Exactly one year ago, I fired my boss and it felt great. My joy was short-lived however.
I had taught for 12 years and as much as I loved my students, I just couldn’t take it anymore.
I didn’t leave because I was tired of teaching. Not at all! I LOVED teaching (still do) and I was an exceptional teacher. Badass even. I’ve met lots of my former students over the years and every single time, I get emotional when they tell me their success stories and how I helped shaped their lives. It’s heady stuff, I tell ya!
Excuse ma, if it was that great, why did you resign?
I’m so glad you asked!
You see, at the time I resigned, I just wanted out and that was that. Only I knew that I was very close to a mental breakdown and was extremely tempted to go after my boss with a baseball bat to ask her why she was constantly owing me and making my kids go hungry.
Most importantly, I was ANGRY. So, so, very angry. I was angry at my boss. I was angry at myself for letting another human being dictate when and what I could eat. I was just angry.
I decided it was time to leave and give this ‘writing thing’ my full attention. So, I left my job.
Everyone thought it was a stupid idea.
Were they right, you ask?
In the past one year, I have been through an unprecedented, shockingly brutal and totally avoidable financial hardship. With just me alone, it would have been hard. As a single mother of two, it was brutal.
Believe me, you have not known real pain until you see your kids, weakened with hunger, struggling to crawl to you to pat your head and tell you we’ll be alright. I sobbed like a baby that day.
I’m not the crying type but I’ve shed plenty tears this past one year.
Was it when I had to pull my kids out of school for one whole term that I would not have cried?
Was it when we had to stop going to church because the kids had nothing to wear that I would not have cried?
Was it when my illiterate customer who probably saw her chance to take the ‘posh alakowe’ down a peg or two and came to shout ‘Onigbese!!!!’ at my door to the hearing of the whole street because I was owing her #400 that I would not have cried?
I’ve cried sufficiently in the past one year and it has been pretty illuminating so I can tell you a couple of things:
ONE – Forget any motivational nonsense you hear, leaving your job is HARD. Do not, I repeat DO NOT, leave your job without solid back-up plans and a healthy savings account.
If you do, and God help you if you also have dependents, you just might be in for a shocker.
Excuse ma, you were tired of your job and you left, I am tired too so why can’t I leave?
I didn’t say don’t leave if you’re tired, I said leave when you have a solid back-up plan and enough savings to last you for several months.
TWO – Passion is not enough. Passion is never enough so before you ‘follow your passion’, ask yourself, ‘Is my passion ripe enough to support me financially?’. If you’re not sure, wait till your passion can pay your bills, else, what you’re about to follow is raw, undiluted hunger.
THREE – Self-employment is HARD. Please don’t get it twisted, being self-employed does not translate to having the time to sleep anyhow, eat anyhow, work whenever you like and just generally be complacent.
Ask self-employed people. Jungle rough walahi. You’ll work till you drop, catch just a few hours of sleep and start all over again. Please snap out of your hallucinations and get with the program.
I tell you again, self-employment is HARD so ask yourself, ‘Am I ready for the work?’
FOUR – Before you leave your job to become your own boss, have a support system.
Who are your mentors? Do you have a coach? When things don’t go as planned, do you have people who will comfort you, encourage you and energise you? When you’re flat broke, do you have people in your circle who will be ready to send you money? Who can you lean on when you falter?
Before you leave your job, PAUSE and PONDER.
FINALLY – Know this, if you do leave that job, YOU WILL BE FINE. Nobody says it will be easy. As a matter of fact, there might be days you’ll regret your decision to leave your job but you will be fine.
I have walked that path and I can tell you this; no matter how hard or rough the journey gets, remember this, YOU WILL BE FINE.
If you’ve left your job, how has the journey been?
If you’re about to leave your job, was this post helpful?