Whether you’ve been dreaming of starting that Etsy store or you’re just flat-out sick of where you work, thinking about quitting your job is always scary. What if you and your next boss don’t get along? What if your business venture fails? Sure, it’s risky—but many times, leaving a so-so job turns out to be the catalyst for something greater. Here, three people share their stories:
Since as early I can remember, I wanted to start my own business, but it had never seemed like the right time. I remember sitting in my office [a tech company] on a particularly stressful day, contemplating leaving in search of something new. While thinking through all the pros and cons, a meeting invite came through my email. It was a request that my team meet with our CTO and cofounder, a rare opportunity. I asked him, ‘What advice would you give to someone trying to decide between security and fulfillment?’ His response was—and I’ll never forget it because I carry it around in my bag every day—"Take the leap. Give up your security, and go find your happiness. Chances are it’s not as scary as you think it’ll be." The next day I quit my job, the following week I started Ruckworks, and I’ve never looked back. I definitely ran into some roadblocks when I left that security, but I never regretted my decision because for once, I felt as though I had control over my life. I was ready to face any obstacle. I was empowered.
—Garren Heye, founder, Ruckworks
[Related: Signs You’ve Outgrown Your Job]
In late 2007, I resigned as senior anchor for an international TV news station in Moscow. We were approaching another Moscow winter and decided, "No." Between my shift work and my husband’s work travel, we barely saw each other. We decided to take six months off, and I resigned without another job lined up. My husband, Jon, said he’d go anywhere with good surf; I’d go anywhere that offered Spanish immersion. We decided on Chile, and six months became three years. I freelanced and began writing books. I established an independent publishing house and published four titles. In turn, the books sparked a speaker platform for colleges, corporations, and conferences. I’m doing things I might never have envisioned had we stayed in Moscow. And we see each other a lot more!
—Alicia Young, speaker, author, and journalist
[Related: The Case For Leaving A Job You Don’t Love]
I quit my job during a time when 99% of people would never even consider it. I had a two-month-old baby, and my wife was completing graduate school and looking for a job. I worked for a large and successful digital agency, and had a very secure position. Many people told me I was crazy, and asked why I would risk everything on such a decision. I was certainly nervous, and the fear of complete failure was always there. I was not quitting to take a new job at a new company; I was starting my own business, which had been merely a side gig for roughly two years before I made the decision to quit. I took this plunge toward the tail end of the recession, so the digital industry was starting its upturn, and companies were reinvesting in the web. It was a rocky road at times, but I am so happy I did this, and I’ve never looked back. Being your own boss can be a tremendously rewarding experience.
—Mark Tuchscherer, cofounder and CEO of Geeks Chicago
This article originally appeared on Levo and is reprinted with permission.