3 Life Lessons I Learned When I Quit My Job

It was exactly nine months ago today when I left my full-time corporate work of ten years.

It wasn’t an easy decision because I know many people would die to have it and jobs like what I had don’t come easy here in the Philippines.

To be clear, I loved my job. I still love it even today. It was great and they gave me a decent pay. I was also able to use my strengths (writing and organizing) and I’ve made many friends and met the most wonderful people from all over the country while doing it.

But there were different factors involved why I had to let it go. I don’t want to put myself or anyone down, so I won’t mention those here.

One of my major reasons for quitting my job, though, is to pursue my passion of becoming a full-time writer.

I’ve always felt that it is my true calling, my life purpose, and I don’t want to live the rest of my life dreaming what would have happened and being sorry that I didn’t try.

What I would like to share are the lessons I’ve learned after this short time of living life away from the 8 to 5.

If you are now in the same position as I was, I hope that you can take a little something from these following insights:

1. Regrets are certain

For the longest time, I refrained from quitting my job even if it was no longer physically and emotionally healthy for me. Why? Because I was afraid of having regrets.

I was afraid that I would no longer find sufficient income for my family, or that I wouldn’t be able to do anything worthwhile with my life.

However, I was also afraid that I would regret staying where I was and regret not following my passion and calling.

These two extremes are constantly battling in my head, so for years I had settled with the status quo.

Suddenly it hit me: I can’t live life avoiding regrets. If I want to make something out of my precious time here on earth, I have to accept that regrets are unavoidable.

That simple realization gave me the courage to quit and follow my dreams.

After nine months, I proved to myself that regrets come, but that I should face it and deal with it squarely.

Yes, I did have regrets. I didn’t regret leaving the company, but I do regret leaving my friends.

I missed the daily coffee breaks, the basketball games, and working together with a team on certain projects. But I guess we all have to accept my decision and move on.

2. There will always be haters

Quitting a sought-after job is unheard of, especially here in the Philippines where the unemployment level is so high.

Many people, including friends and family, thought I was crazy and lazy but that’s okay. I knew myself and I knew what I had to do, so I wasn’t so much affected.

I understand that these haters are those people who secretly wished to be like you, but are too fearful to try it out for themselves so they just speak discouraging words. For them it is impossible, so they try to convince you with what they themselves can’t do.

I simply ignored these voices and continued on. Besides, they do not know the hard work and the countless hours I’m spending as a full-time writer.

To be fair, some were just worried about me and my family, on where we would get our income since I have two growing children to take care of. I appreciate and am always grateful for their concern.

I don’t consider them haters because they are in fact the ones offering practical help and not just mindless blabber.

3. Self-employment is a lot harder than a normal job

I am the boss, but I still need discipline. Actually, when you are your own boss time management gets a lot harder.

Now I am free to use Facebook and Twitter as much as I want, slack as much as I want, but if I do that I will not finish anything.

To help me complete my things-to-do for the day, I set some time in the evening for managing my emails and social media accounts. Those were the last things I do before I retire each day.

During the work day, I use my own tried and tested system of doing the hardest things first as I found out that they are usually the most important.

Yes, the work is harder and the income is a lot less stable, but the feeling of fulfillment is also a lot better. Actually, it feels like I’m not working at all, doing what I love to do every day.

Continuous process

I’m not saying that my life is already perfect and that I got it all figured out. Like everyone else, for me it is still a continuous learning process.

Maybe someday I will have to find a corporate job once again. Or maybe, I won’t have to. Only time will tell and I’m staying open to the direction God will instruct me to do.

For now, here I am, relishing the opportunity to create writings that would hopefully bless and inspire those who will read them. I savor the chance to contribute positively to the lives of all the people I could reach.

That is perhaps the best thing about following your passions. And I thank God every day for that.

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