The Dirty Truth Is Quitting My Job Wasn’t A Huge Risk

Aug 31, 2021
 Photo of the author by the author


My anxiety about leaving my job to become a creative was real but irrational.

Many people including myself talk about leaping to see whether you fly or fall. Yet some are more romantic about the notion than others.

Yes, I took a risk but I had a parachute, a safety net, and a rescue helicopter. The chances of me plummeting and being splattered amongst the rocks were close to zero. People tell me I was so brave to quit but the truth is I did everything I could to make it as safe as possible.

I know half the internet is telling you to quit your job but too many talking heads neglect the important steps to protect you. Here’s the reality of what I did which could help you too.


Leave the door open

I’m not an angry person who slams their keyboard and burning bridges isn’t my style.

I worked at my previous company for close to seven years and built up a strong relationship with both my colleagues and my bosses. The grind of corporate life wore me down but I didn’t blame anyone for this. My creative work had just changed my perspective on life.

When I handed my notice in, I had several progressive chats with the company directors. While they were sad to see me go, they respected my choice and wished me all the best. They told me to keep in touch and should I ever want to come back then their arms would be open.

I have huge respect for the way they dealt with me. I know I’m lucky. If all that I’m doing now should fail, then I can simply bounce back to my old career with no regrets. If you can’t then you need to be more cautious.


Financial freedom to fail

I’m not a starving artist and I won’t pretend to be the underdog for a sympathetic narrative. I already own a property and have an investment portfolio. I studied Economics at university so had an advantage with making smart money choices.

Rags to riches stories can be rare. Beware as people are often sitting on a bigger safety net than you might think. The long hours I put in my previous career have given me more freedom today, I doubt I’d sacrifice my paycheck without my previous successes.

I refuse to tell you to give up your stability when I don’t know your financial situation.

I don’t have kids or a taste for expensive things so I need less than some of you reading. It’s important to consider your individual circumstances. Be careful about following career advice from a 21-year-old living with their parents rent-free.


Don’t close your eyes

If you are 100% certain you are ready to quit then you haven’t thought it through hard enough.

There are always pros and cons to any decision.

Being an entrepreneur can be scary and lonely sometimes. Not having any colleagues is a big blow to my happiness. Everyone wants to show themselves as successful on social media but the reality isn’t always so glamourous. The pressure is intense because everything depends on you.

I didn’t let myself get swept up in the delusion everything would be perfect. I thought about what sacrifices I was making and whether I believed they would be worth it. This honest look at myself and what I valued meant I had my eyes open when I leaped.


Plans B, C, D, E, and F

I’m only telling part of the story when I tell people I have become a full-time writer. I’ve got many volatile income streams that can balance each other out to provide some security. If my blog doesn’t earn much one month then I have freelancing or contracting to cover the shortfall.

Like others, I can be guilty of oversimplifying things because we don’t want to confuse you. At times I have struggled to understand my business model, let alone explain it. Yet it does you a disservice if you make your own choices based on incomplete information.

A friend of mine is going to contract themselves out for two days a week whilst focusing on their own projects on the other days. For many of you, this might be a smarter though less dramatic plan than a big bang resignation.

It’s reckless to rely on one uncertain stream of income especially when algorithms are involved. Anyone who encourages you to not add backup plans to your dream isn’t your friend.


Don’t fight the world

True visionaries want to prove the world wrong.

I’m not one of these people. Be honest with yourself, are you?

I made PowerPoint presentations with my plan for freedom and explained it to people I trusted to get their candid opinions. I refined my approach based on the feedback I got. I listened if they told me I was being unrealistic.

Quitting wasn’t a rage decision to rebel against my parents. My family believed I was ready before I even had the confidence in myself. The support from the people closest to me made the world of difference.

The encouragement from others in the online world helped too. Some had been through the same mental process I was going through and could relate to my insecurities.

It was a strong sign that I couldn’t keep up with the number of inbound requests I was receiving. If you are struggling to get enough work to maintain a side hustle, it’s not a good idea to take it full time.

The risk levels of being your own boss are greatly reduced when you have an army of rescuers looking out for you. If I am brave, it’s only because those I love gave me the courage.

Amar's Letter

Real talk on driving impact as an imperfect human.