A Crazy Year

sunset

It’s been awhile since I have written a mushy, reflective post (Aren’t you glad?), but since today marks a very important anniversary that basically shaped everything I have done for the past 365 days, I had to do it. You see, a year ago today, I left behind the stability, the nice paycheck, bonuses, co-workers, free coffee, structure, budget, and warm office of a “real” job. And I love having this post to help me remember that day because the past year has been a mix of so many things. When I walked out of the office I knew so well that day without really a clue of what to do next, I was recovering from pneumonia, completely exhausted, but feeling a mix of fear and excitement that was so exhilarating, one of those feelings you want to bottle up and keep forever.

I know that there is at least one person reading who might be considering some major employment change right now, so below I share some of the standouts from the past year. If none of this applies, I apologize and will have a delicious recipe tomorrow! Smile

  • The mix of emotions when you strike out on your own will be intense and might change from hour-to-hour and definitely day-to-day. The past year has been filled with feeling elated, courageous, on top of the world, but it has also been filled with many, many middle of the night freakouts, heart palpitations and panic attacks, loneliness, regret, and downright depression. Hello being semi-employed in the middle of an endless winter! You’ll also have to grow a thicker skin or feel bad a lot of the time. Or, somewhere in the middle called being human.

 

  • The messages attached to a Yogi tea bag can definitely turn a bad day around.

 

  • People will disappoint you, big time. They’ll have you go through rounds of proposals, phone calls, meetings, get your hopes waaaaaaay up, tell you they love you and promise you work. You might even start the work, and you will definitely count on it financially, maybe even turn down other work. And then they’ll disappear, without a trace. When you really put 100% of yourself into what you do, as I tend to do, this is tough to swallow.

 

  • But, people will also surprise you. If you are incredibly lucky like I have been, perfect strangers or almost strangers who have been in the same boat will offer advice, help connect you with prospects, and generally will be there for you (like you all have been!) to remind you that you can do it.

 

  • Sometimes (often) you’ll surprise yourself. Whether it’s being way more outgoing than you ever imagined, being interviewed on live TV (an event that made me nauseous for three weeks prior), or actually learning to be patient with the way life unfolds.

 

  • Working for myself has been harder than ANY office job I have ever had. I am not a very nice boss.

 

  • You have to remember to buy your own office supplies. There’s no one out there lookin’ out for how much printer paper you have left before a big meeting. And you will miss the heat of an office, even a super hot office, when your new workplace is freezing all.day.long.

 

  • You lose some and you win some. The past year has seen my bank account shrink, but it’s also let me to develop confidence, creativity, Marketing, Social Media, and Public Relations skills and experience, along with connections, that I never would have made if I stayed in my comfy job.

 

Would I do it again? The verdict is still out. I love flexible work days, being able to throw in laundry while waiting for people to get back to me or hopping on the spinning bike during lunch on a slow day. I LOVE working from home and being able to squeeze as much out of my down time as possible. The major thing I hated about a “real” job were the times when things slowed down, and all I could think about was how much time I was wasting. Now? I fill pretty much every minute of the day with productivity, and I love it. And I really love all of the intense learning that goes on in this type of work setting and life. Even when that learning is the hard way.

BUT I am a control freak, and I like to know what’s next. As a freelancer/consultant/business owner, there is no guarantee. I guess that’s true for anyone, but even more so for the work I have chosen. If someone walks away without following through on their end of a promise, I am back to square one. I knew that leaving my full time job would mean some financial changes, and while I am insanely lucky to have a husband who helps with all of that, I am happiest when I can fully take care of myself.

There’s a lot to consider, and it will be interesting to see where year two takes me.

All I can still say, one year out, is exactly what I said a year ago, that right or wrong, I made the best decision I could at the moment. And it has certainly made my life interesting!

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  1. Daisy’s avatar

    it’s actually pretty crazy to think it has been A YEAR since you quit! my how time flies. You have learned and grown so much through it all, I remember the good days and bad, the disappointments and the surprises. it’s certainly been enlightening. I have a feeling a lot more amazing opportunities will come your way this year!

    Reply

  2. Emily @ A Cambridge Story’s avatar

    Wow, it’s been a whole year! You’ve done some great things and I can only imagine how hard it is for you to be your own boss, motivator, biz dev person and office manager! Congrats – I have a feeling this year will be even better!

