I am a firm believer of working at a job that makes you happy most of the time (no job is perfect, after all). EVERYONE should have a chance to follow their passions and be happy at something that sucks up at least 35 hours a week (or more)!
That said, do your homework before you quit.
What kinds of things should you research?
IF YOU NEED TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL
- How much education you might need and how you’ll pay for tuition and books
- How long it will take for you to finish schooling
- If you’ll be able to have an income while schooling, or go into debt for living expenses
- What you can expect to make after your classes and if it’s more than what you make now (or if there are other non-monetary benefits such as actually liking what you do)
- If there is a job market readily available for those with your skill set
- If you need to intern after you finish schooling before you get into your actual job
- How much experience you will need so people/companies will hire you to do the job
- How you will get that experience, being a freshly minted graduate
ONCE YOU HAVE THE JOB
- How many hours are you working now, versus how many you will be putting in afterwards
- How much will you be making an hour versus what you made per hour before, which also has to include the calculation of lost income while you were in school, cost of your tuition and books, cost of living while you were in school and how long it will take you to pay back your debt
IF YOU DECIDE TO BECOME A FREELANCER
- How much time you will need to spend on administrative tasks such as marketing, accounting, sales and so on
- How many contracts/jobs you can realistically get in a year
- How much you should charge
- How much you need to run your business and be able to pay for your lifestyle
- How many hours you will put into the job versus what you put in before
And will you believe that this is just a brief overview I came up with off the top of my head?
As a freelancer in any given week I do the following on top of my job:
- invoicing (have to keep track of my hours too)
- scheduling hotels, flights, trips
- budgeting (managing the payment for everything)
- cost-control (also part of budgeting)
- client management
- time management
- negotiation for my rate and length of contract
- legalese (reading 30 page contracts and making sure they’re kosher)
- working out the costs of additional expenses of a job
Every job should be thought of as a business: There is a cost and a profit
The costs are how many hours (extra or less) you will work, the tuition and education required to get the job, your mental sanity and quality of life, increased lifestyle management and organization to name a few.
The profits are how many hours (less) you will have to work, personal satisfaction gained, and the extra savings you will have to bank each year after paying for your job/business and your lifestyle.
There are probably plenty more things you should consider before quitting and following your dream. Not to put a damper on anyone’s picnic, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out.
Case in point:
I know a guy who quit as the VP of a company to become an antiques re-seller on eBay.
At 50, he felt like he had enough money saved and gave up his $200,000 job to pursue his dream of being an independent and he had enough money saved for 3 years of not making a single penny.
Three years later, he’s 53, the market for antiques was a bust on eBay and no one will hire him because he’s too close to retirement and his experience warrants more than $50,000 a year.
Sometimes, things just don’t work out… so make sure before you do what you want to do, that it has a decent chance of succeeding.
No one jumps into anything big without doing a little research first.
It’s kind of like going into the pool for the first time. Start in the shallow end, explore a little, and then put your head under when you’re ready.
Just be sure to remember when it’s time to throw in the towel and come up for air.