I said “so long!” to my 9-5 job and became a full-time freelancer. During the twelve months leading up to that day last November, I built Little Leaf Copy Editing from the ground up while continuing to work full-time. I quickly realized that I would need to devote my full attention to my new business venture if I was ever going to make a go of it.

Yet for months, I stayed at my job. I longed to focus on work I found meaningful and was passionate about, but I feared the unknown. So I continued going to my job and devoting myself to a cause that I no longer felt inspired by or connected to. The angst of wanting to quit and yet not knowing when to quit is something I can still recall vividly.

All too often, we women hold back from taking risks because we are uncertain of the future. Mira Kaddoura writes about this in her recent article in Women Entrepreneur. She identifies the one myth that keeps women in unfulfilling jobs, the loss of security.

I can relate to this fear more than I’d like to admit. My job, while unfulfilling, was a job. It had a steady income, excellent benefits, a healthy retirement package. I’d be giving all of that up the day I walked out the door. So I waited…and waited…and waited (for months, and years before that), hoping that I would get a sign that would tell me it was time to quit.

What I eventually realized is that that sign would never come unless I made it come. I had to let go of the belief that security was more important than professional growth. I had to do what Lauren McGoodwin explains in her recent post, “build a career on [my] terms.”

So I took the leap into entrepreneurship, and I’m so glad I did!

As I think back on this last year, I can recall many feelings of lost security. But I also can remember the other things I lost when I quit my 9-5. I lost that feeling of dreading going to work. I lost that feeling of having my ideas and creativity squelched. I lost that feeling of being stuck. I gained flexibility, unlimited possibilities, and the satisfaction of knowing that I was making my career my own. Lost security aside, I know I made the right move.

Have you had a similar experience? Share your story in the comments! I encourage you to read both Kaddoura’s article and McGoodwin’s post in their entirety, too. You’re sure to find an encouraging word that will help you take that next step, whatever it may be.

Katie Signature001

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