    Reply

  3. Joy’s avatar

    I absolutely loved how you wrote this reflective piece. I have experienced so many of the ups/downs/indecisiveness that you spoke of and to hear that I am not alone has lifted my spirits. I hope that you get to your place of harmony in the coming year…best wishes.

    Reply

    1. traveleatlove’s avatar

      Thank you! I wish you the best as well!

      Reply

    2. Raija’s avatar

      Bravo!!!! And beautiful picture to accompany your post.

      Reply

    3. Amie’s avatar

      Great post! This sentence below really sums up a lot of my feelings.. I daydream about just walking out of an office setting and making it on my own (or at least partly) – maybe someday! :-)

      “The major thing I hated about a “real” job were the times when things slowed down, and all I could think about was how much time I was wasting. Now? I fill pretty much every minute of the day with productivity, and I love it.”

      Reply

      1. traveleatlove’s avatar

        At the rate you are going with your photography, I am pretty sure you will make it on your own in the not-so-distant future!

        Reply

      2. Elina (Healthy and Sane)’s avatar

        I am not a very nice boss. lol
        Well obviously I loved this post since I just made the same decision a few days ago. Later than night I started wondering whether I could have done it better, whether I could have been more assertive and stuck it out there longer. But the thing is – you never know what this change will bring until you actually do it. And it is ok (and scary, gutsy and exciting) to choose yourself for once and do what seems best at the time. And the reality is that nothing is irreversible (job-wise at least). The worst thing is that your bank account suffers for a bit but you learn a whole lot of lessons. And money is just money in the big scheme of things.

        Reply

        1. traveleatlove’s avatar

          I am really excited for you! The one thing I try to remember if I get down or worried is that even the past year is a small blip in the grand scheme of things! We will have to have a lunch date when you are done with work!

          Reply

        2. Samantha’s avatar

          Hi there,

          Thanks so much for this post. I think it’s really great and refreshing to see the ups and the downs (and the downs!) of striking out on one’s own. I’m contemplating doing the same next year, but want to gather all of the info/advice/anecdotes/tools I can before I do so. I’m hoping to do it in a staged fashion (putting one toe at a time in the pool slowly!), rather than all at once. And of the course the dream? The dream is to get to a place where my own little company has a comfy cozy office space with the heat jacked up 9 months a year, excellent lighting, convenient parking, flexible hours, free coffee, and a dog bed beside every desk. One step at a time.

          Reply

        3. Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic’s avatar

          What a great, reflective post Meghan! You are doing great and I am so proud of you!

          Reply

        4. Beth’s avatar

          What a great post, Meghan! I definitely still go back and read your post from a year ago from time to time. I think working for yourself is still very much the dream for a number of us with corporate jobs and blogs on the side, and it’s wonderful to see that you’ve been able to do it successfully, but I also appreciate your honesty about the ups and downs. Still, congratulations! Good luck on year 2!

          Reply

        5. Megan’s avatar

          I’m so proud of you and everything you’ve accomplished this past year… and wow, I can’t believe it’s been a year. I also can’t believe how many job changes have affected my circle of friends (and me!) this past year. It’s great to see all of us really going after our dreams… even if we haven’t all figured out exactly what those dreams are.

          Reply

        6. Erica @ In and Around Town’s avatar

          So impressed! It was a huge decision and I think the fact that you aren’t thinking it was bad, means it was a good step no matter what!

          Reply

        7. melissanibbles’s avatar

          This is a fantastic post. I like that you talked about the good, the bad and what it’s really like to strike out on your own. Congratulations on a successful year!

          Reply

        8. Lin @BeantownEats’s avatar

          Congrats on a great year! I admire your ability to be honest, with yourself and with sharing this with us. I can’t even imagine what it must have been like to make that decision, and I really give you a lot of credit.

          Reply

        9. Kelly’s avatar

          I love this post because I feel like most others who have done what you have haven’t really told much about the negatives, especially in a reflective way like this rather than just complaining (and I accept complaining too of course, just comes out differently this way). Eric always says he wants to be his own boss, but to me it just feels like I would so much more pressure on myself :) In the summer I basically work for myself tutoring and I think that is about the most into it I will ever get, there are so many headaches when people cancel, forget to pay etc. I guess there are just headaches no matter what you do for work! Anyway, congrats on 1 year and I hope year 2 is maybe a little easier for you!

          Reply

          1. traveleatlove’s avatar

            Thanks, Kelly! I definitely do complain :) but I write posts like that to try to keep it all in perspective. There have been a lot of great moments too. I guess nothing is ever perfect!

            Reply

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