When to Leave and How to Live

Leaving is one of the hardest things for many people. Whether it’s your home, your country, your partner or your job – it’s never easy. Even when you have all the relevant reasons and things are crystal clear saying the final goodbye might be an issue.

I’m writing about this now because it has been a year since I said goodbye to my previous job. Somehow, it’s becoming quite clear that beginning of the summer is my timing for goodbyes.

But my last goodbye was much more then leaving a job and a career. It was a goodbye to many things I thought are very important to me. Many things I considered a backbone of my professional and personal life.

I would be a big liar if I would claim that I was fully aware of that this time last year, but I had quite a number of signs surrounding me. Today, my awareness is much higher but I still struggle with execution in some segments. That’s why I’m still writing this blog.

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When to leave is, of course, the key question. But in order to answer it you must first give yourself an answer  to the second one from the title of this post. Usually we want to leave because we need some change. We want something different. Sometimes all we need is a slightly different environment, better career prospective or a different industry. But, sometimes we need a complete make-over of our career and life.

I always enjoy reading those stories about people who quit their jobs and decide to go around the world and then they started blogging and they earned millions. Or they got an idea for an app and they again earned millions. I believe some of those stories are true. But it won’t happen to the majority of us. Some of us have families to support, old parents or pets they can’t leave behind. But it’s not essential that you go for a trip around the world. What’s much more important is to picture and put in a frame exactly how you want to live.

My picture was clear: to work and live under my own professional and ethical standards with people that I can respect and that I want to support with my knowledge, hard work and creativity. If I can’t find it, then to work alone until I find it.

In case that you just want to change the job, the path is pretty well known. Put yourself on a labor market in many different ways: friends, colleagues, old bosses who liked you, recruitment agencies, job ads, LinkedIn at least 3 hours per day… And after I while something will pop up…

But in case you want to change your life and your job at the same time you need a bit more preparation:

  • Open up yourself toward communities that you don’t belong to – start communicating with people outside of your regular everyday environment. Do this for at least 6 months.
  • Make some savings – just to feel less under pressure while you are in the process of transition. It’s individual, of course, how much you will need. But being safe for a year sounds reasonable.
  • Read a lot. Reading provides amazing inspiration and it can move you into directions that you would never imagine. A book per week is a must.
  • Do couple of crazy things – just to see that you are capable of it. It doesn’t have to be anything huge. But something that takes you out of your comfort zone.
  • Find someone to support you during this transition. You will need both: a shoulder to cry on and a companion to get drunk with while celebrating.
  • Get yourself a mentor! Having a mentor during any transition process is one of the most precious things you might have.

 

Even if you do all this it doesn’t mean that transition success is guaranteed. It depends on how your framed ideal life looks like and how much time you need to reach it. Some people have less and some people have more complicated frames. And pictures inside those frames. But, don’t be discouraged if it goes through some phases and takes some extra time. Repeat the formula. Do something even more crazy and meet some more interesting people… And if you’re wondering when the right time to leave is, it is going to become very clear for you pretty soon. You will figure it out in a nice way or in a bit of a dramatic way, but you will also know how you want to live. And that’s a victory!

Cheers to everyone who figured out when to leave. And cheers to everyone who figured out how they want to live. I salute them!

 

 

4 thoughts

  1. Stevan, nicely explained, thank you. I guess we all come to this point, sooner or later, when we leave behind what we believed is “essential” (and for a certain time frame it was), and move forward. Yet I find your suggestions useful and applicable. Thank you once again.

    Liked by 1 person

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