When should you quit your job, to be self-employed and live your dream(s)?

Do you want the short answer? I can give it to you, but ahaa! you are not reading this for the short answer, are you? You already know what the short, one-worded answer is. So let me give you the long answer:

Long answer = True story

Quit your job

Consider the following true story: ONCE UPON A TIME, I visited an old college buddy that I hadn’t seen in months. Huddled around his latest guitar and amp set, after reminiscing about the college days, downing like a billion cups of tea, I asked him about how his job was going.

He has a Master degree in Multimedia & Animation from the reputed National College of Arts here in Lahore, and he currently works at this big TV channel, earning an OK salary.

He told me, “it is going alright. Very hectic, but yeah, it’s alright.”

Then the eerie silence.

I noticed the 5D lying next to his PC, and I mentioned how expensive these items are now, especially with the dollar rate (to the Pakistani rupee) going to high heavens and all.

That is when he started talking all about his camera, shutter speed this and focal length this, his weekly photography missions (at the break of dawn) to this mosque here and that fort there, his photography buddies, how he once drove all the way back from work to pick up his camera because the “sky demanded to be photographed”. He wouldn’t stop.

He told me about how he had teamed up with another photographer friend who has a studio, and they’ve been doing wedding photography on the side, and how he charges like 30,000 rupees for it (around US $ 450), and how his clients appreciate his ‘spontaneous approach’ towards wedding photography.

He should quit his job immediately.

Like most enterprises, it won’t be easy. Apart from keeping a business afloat, he would have to fend off social pressure; not many people appreciate ‘wedding photographer’ as a job description (people are bigots, I know). He would have to work at it to be at a level where he doesn’t have to look for work, but he wouldn’t mind; he is already “making time out of his busy schedule ” to take some seriously awesome pictures.

So what is stopping him?

Fear.

This is not a clinical diagnosis obviously. But ‘change’ in itself in scary. The long, long line of “what ifs” just paralyzes  you, and you end up living a life you didn’t want.

But what about the “circumstances”, man?

What about them? I will not even try to go there, because circumstances are always difficult enough. No, I won’t even get into that argument. I have a better different way of looking at this; what have you got to lose?

Whatever your answer, please know that your threshold of risk is much, much higher than you think it is (as Julien Smith not-so-gently points out in his article here).

Even IF you fail utterly and completely, you just need to give it some time, and people would have forgotten and moved on (yes, I am sorry to report, we all are insignificant in that sense – go watch Fight Club again).

Just sit down and imagine the worst case scenario – and this totally goes against the ‘visualize your success’ school of thought; Are you going to die? Get a really nasty disease? Lose all – yes, all – of your and your parent’s money? Will you have to ‘move out’ in to the streets? Really, will you? If the answer to any of the above questions is a resounding “yes” then you are already crazier than I am and you shouldn’t be reading this – go away.

But in MOST cases *ahem* the worst that will happen is that you will be another story for your kinfolks to talk about for a day or three, and that’s that. That’s the risk; a freakin’ story that will die out before you can even start explaining. Think about the negative possibilities only to REALIZE that most of your ‘what ifs’ are ill-disguised manifestations of your fears.

I sincerely hope that my friend takes the leap. There is no such thing as permenance in this world after all.

And I sincerely hope you find a way to prioritize your life around your duties and interests, instead of your fears and greed.

Happy living!

God bless and good luck!

P.S. If you have a similar story to share, let’s hear it (in the comments section). And are you considering ‘pursuing your dream(s)’? Let’s hear that first!

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image courtesy DarkEmerald

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