I’m lying, it’s just short of 6 months but a post titled 5.5 months without a job doesn’t have the same impact. So yes, I’m a little early but if I didn’t write it now I would probably forget.
For those of you who have only just stumbled upon my site, I quit my boring crappy job at the start of the summer and to be honest I didn’t have an exact plan. Well I kind of knew that I wanted to start teaching guitar but I had no idea how to get that started. So basically I did the very responsible grown up thing of walking out of a job without anything lined up.
If you haven’t yet seen them, I have written a variety of posts detailing both my story and various ‘how to quit your job‘ articles which you can read by downloading my ebook over there on the top right hand side of the screen. Quick, go take look.
Almost six months on I now give regular lessons and I have a fledgling secondary income which I won’t talk about just yet. Sadly it’s nothing exciting or dangerous, which is a shame. Anyway, I better move on to the point of the article.
6 Things I’ve learned from (almost) 6 months without a job!
1. Time flies by so damn quickly
I read somewhere, I really can’t remember where it was but I’m almost certain it was legit, that the less new stimuli our brain receives the faster our days will appear to pass. That’s why as we get older time seems to fly by and as kids those long awesome summers were, well, long and awesome. It was a new experience.
Sitting at home glued to my laptop and teaching guitar can start to get a little repetitive. Nowhere near as bad as sitting in a cubicle for example and I’m certainly not moaning but a certain daily rhythm can be set.
In one way this is good as it feels like I am motoring towards my goals that little bit faster but in another sense, it also feels like there are only 18 hours in a day. So I quit my job and now I just can’t seem to find the time.
Take note Alanis. THAT is irony.
2. Money just seems to… appear?
When I left my job I had a certain number in the bank. I’m not going to reveal that number because;
A. It isn’t any of your business and…
B. It totally would be your business if it was an impressive figure. But it wasn’t so get over it.
Anyway, it was a decent amount to live on for a few months but I was certain that sooner rather than later I would have to dine out with the local hobo’s.
This hasn’t happened yet, and I’m not sure why.
You see pretty much every month since then, the amount in my bank account has remained pretty constant. Every time it has taken a hit, within a week or two I receive a little windfall from somewhere. I would take on a bunch of students or sell a few articles and everything gets back to normal. I don’t expect sorcery to be involved here, but that would be cool wouldn’t it?
3. My motivation levels are all over the place
The first 6-8 weeks of my self-imposed workforce exile was insanely productive. I taught myself how to build a website, how to market and promote myself and not just that but I went to the gym most days and continued to teach myself German.
I was a machine.
The machine needs fixing.
As time went on my motivational levels started to fluctuate, and I suppose this is normal. Nobody can keep up an insane work ethic 24/7 and I expected my output to falter at some point. The trouble is that getting back into the groove is proving pretty tricky. I suppose that I am in a little bit of a rut but every few days I hit my stride again and blast out some articles or do some promotion. I have just learnt how to maximise these windows of opportunity and when I wake up without any energy, to not fret about it. These feelings will pass.
4. I wasn’t prepared enough for the ‘pain period’
Following on from the above, I think everyone at some point will enter what has come to be known as the ‘pain period’. Doesn’t it sound lovely?
The way I interpret this is that it’s the time when your motivation starts to waiver and you start wondering if it is worth the hassle. You’re putting in all this effort and hard work but have yet to see any meaningful results. Yeh okay, I am now making a liveable income doing something that I enjoy and that is great and everything but it’s not enough money for a good quality of life (in case you didn’t know I chose to move back home before starting).
I’ll be honest and say that every day I battle with the thoughts of whether I should get a job. If I did this would I be a quitter? Or would I simply be sensible and normal?
Screw you sensible and normal. You will not get the better of me!
See what I mean? In the space of 30 seconds I pondered giving up and then decided not to. It’s okay though, these doubts are normal and I know that if I stick with this, I will be rewarded one day. I just hope that day comes soon or I’ll be hitting up those hobos. (Do they have phones?)
5. It becomes easier to tell people what you do
The funny thing with quitting your job is that you always meet people and they ask you what you do, and it seems like life throws these people at you the VERY MOMENT you quit. “Couldn’t you have asked me last week when I was a normal functioning member of society? Damn you all”
To be honest, I felt a little awkward, both when meeting new people and catching up with old friends. People responded with reactions ranging from; “you crazy fool” to “wow I wish I could do that”, and everything in between.
Almost 6 months on I now make money from teaching guitar and writing, and while it isn’t a lot, I can tell people that I am a musician and I’m a writer without feeling like a fraud. I have covered this before in the article ‘you are not your job‘, but it sure feels better when you’re not a slave to the minimum wage.
6. Having a job really sucks
It does, let’s not lie to ourselves here. Okay most jobs suck. Mine did, so that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
If you have a job that you enjoy then good luck to you and well done for being the object of my insane jealousy. Don’t balls it up, keep it and good things will only happen to you.
Now back to me.
Yes my motivation levels go up and down and I’m currently in the middle of the ‘pain period’ but when I sit down and think back to earlier this year, I was really unhappy. This wasn’t a fluctuating level of unhappiness either but a constant feeling of total resentment for where I worked and everything around me. Right now I don’t feel stressed at all. My blood pressure is so low it’s bordering on being unhealthy. I don’t have any feelings of dread when I wake up in the morning.
This is why I do what I do. Will it last? Who knows, I may be forced at some point to get a job if this doesn’t pan out the way I had hoped. I am doing my degree right now in computer programming as a backup career to future proof myself.
So far so good, let’s see what happens next.