Recently, I made the choice to forfeit my solid income, benefits, company-provided programs, and the deepening unease that I was not going anywhere. I gained more bills, a deeper risk of failure, a constant internal screaming of pure terror, and utter freedom.
I Went Full-time Freelance.
I was living the kind of life I just was not happy in. I would start my days unmotivated and end them in frustration after working eight unfulfilled hours. However, the job certainly could’ve been worse.
Many people do not land jobs in their fields right away, but I managed to. In fact, I was hired as a web designer having had little to no web experience. But, I learned web design. The difficulty was how quickly I began to feel like I was giving more than I was getting. This is not to say I learned nothing from that position; I certainly did. I simply was no longer growing in a direction I desired.
For fear of losing the talents and skills I had acquired, I freelanced with every spare moment. After a full, eight-hour workday, I found myself coming home to do my “real work,” but it became deflating.
Moving from one screen to the next polluted my passion for design and left me mentally exhausted. Not only was I suffering inwardly, but my body began to physically hurt. I felt tired and sore all the time and my muscles were in a constant state of tension.
It is genuinely astonishing how many things are affected simply from being unhappy in a job.
How Creatives Get Stuck In Unfulfilling Jobs
There is an old saying:
“If you put a frog in boiling water, it will jump out. If you put a frog in warm water and gradually turn up the heat until the water is boiling, the frog will remain there until it dies. And that is an abusive relationship.” - View Source
It was not until a friend reminded me of this metaphor that I realized it was actually happening. The shattering truth of how suppressed I had been washed over me and I accepted that it was time to move on.
So, I weighed my options, recognized my situation, accepted my situation, and made a choice. I proposed some alternatives and when it was clear no agreement would be reached, I handed in my two weeks. Shortly after, I filed for an LLC, altered and updated my website, started producing work I was excited about, and took a deep breath with the knowledge that I was going somewhere again.
No Looking Back
There was no fear or regret in my decision, which, to me, was the most prominent sign that I had made the right move. Sure, it was one hell of a risk, but how else do people get anywhere worth going?
In the past two years, I have done good work, labored toward another’s goals, conducted freelance, and lived a stable life.
In the last three months, I have lived with fluctuating income, built a brand, started a business, supplied my own health benefits, traveled to new places, revived my passion for creating, and produced some of my strongest work.
I am living off my father’s advice and it is the most successful I have been. So, I pass this advice onto anyone finding themselves dissatisfied. Fly fast and take chances.