- Changing careers can cause personal turmoil for many reasons.
- Here, author Ni’Kesia Pannell details 10 ways switching from public relations to freelance writing affected her life.
Before I become a full-time freelance writer, I spent a short time in PR. And while there are plenty of people who flourish in that area of work, I found myself not being happy and wanting something different. When I chose to quit that job to follow my dreams of becoming a writer, I thought things would fall right in line. That, however, was a big mistake.
Here are are 10 ways that my life got more difficult when I chose to transition to a new career.
I was really on my own
When I decided to become a full-time freelancer, I knew that would mean running my own business. And while being an entrepreneur or “working for yourself” is socially celebrated, people tend to exclude how lonely and isolating it can be. It’s a challenge to try to figure things out on your own and not let a mundane life become your norm.
It forced me to step up and make decisions about my life
Before I was a full-time freelancer, I worked a few odd jobs after relocating from Orlando to Atlanta. In those years of working part-time freelance and part-time whatever-I-could jobs, I started to realise that this was not how I wanted my life to be.
I didn’t want to be working to get by or living paycheck to paycheck. I wanted to feel as if I was living for a purpose, and I wanted to have a job that reflected that, too. Although there are plenty of people who are happy enough with getting a paycheck, changing jobs made me realise that I had some serious, life-changing decisions to make, and I couldn’t keep putting them on hold.
I went completely broke
Many freelancers that I know portray a life of ease from the outside. They create this persona that makes others feel like, “Well if they’re doing it and getting those awesome placements, I can do it, too. It can’t be that hard.” But that’s far from the truth.
Going from having constant stability to being in a “sometimes you get paid on time, sometimes you don’t” environment will teach you the value of budgeting, saying “no,” and choosing your needs over your wants. Going broke wasn’t really a choice that I made, but it was part of following my path.
I dealt with depression due to comparison
When I transitioned to my job as a freelance writer (and even when I transitioned to my job as a publicist prior to that), I struggled with feeling like I was less successful than my peers.
I felt like they had come out of college and knew exactly what they wanted to do, found jobs, and were excelling at them. I, however, felt that I was still struggling to figure out who I was.
Although there are still times where I find myself falling into the comparison trap, I’ve realised now that not everyone works on the same schedule and not everyone has it as together as I thought. It may take time to figure out what works specifically for you, but that’s not always a bad thing.
I missed out on moments with friends
In any new job, you’ll probably need to put more time and effort in to make sure that you’re doing your best. So naturally, you’re going to miss out on moments with family and friends. When I decided to pursue freelance full time, I knew that this would be something that I would have to deal with, but I didn’t realise to what extent.
Whether it was because I took a last-minute assignment or because I didn’t make as much that month to spend any extra, I ended up missing out on birthdays, graduation celebrations, or just simple get-togethers that everyone needs to stay sane.
I was forced to learn how to teach myself
Being a freelancer means that there is no one standing over me telling me how or why I should be doing something. Though I have editors that will send over anything that they need fixed, the goal is to submit everything as if it’s ready to go live.
Adjusting to this type of environment helped me to work independently and responsibly, and take more time to perfect my craft.
You learn to deal with the consequences of every move you make
When we’re young, we rarely have to fully deal with our consequences. There’s usually someone there telling you what you did wrong, how it could have been better, or letting you off with just a warning.
When I switched jobs, however, there was none of that. Either you do the work well to get paid or you don’t. And in messing up, you run the risk of ruining a potentially good personal and business relationship. Transitioning into a freelance role taught me that for every action in your life, the consequences are truly your own. You can’t fall back on the support of a big, corporate business, your parents, your teacher, or even a friend. Your problems are yours alone.
It was a readjustment I really wasn’t ready for
Whether you’re taking on a 9-to-5 or an entrepreneurial role, whenever you’re transitioning into a new job, there’s always some sort of readjustment that you have to go through. That could be because of a new workload or simply because of a new schedule. For me, though, the readjustment came in many ways.
To start, writing for many different outlets meant that there were different writing standards for each that I had to abide by. Next, I had to readjust my focus and my priorities. Changing jobs meant that I needed to set a schedule for myself and stick to it if I wanted to be my best.
I also had to put myself out there more. No one likes to hear “no,” so most people choose to stay away from situations that would make them hear it. Now, I had to start thinking differently about the word “no.” Freelancing made me see that sometimes a “no” is just really a “not right now.”
I questioned whether or not my decision was the right choice for a long time
For some reason, when things aren’t going exactly how I want them to, I automatically start to question whether or not the decision I made was the right one.
For me, this feeling was at its heaviest after my job change. Since things weren’t going how I envisioned them, I began questioning if I should give up. And even now, as an experienced freelancer, I sometimes still question if I’ve made the right decision.
I seriously struggled with my faith
With all the above struggles and even more that aren’t mentioned, the aftermath caused me to struggle with my faith in God. Prior to transitioning jobs, I was always a person that believed that I would be just fine and that things would work out for the best no matter what.
It wasn’t until I changed jobs that I seriously began to struggle with having faith that things would work out for me. Since I was doubting myself, I began to doubt God and, in turn, lost faith in my calling and purpose. I had to remember, though, that nothing will come easy if it’s meant to last, and that has been my saving grace.
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