How I Took A Leap Of Faith (And Had to Survive the Aftermath)

On Quitting My Job Without a Plan (And the Resulting Mess)
by Ryan Burch
Photos Bloguettes | December 20, 2016
Transitions can make for rough days—your success lies in how you handle them.
That Friday was a tough day.

I was in the kind of mood that’s hard to snap out of. I found myself falling victim to the stress and anxieties that anyone freelancing or “in-between” jobs can relate to.

I think it’s important to talk about the dark days that come as a result of switching jobs or taking a leap of faith. They exist. If you are unhappy in your job and thinking of making a change—stay with me—I'm not suggesting you change your mind! Still, your happiness requires taking risks, but they'll pay off if you plan for them. The point is that you are bound to have rough days during a transition (this also is true for anyone with a full-time job). Your success lies in how you handle them. 

We all have bad days 

My latest mood swing came as a result of another potential job opportunity falling through the cracks, coupled with the reality that I may have to take on some odd jobs to get through this period of time. Although I’ve had some great freelance gigs (including working at NIKE Training Club in Austin, Texas), freelance means part-time, which means temporary, which means hustlin’ for work more than I’ve ever had to in the past. I guess until that Friday, I'd been living in a bit of a dream world in which when one job ends, another comes, and my connections will always be able to bring me new opportunities.

Whenever I write it out, it sounds totally ridiculous. I quit my job before I had anything lined up. Essentially, I quit my job without a plan. What did I expect? Life is rife with sacrifice and there’s always a trade-off. I knew all of this—yet still I fell into a funk.

Feel Sorry For Yourself, But For One Day Only

I actually believe that it’s important to allow yourself to be sad once in a while. Allow yourself to feel the emotion—but just for a day. After that, you’ve got to change the channel.

In the past (like when I moved to L.A. with no job) I’d feel sorry for myself for days at a time. I’ve since learned that this sort of behavior is detrimental. Another day feeling stressed out, sad, and anxious turns into another day wasted.
Allow yourself to feel the emotion—but just for a day. After that, you’ve got to change the channel.

Find Your Shortcomings

The best way to climb out of a hole? Identify your emotional triggers. Figure out the root of your stressors and pain. Why are you feeling like this, and how will you solve the problem?

Are you down on yourself because you’ve applied for a million jobs and have only gotten rejections? You are not the problem, and you are not alone. It’s harshly competitive out there, so you have to find a way to stand out or get “in” with recruiters.

Have you been reaching out to people with jobs you admire? Have you made time for the hobbies you love or tried something new? You never know when you might meet someone that could turn things around for you. Face-to-face interaction is one of the best ways to make an impression and get a referral.

In my case, I freaked out when I realized that I didn’t have many jobs or interviews lined up for November. It hit me that this was the “slow season” for most of my clients, and I wouldn’t be able to count on much of the previous work I’d been getting.

But why had I only now realized how light my workload had become? I'd been focusing on the work in front of me in the short-term and not planning for the future. I had stopped scheduling informational interviews, I hadn’t followed up with my mentors, I didn’t complete my writing portfolio, and I wasn’t keeping my friends updated. I was also holed up in my apartment, working in my PJs, and being a total sloth. (Obviously, a recipe for disaster.)
But why had I suddenly realized how light my workload had become? I was focusing only on the work in front of me in the short-term, and not planning for the future or continuing to network

Make concrete to-dos

After recognizing my shortcomings, I began chipping away at my “to-dos.”

Figure out exactly what's bothering you, and then do something (a little goes a long way) concrete to move toward solving that issue. Schedule an informational interview. Reach out to a potential mentor. Pass your resume along to new friends.

Then, figure out what makes you laugh and hold onto it. Put your phone down and focus on surrounding yourself with supportive people and creating memorable experiences.

By recommitting to a routine and following the career tips that worked so well for me in the past, I quickly secured one new job and two new prospects.

You can get rid of a bad attitude by analyzing your behavior and making an effort to change. Replace the word “dream” with the word “goal.” Take advantage of the benefits of a career transition (having a flexible schedule and working from home), and realize that with unpredictability comes excitement.

We all get a chance to mold our own path in this crazy game of life—what mood will you choose? What moves will you make?

Any tips for the best in-between-jobs state of mind? Tell us about them in the comments! 
This article was originally published in 2014.