Five Reasons to Keep Your Day Job (for now)
I’m intentionally writing this post while I’m still in this season, while I’m in the thick of things so that I can fully empathize but also so that I can remind myself why I still drag myself to the office every day. If you’re in the same boat, this is for you: “Five Reasons to Keep Your Day Job”. See also, “the things I tell myself when I’m ready to slam the office door and never go back.”
1) You have the freedom to grow your business (and make mistakes) without worrying about the rent (yet).
Covid-19 has brought this into even clearer focus for me! While it was frustrating to see my business decrease during that time, I was thankful for the day job that kept me employed through the entire lockdown. That said, knowing that the only thing between you and being your own boss is the financial aspect is HARD. I have typed up a two weeks notice letter twice in the last 12 months. I’ve printed that letter out and stared at it. Long and hard. And the ONLY thing that kept me from putting it in my boss’s hands was the fact that we’d be homeless if I did.
2) The personal habits you develop at your day job translate to being self-employed: time management, focus, boredom management, perseverance, etc.
Before I started my current position as a flooring estimator, I really didn’t think I could sit at a desk all day staring at a computer. I’ve done precisely that for 4 dang years. Do I love it? Not even a little. But I’ve learned some really valuable things about boredom management. For instance, getting up and stretching or taking a brief walk every hour or so. Listening to audio books, music, or podcasts while I work. Using headphones even if no one is in the room. LOTS of snacks. Actually leaving the building for lunch, especially if the weather is nice. Etc. As entrepreneurs, we always have to be innovating and that includes our working habits!
3) The skills you are honing at your day job – (prioritization, communication, conflict resolution, problem solving, how to find the best pizza places) will serve you well always.
If you don’t believe me, make a list. Make a list of every single thing you have learned at your day job. Do your best to leave the sarcasm out. 😉 I know some of you are in really tough work situations! Personally, I’ve developed a strong familiarity with Microsoft products. While that sounds dumb, I’m a Mac user outside of work and knowing the Microsoft interface well can help me serve my virtual assisting clients better. I’ve also learned that there are always ways to do my job faster and better. For instance, after two years of learning a particular specialized software I was sent to a training basics class and learned a faster workflow that drastically improved my speed with that software! If you can’t think of specifics, think about those broader concepts – for instance – my job has taught me a lot about my personal strengths and weaknesses.
4) Good things take time, like a well-marinated steak. I’m currently reading a really fantastic book called Atomic Habits by James Clear and in the first few chapters he emphasizes that “overnight successes” aren’t a thing. People who suddenly “explode onto the scene” have actually been doing the hard work in a dark little corner for years!
5) God has a plan and right now, this is where you are supposed to be. Sometimes that’s a tough pill to swallow and it’s easy to let bitterness creep in. I memorized Proverbs 3:5-6 as a six year old and it’s still the verse I repeat to myself:
5 i“Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and jdo not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways kacknowledge him,
and he lwill make straight your paths.”
In addition to a Bible verse, I also used to have a sticky note taped to my computer – “5 reasons I’m thankful for my day job”. (Believe it or not, there are actually at least 5 things!)
Seek God’s will for the future and let Him take care of the rest! This season of life may feel like you’re being pulled in different directions but remember that it is just that – a season! New seasons will come! Every season will have its challenges and you’ll have to meet them in new and innovative ways.
Still not convinced? Go read Quitter by Jon Acuff. (Now please excuse me while I go re-read said book.)