Revolving Doors

Tuesday, January 5, 2010 , Posted by Johnny Fuery at 4:22 PM

Originally Published 2007-09-14 08:03:50

A friend of mine was chatting with me today and told me he's presently finishing up the last week at his day job. As luck would have it, I, too have recently finished my day job. Truth be told, like my friend, I "checked out" a long time ago and was being lackadaisical about taking the plunge.

Turns out the timing couldn't have been better. It's been about a month now, and despite purposefully trying to reduce the number of hours I devote to clients (and the associated work), I have more freelance work falling out of the sky than ever before. It's actually quite amazing... I feel as though I'm falling behind, even after having just pulled an all-nighter to keep up. (yawn)

A colleague of mine (whom I have to thank for dropping some work on my lap) mentioned that he was glad to hear that I'd finally kicked the day job to the curb. In his words "closing that door will allow others to open."

Indeed, with the security blanket of a paycheck gone, I'm more eager than ever to keep my professionalism up, and that is having a waterfall effect on my habits, too -- even those that are not client facing. Things like time accounting and subsequent reporting, which before was handled using a variety of disparate methods (emailing myself was a common routine -- what a mess that was!), are naturally becoming more formalized. I'm also following up on opportunities with more diligence -- and not out of fear. It's just part of my newly heightened game.

Now, I was making more money overall before, because the juggling act of managing the eight jobs (seriously) I had before naturally threw off a fair amount of cash. But in terms of salary replacement, I'm there and then some. So, ultimately, it's just a question of work-life balance -- and the value of that balance.

For me, personally, I'm a much happier man today than I was two months ago. Perhaps a bit cranky right this minute, but all-nighters have a tendency to do that. :-)

Now, I know the business tip is a little hard to sequester from this somewhat personal post, but here it is: sometimes the safety net of your paycheck really should be forfeited. I'm sure you all have a certain number in mind for "backup cash", I'm sure there's a magic number you just have to hit before you take the plunge, and I know it's a very scary prospect.

That being said, if, like me, you have an idea every 5 minutes, if you find yourself trying to get by on four hours of sleep every day so that you can right business plans and build prototypes, and if you have 7 different business cards with your name on them in your wallet, then it might just be good for you to walk the tightrope without a safety net. You never know how well you can perform until given the freedom to do so.

And besides, you can always go and get another day job, right?

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