Anon from Charleston writes: I have two toddlers and my dream is to own my own business. The problem now is that I absolutely hate my job. What should I do?
Thanks for writing in. Congratulations on knowing your current dream! That can be the most difficult part of the battle. Let's look at this twofold and see how we can help. If you're ready to follow that big dream, skip on to part two.
Part 1: You are not alone in hating your job and having responsibilities that feel like they keep you stuck in the muck. Bills, kids, societal pressures (this list feels never ending some days) have kept many of us in situations that are not personally ideal. It can help to know that you have many women feeling your pain and becoming an inspiration to others can be a huge motivation to changing the things in your life that make you unhappy. We're all doing our best and in this thing together.
Some questions to ask yourself before making any big decisions regarding your employment:
- Is there/could there be a passion project in your life to make your current situation seem more worthwhile? I know many people who have unfulfilling jobs but are able to look at them as a funding for the things they really love. I have musician and other artist friends who aren't necessarily looking to "make a living" with their art but find that the joy it gives them makes the daily grind totally worth it.
- Can you live without this job? This can be a tough one. We have to have a roof over our head, provide food for our children, and keep ourselves sane all at the same time but we tend to spend on more than we need. Taking a hard look at finances, keeping a list of extraneous expenses to weed out what isn't necessary, and making sacrifices can lead you to realize what you really need to be fulfilled and what was just acting as a distraction. I don't suggest giving up purchases that do contribute to your happiness and self care, those things are important, but ask yourself how much the material purchases that have become a routine or filler in your life really add to your joy. Give some things up and you'll know the difference in what honestly contributes to your life and what doesn't.
- If you decide that you can afford a pay cut, will you be hireable in another position? Update that resume and start applying. Use friends, personal connections, and online resources to look over your resume, practice interviews, and ask you the tough questions. Put yourself out there, especially when it seems uncomfortable. Apply for anything you can that looks interesting to you, listen to feedback from interviewers, and above all, keep a thick skin. Your entire self worth does not revolve around your employment and the local job market will probably lead to a lot more rejection than anyone wants to deal with. That's fine because you'll be doing the hard work and damn if that's not a good feeling.
Part 2: So you have your dream, how do you reach fruition? If you skipped straight to part two, go back! This isn't going to be easy. A lot of the previous advice will apply, you'll have to make financial sacrifices that will hopefully pay off in the long run, you'll have to move way out of your comfort zone and you'll have to hustle your ass off. Still ready? Good!
I've spent the better part of the last year planning a business and I'm glad I invested that time and energy. At times it was very frustrating to feel like I was spinning my wheels and making no movements. I wanted something concrete to see and touch. But as we're approaching opening, I personally feel much more comfortable now than I would've without the sacrifices and time spent. That said, I DID NOT do it alone. If you lean towards martyrdom, give that shit up immediately. There are local resources to help with small business development in our area. West Virginia Small Business Development Council offers support to people with ideas, start ups, or existing small business owners. They offer business fundamental workshops and personal coaching services that help you along every step of the way. Unlimited Futures in Huntington offers classes for low income clients, business coaching, and accounting services. They've currently helped over 300 small businesses get started and house 8 tenants at the business incubator inside their facility. SCORE, a nonprofit based out of Herndon, VA has branches in Huntington, Charleston, and Fairmont. They also offer workshops, webinars, and personal mentors to help you in your journey to small business success.
You've recognized at least part of what is taking away from your joy, you have your dream, now you have some ideas to aid in your current situation and resources to help you should you continue to follow that dream. You've got this Boss Babe! You don't have to do it alone and we're always here to help you along the way.
Thanks for typing in and keep breathing,
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