I work a job that I don’t like for the money. It is seriously killing my soul. I really want to quit my job and focus on building my dream business, which I have been building in my head for months now, but my current job gives my husband and I health insurance and ensures we don’t struggle financially. I have a side hustle that brings in some money, but it’s not steady. Agggh, I don’t know what to do! Should I tough it out and stay at my job that I hate for security? Or, just go for it and focus all my energy on building my dream business?
Weighing Security vs. Dreams,
I love that you have such a clear conception of your dream business and such a strong passion for it! I can read the excitement in your words. You wrote “I really want to…” That right there is more than most people could say. First and foremost, you really need to acknowledge for yourself just how amazing you are for having this love and conviction. It is very difficult for so many to find that one thing that just has to be pursued, and then to find the courage to pursue it. One of the most important questions I ask people is: what does this mean to you? If you know that answer, you kind of have your answer.
Speaking of courage, one thing comes to mind as a gut check for you: is the soul crushing job with the good salary and benefits code for other reasons you haven’t pursued this business? What exactly has gotten in the way of this dream for you so far? Is it that you’re just too comfortable with the current situation that you fear the major change? Even though you sound miserable at your job, is it feeling like the devil you know…? I’m wondering if the job is an excuse that you’ve bought into in order to deprive yourself of happiness and keep your dream at bay. Sometimes the thing that holds us back from our own success is the fear of being successful. What if it fails? What if my parents/friends/coworkers think I’m making a huge mistake? What if I don’t really deserve this? These are sinister voices you’ve internalized that are trying to talk you out of something you know in your being, so it is important to remember that they are wrong and you know how you feel about this.
Once you really examine that, and you know you this dream is it, we can figure out how to make it happen. But I can sense your frustration (Agggh!), and a real sense of urgency you are feeling to just gtfo of the stable soul crusher job.
At the risk of sounding like a Disney princess, you need to hold onto your dream! (Unless, of course, your dream business is to start like a human trafficking trade or a MAGA hat emporium, in which case I’d advise you to abandon your dream and stick with what you’re doing). But while you hold onto that dream, you need to start looking at the realities. This doesn’t need to be an either/or decision—try to reframe this and look at it as a process: in order to get z, I need to do x and y. When you asked about toughing it out and staying, it sounded like you’re seeing this as a life sentence, like you’ll be there FOR-E-VER. Instead, think of your current job as a means to an end, not just The End. Even if you continue working at your current job for now, taking concrete steps toward your real goals can start to make the for-money job a little more tolerable for the time being.
You said you’ve already been building the business in your head, but is this like something you’re doing on The Sims, or do you have concrete action items? You might begin taking the steps to plan exactly what you will need in order to start: What are your startup costs? Are there licenses or other paperwork you can start working on now? Based on living costs and just-in-cases, how much money would you ideally want in the bank for you and your husband? Do you have any large expenses coming up to plan for? Does either of you need any medical procedures or checkups or medication that you can get while you still have the good insurance? This is about gathering the information you need to make a decision that is not impulsive and not just because you want to go fuck it, I’m out. If you can get really specific about your needs, you may be able to plan out just how much longer you have to save money and stay at the current job and maybe even set a goal for a definitive end date. Once you have that light at the end of the tunnel to look forward to, it might be easier emotionally to stick it out until you get there. The excitement of getting to work on transitioning toward the career you want while you still work the stable job may actually make you feel a little less antsy than you are currently feeling.
BUT there are two elephants in this room that we need to address:
- We’re in the middle of a global pandemic. This could be causing all kinds of complications in your efforts to make this move. Maybe seeing that so many people are hurting financially has you minimizing the importance of this passion project out of guilt. Or maybe finances are a real concern for you too, and it feels risky to do this kind of thing right now. Maybe you decide that right now, it is in fact really important to you to have stability and that taking a risk would actually stress you out more. If so, waiting until some of this dust settles is an ok agreement to make with yourself. Or maybe Covid isn’t really a big issue in your case and if you take those other planning steps, you can feasibly do it. Yay!
- You are married, so your decisions are also impacting someone else. Not only that, but maybe you’re feeling a certain pressure because of your spouse. He might not be saying anything overtly, but think about dynamics between the two of you that could be contributing to the difficulties you feel taking this on. Is he a stability type of guy, which makes you feel bad when you don’t also prioritize stability? Or is he a risk-taker which has made you feel you have to be the stable one? For that matter, who else in your life might be silently discouraging you? If this is the case, you’re in for some tough conversations wherein you need to assert yourself and what’s important to you, and understand any concerns others have. But maybe your husband has his own thing going and everyone is super supportive and just wants you to be happy. Woo hoo!
So, Lost, once you’ve truly considered all of the above, I say set your compass due you. Your drive is a tremendous quality and asset. I think keeping your vision clear in your mind is going to help you find what you need to go forward. You sound like a bawse hustler so OWN IT! That doesn’t mean you have to throw caution to the wind and plunge in head first. And it doesn’t mean you have to make pros and cons spreadsheets for years. Be reasonable and take all the considerations into account in order to give yourself the confidence to set your time frame to start this business. The business idea makes you feel more alive than your current job, and moving toward aliveness in our lives is important, especially now. The literal alternative to being alive is dying.
Wishing you all the luck!