|photo credit: Express Monorail via photopin cc|
I was unhappy, yes. It was an abusive situation, yes. I had to get out of there, yes.
But there are still things I could have done to make my transition easier.
Ah, if I only had it to do over again...
1. I would have paid attention to the writing on the wall earlier on.
I was just coming off of four years of unemployment and was grooving on having a steady income again. But even six months into my new job, I had an uneasy sense that something nasty was coming down the pipeline. It was then-- three years before I actually quit -- that I should have started planning my exit strategy.
2. I would have started laying the groundwork for my transition earlier.
Knowing what I do now about the local job market -- basically, that there isn't one -- I would have started thinking about starting my own business much, much earlier.
3. I would have done way more market research.
I would have asked more questions. I would have mentioned to people, "Hey, I'm thinking of starting a dog walking business -- what do you think? Would that fly here in town?" Or, "Hey, I'm thinking of going into blogging and social media consulting -- what do you think about that?"
4. I would have started my business in a field that I really loved (blogging, social media, and online marketing. Here's my business website: symblemeservicesonline.blogspot.com).
I came across a quote recently that says, "If your answer isn't 'Hell yes!', it should be 'Hell no!' I knew too much about the pet care industry from being a veterinary assistant and shelter worker, and I went into the field with reservations. I realize now that part of the reason that my dog walking business didn't take off was that my heart wasn't in it 110%. Without gung-ho energy behind it, even in a great market, a business's performance will only be mediocre at best.
5. While I was still being paid, I would have scaled spending back to the absolute bare minimum and paid it forward.
I was pretty much there anyway, but there are still some things I could have gone without. For me, setting aside money in savings doesn't work very well, because the money is too easy to get to and spend. So I would have moved in with my fiancé sooner and used the money I saved from that second apartment to pay forward on rent. I would have foregone buying the bagpipes and the extra clothes and taken some classes and gotten certified in my new field. I would have invested in things I could sell later when money got tight.
6. I would have looked for and found a mentor sooner.
As a lifelong employee, from a family of lifelong employees. I had no idea how to run a business. I was totally a deer in headlights. I could have gotten some help with figuring things out that whole time.
7. I would have started networking sooner.
This is tough for me as a raving introvert; I love being a hermit. But while I was still out in the "real world", I would have started asking people about social media, or what they thought about dog walking. I would have floated more crazy ideas past everybody: clients, friends, businesspeople even family. Heck, my stepmother is getting an MBA--talk about missing out on a great resource!
8. I would have spent way more time and energy daydreaming about, studying, and researching my new business.
I would have read everything I could get my hands on. I would have built my website sooner, and started building my email list sooner. I would have tried harder to keep myself in that juicy, creative, positive place and get some really great spin about where I wanted to go, instead of wasting time and energy on my incompetent boss.
I would have tried my best to prepare for the unexpected. I would have asked myself, "What will I do if/when I run out of money? What is my bailout plan?" I know it's impossible to anticipate everything, but I could have done better.
10. I wouldn't have held onto my job nearly as long as I did.
Three years of my life, gone. It's okay; it was what it was. But I could have chosen happiness sooner.
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