As spring approaches, it’s a time of new beginnings around the Cents household. Some chosen, some unexpected.
A few weeks ago, I was laid off from my corporate job. I accepted an opportunity in a new industry a few years back and devoted myself to learning and growing in a different field. I wasn’t sure if it would be forever, but I knew it would be an excellent learning opportunity and I committed to sticking with it while we tackled my student loan debt.
We’re really close to seeing the light at the end of that tunnel and over the past few months I’d begun exploring whether I’d like to make another move, or whether this company was where I wanted to dedicate myself for the long term. There were pros and cons to both options and I had conflicting thoughts and emotions on which way to go. And then my time with the firm unexpectedly came to an end.
And along with the shock, I felt a deep sense of relief. While the timing isn’t optimal, now that staying put is no longer an option, I am really excited to explore other avenues.
New Beginnings: Unemployment – Week 1
I gave myself two weeks to rest before making any big decisions, but in typical type A fashion, that’s been difficult. Week one I was pretty much confined to bed with a bad cold, which was rapidly followed by a stomach bug and a sinus infection. Goals? Catch up on sleep and read a book for fun. Both accomplished. And also? I did a lot of thinking.
I want to make sure that my next step is logical but that I also follow my heart. And sometimes it’s really difficult to reconcile the two. You see, one of the reasons I launched this blog was to explore whether blogging professionally was an option for me. Would I like it, or would the novelty fade fast? I planned to build the blog slowly on the side, though life intervened a few months in when we were struck by a family health crisis. It was all I could do to balance work + family needs and this new passion project had to be put on hold.
But now, if we’re careful with our spending, I have the runway necessary to really give content marketing, blogging, and/or freelancing my full attention and see if I can build something great. And that’s energizing, exciting, and really, really scary all at once. After much deliberation and seeking input from family and mentors, I’m leaning towards giving myself 6 months to see how it goes. To focusing on health, family, and building my own business in this little corner of the internet. To putting my faith in myself and striving to create a resource that brings hope, inspiration and guidance to all of you.
It feels like a big step to not dive into a search for a new role in my former industry. My skill set there is in high demand and I’ve already had a number of recruiters reach out about intriguing opportunities. But, I think if I didn’t give entrepreneurship a chance, I would always wonder what if. And I’m really questioning if the safe/secure option (i.e. going all in on a new corporate position) is the right path for me.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about success and what it means to me personally and at this point in time, with two young kids, I want to make sure I place fair value on the gift of being present. On slowing down. Everyone says that with parenting the days are long but the years are fast…and I was missing the bulk of those long days between commuting and work travel. I want to choose us over the type of role business school leads one to strive for, at least for a bit.
My ambition isn’t going away, it’s just being channeled differently.
New Beginnings: Unemployment – Week 2
I’m also committing to digging into an online course on blogging and seeing it through. To doing the work, step by step, and seeing where it leads me.
I’m dedicating more of my energy to family. To that end, we hosted a Saint Patrick’s Day dinner for family and friends. And I managed to eat dinner with my kids every day of the week – the first time I’ve ever done so, other than on vacations. I’m incredibly grateful for the added family time this unexpected lay off has given me.
Finally, I signed up for a blog challenge to write 10 posts over 10 days. Time to kick-start the content generation!
How Will We Afford It?
That’s the big question, isn’t it? Financially, how will we make it work?
We’re using some savings to knock out the remaining graduate student loan debt. After years of hard work, we were two to three months away from achieving this goal and by tapping into savings we can be free of them now. We’re also taking a hard look at our expenses, and cutting back where we can (travel, work clothes, gas, etc.) Between severance, unemployment, and savings we have at least a year of runway before I would need to start generating income. If in six months I’m not loving the work from home lifestyle and/or this passion project of mine isn’t gaining momentum, we’ll reassess. But for now, I’m going to throw caution to the wind and follow my dreams for awhile.
Worst case, I gain some new skills before diving full-on into a traditional job search in a few months, more aware of what I’m looking for in this next phase of my career. And I’m still going to be networking and exploring other opportunities to keep my options open, just not 24/7.
Here’s to self-employment and new beginnings!
Have you been through a lay off? I’d love to hear your tips and tricks for navigating the change in the comments!