It scares but also excites me thinking about moving forward with the biggest career decision I made just before Christmas. I am leaving the academe and the profession, both which have served as my comfort zones for the past eight or ten years.
It was such a really tough, and maybe for others an unwise decision. But as I wrote in my three-sentence reply to the department call for the contract renewal intents in December, I have been experiencing chronic stress and job burnout. I even said in the closing that I needed a break (or maybe a career shift already, something I hesitated to disclose).
I need a break from the self-assessed overwork caused by special assignments that have come with unbearable mental and physical demands on top of my full-load teaching, the painful transition, and other personal reasons that lie deep in the verbosity of all possible explanations and alibis.
In the end, I take the decision as the irrevocable culmination of all the daily struggles and the passion once burning and then slowly losing its flames.
I finally had the courage.
Big signs for a career change according to CareerFoundry.com may include the following, and so I found myself symptomatic of:
- Your body is telling you, ‘Enough is enough!’
- Your job is impacting your self-esteem.
- You dream of a different career.
- You’re lacking energy, and you’re eternally bored.
- You’ve become disconnected from your passions.
It may be hard to understand, but these have recently become truer and heavier than before that I can no longer endure. Security and stability do not always translate to happiness. Idealistic and silly, I am in a desperate search for genuine happiness. And this is but the part that undeniably excites me.
On the other hand, what scares me is the harsh reality that awaits me on the second week of February and weeks thereafter. I’ll wake up another day and many days but not anymore in a rush to catch a class at seven or eight-thirty. Then, what?
Of course, I can’t live another day just with that search for happiness. I need to work. I need to earn money. But I plan to do it an entirely different way from what I’ve had for the past ten years, a way that will bring me self-fulfillment and happiness. So, I’ll give it a try for the next quarter or half a year until I exhaust all my resources and determination.
Humble and self-assured though, I can do writing jobs. I can do business. With these, somehow I can find ways to earn. I trust myself.
Career Shift and 4 Biggest Plans (for Now)
 Jumpstart a Freelance Career. Through years of blogging, I have developed a decent portfolio that demonstrates my writing skills and knowledge about online publishing, i.e., WordPress management, search engine optimization (SEO), and even basic backend coding.
I have also gained clients from across the globe who occasionally send me sponsored articles for publication, link insertion requests, and media conferences for promotional writing. Added to the Google AdSense ads placement revenues, these contribute to the monthly side hustle income of around PHP15,000.
It’s a decent extra income, but to give up the regular day job, this won’t suffice for all my living expenses, much more that I have other payables and liabilities. If remembered, I detailed out in another article the amortization of a hundred-square-meter lot being acquired. I have monthly dental appointments. I have this. I have that.
Shifting to full freelancing therefore brings me doubts about making it through the months as I do not expect the odds to be always in my favor. I haven’t been lucky in life. I feel it that way.
But, I can do it. I trust myself. So, here are the targets to jumpstart my freelancing career:
- Write and publish at least two quality articles per week on this blog.
- Maximize Google AdSense ads placement revenues.
- Improve website user experience and domain authority score.
- Accept all media conference invitations and work with both big and small brands.
- Get selective in accepting sponsored articles and link insertion requests for quality control.
- Work out a freelancing portfolio and do lots of writing jobs through popular platforms like Upwork and Fiverr.
- Become a sales agent; i.e., of insurance or real estate.
 Grow and Expand My Online Business. I have unintentionally put the operations of my Lazada shop on a coma state and sustained by one or two orders per week since the F2F transition of classes. But I still see a big potential in it.
I’ve been selling aquarium supplies. I earned a big profit during the peak of the pandemic, especially when I had all the time for it because of the remote work setup. I tell you I enjoyed it more than attending my online classes then.
With the F2F transition however, I struggled with the preparation and shipping arrangement of orders. Sales dropped, and I even had to endure the penalties for seller-initiated cancellations. Work usually ends at five when most drop-off stations are already closed.
Given the little luxury of time, I’ll be able to refocus on my business and:
- Inject additional capital in the business from my personal savings and credit cards.
- Restock supplies for sold-out products and even diversify listings.
- Optimize platform tools for aggressive business and product promotions.
- Put up a physical store at the end of the year and process business permits and other legal requirements.
 Save, Save, and Save. Apart from the family responsibilities and charity outreach fulfillment, the recent holiday break also gave me a financial hangover. Although my savings remain untouched, I have big balances left on my four credit card accounts.
I already paid at least above the minimum payments required before New Year, but I feel the urge to pay them off within the next two to three statement months.
I also promised myself at the start of the year, a New Year’s resolution as one would normally say, not to spare a penny on unnecessary spending and purchases, even the smallest ones.
Being honest though, I can only promise to cut down on my vices as quitting is impossible for now, but I’ll give it a big try.
To save more amidst the reduced income, I’ll:
- Reset the budget.
- Cut down on all personal spending and live within means.
- Create a serious debt payoff plan.
- Stash away twenty percent of all freelancing income for savings.
- Make frugal spending and saving on top of almost everything.
 Build Real Wealth. It’s too ambitious for now to talk about building wealth while trying to start over again from almost a scratch, but still I claim it. Positivity breeds success.
I have the thought already of divesting in stocks, but the sixty-percent paper loss prevents me from doing so. The bloody portfolio hasn’t turned green since the pre-pandemic period, and pulling the plug simply means realizing that big loss.
On the brighter side however, I have started already with real estate property investment. It may be small for now, but I will always take it as a good start. It’s for my retirement as well.
Before sounding even more ambitious and getting misconstrued, here are some investment goals I hope to materialize, or at least get started, within the year:
- Sell my second St. Peter Life Plan.
- Don’t miss paying the monthly amortizations of the purchased lot and get another one if ever.
- Make wise decisions about my bloody stock portfolio.
- Try and avail additional safe and for-long-term investments.
It’s been a long writing for me, and so reading for you. I hope I can get support from my readers out there. So, drop a comment below.
Again, these are the biggest plans just for now. It’s all gonna be a trial and error, but as it is, life is an adventure. The truth is — things just didn’t work for the past years, and I don’t think will further work — so I have to gamble. I have to take the risks.