Have you ever thought about a job change? I think most people would answer this question with, “Yes”. I know many people who shop for other jobs while employed. The reasons for this could be because they are under-employed, wanting a similar job with better pay, wanting a job that is higher up the ladder, or they could just be plain old bored with their current position and need a change.
Have you ever thought about a major career change? By major career change, I mean either doing a U-Turn or completely starting over, reinventing yourself in the process. Or changing degree choice when you are one semester away from graduation, having to start over, while putting yourself in further debt in the process.
Once upon a time, in the not so distant past, doing so was not that big of a risk. The markets were good. Finding a job, even if part-time for minimum wage, was not a difficult task. Keeping you and your family afloat, whilst trying to figure out your next move, wasn’t as large of a source of stress. Now, the situation is vastly different. If you have a job, one is more likely to hang onto it, no matter how much they hate it. Some parts of the world, it is easier to find a new job. There are other parts of the world where one feels stuck, perhaps even shackled against their own will, in their current job. The choices are extremely limited. Deciding to change the game could spell disaster.
But what if you were feeling so stuck that you could no longer breathe, having anxiety attacks any time a work related e-mail entered your inbox or your boss wanted to speak with you? What if you were waking up in the middle of the night because you are having nightmares about your current situation and you have no escape from work related thoughts? What if the situation was beginning to seriously affect your health, physically and mentally?
A friend of mine just quit her job in Hollywood and packed up her life to move to New York. She has no job to go to. She has no idea what she is going to do. Luckily, she is young and she has no-one to support except for herself. Luckily, she has a friend who has offered to house her until she can figure out what she wants to do, giving her time to find a job where she doesn’t feel like she is dying every time she goes to work. She took a major leap. Some may say that in this economy, especially one where people would give their limbs to be gainfully employed, she should have counted her blessings and stayed put. Or alternatively, stayed put until she had found another job to go to. I think that she is brave. I also think that she is lucky to have a friend who is so very supportive of her. Her friend threw her a life-preserver and helped pull her out of a situation that was threatening to consume her with long-term depression. We could all hope to have at least one friend like that in our lives.
More close to home, I just made a very similar decision. I resigned from my position as assistant general manager and programming director of the radio station I helped to create and decided to build a radio station of my very own. I’ve either made the smartest career choice I’ll ever make or I’ve made the worst decision, to date, of my life.
On the one hand, it is the smartest choice I’ve ever made because the job was beginning to affect my health in ways that were becoming very scary. To date, I’ve helped build two radio stations. Each time, I got burned in the process. I promised myself going into this station that at the first sign of trouble, I would leave and do my own thing. It was a difficult promise to make to myself because I feel as if I’d be disappointing people and letting them down should I make the choice to leave. However, I need to think of my family’s needs and my well-being first and foremost. I’m not of any good to anyone if I am in hospital, as I was a couple weeks ago.
On the other hand, this could be disastrous on two fronts. First, I could appear to be flighty and non-committal. The entertainment industry can be extremely fickle. It is very easy to say or do the wrong thing, destroying any reputation you may have in a nanosecond. However, I do think that my reputation is strong enough, at least with those who it matters, where I should be safe. But new potential supporters may see it as being unreliable and not give my new venture a chance. Second, I need the help of those who, to this point, have supported my career by cheering me on, to help out financially. I need to convince at least 300 of those who consume my various media offerings to donate at least $10 each or I will no longer have a radio show. I’ve created a ChipIn page and elaborated more about my intention and goals, both short-term and long-term, on Geeky Pleasures. Now, I have to hope that I have not committed career suicide.
There are some who think I’m being silly by worrying so much about this. I am being told to have faith and that it will all work out. I am being told that I’ve had to reinvented myself more times than any one they know and I always come flying through, with grace and ease. In return, I thank them for their support and tell them to keep being optimistic, while I remain pragmatic and realistic. In the back of my head, I hear, “That is easy for you to say. You’re not the one who very well could have flushed their career down the toilet.” Then I hear the other back of my brain say, “Shush! You can be so mean! They are just trying to be supportive and let you know they have faith in you.” There is so much conflict when one decides to make a life-changing decision. Now, I wake up in a cold sweat while I wait to find out the consequence of this choice.
I have dreams. I have aspirations. I have things I want to accomplish. I also want to help others accomplish similar dreams and aspirations by offering them a place to do their own shows, providing them with all the necessary software and training. I have a wonderful lady, with an autistic child, who wants to do a talk show about Autism Spectrum Disorder, by parents for parents. A show that tells the reality based side of the story, in an attempt to undo some of the damage caused by Jenny McCarthy and the antivaxxers. I have people who want to do music shows. I am also in discussions about another talk show that is both mom related and geek related. I wonder if you can guess what that is? I have my own shows, both music and the Geeky Pleasures Radio Show. I want to build a place where people can hear the shows they want to hear, whilst talking with those who are providing the entertainment and talking with fellow listeners. I want to give back opportunities that I’ve been lucky enough to have. None of this will be possible without support.
So did I make a stupid choice? Or did I make a necessary choice to preserve my well-being, even if it carries a lot of risk? Am I brave for doing so? Or am I a git? Should I have waited? There are so many questions to ask and answer when one faces a game and career changing decision.
So again I ask you, have you ever had to make a similar choice? What did you end up deciding to do? What played a factor in reaching that final decision? Would you do it the same way again or would you have made a different choice?