This summer, I took a calculated risk. I took a temporary leave from my secure government job with 10+ years of seniority to try another position in a completely different field on a temporary basis. Ten years is a long time and I was curious to see what other options were out there (yay to sabbaticals).
I absolutely loved the new challenge and the supportive team. Things were going very well. I was getting more and more responsibility and was even given a major project to work on, so the contract continued. Unfortunately, circumstances changed about 6 months in and I no longer felt it was a good fit anymore, so I quit. It was a pretty big blow and not at all what I was expecting.
This was huge for me. For the first time in my semi-adult life, I didn’t have a plan. One way that I manage my anxiety is having backup plans for everything. It’s a bit exhausting sometimes but makes me feel more secure. The plan had been to stay at the new place and hopefully transition to a permanent position there. I hadn’t really thought much further than that. I had options of course but hadn’t really sat down to think about them. Do I return to my government job early? Not something I was overly enthusiastic about but it was there; or start applying to other possible positions for the summer and see where that takes me?
Before I even had the chance to really explore the possibilities, an opportunity presented itself. I was going on a trip to Boston with a friend for the long weekend and the option to continue on down to Atlanta came up. East coast U.S. road trip? Hells Yeah! Definitely not something I could pass up (#bucketlist). (In the end, we didn’t quite make it to Atlanta but you can read about it here if you’re curious about that adventure.)
This would tide me over until July, but what then? Two months is a long time without regular income and very little structure. I’m always worried that if I have too much free time, I won’t be able to decide what to do with myself and I’ll essentially waste it doing nothing because of the overwhelming amount of options. So I started looking into small contracts in experiential and promotional marketing – my first love – to make some money and make the most of the flexible schedule that comes with it.
I applied to a few opportunities and hoped for the best. Being out of the game for a while and in a field with a high turnover rate is not exactly the easiest route to take. I no longer know the hiring managers and have to essentially start fresh. I was able to book a few fun promos to fund my summer adventures though and spent the rest of my time off at the country with family or exploring Montreal’s various summer events and festivals with friends.
I finally made an appearance at the Jazz Fest and Just for Laughs. I went white water rafting at Riviere Rouge with my best friends and had an absolute blast (the Lachine rapids don’t even compare). Also, I finally made it out to Calypso Water Park near Ottawa, Ontario. That day was a bit overcast but warm which means we practically never had to wait more than 15mins in a line. It was the perfect end to an amazing summer.
I was nervous taking the time off without any actual plan but it definitely paid off. I was able to accomplish more bucket list items in one summer than I have in the last few years, as well as, renew my passion for travel. I was able to reconnect with me and what I want out of life but the biggest thing I came to understand is that not having a plan is not the end of the world. I figured it out. I am now more confident in my ability to deal with the unknown. Might not seem like much to many people but anyone with anxiety knows how difficult this can be.
Now I’m back at school, working in ER again and making arrangements for my next adventure which I cannot wait to share!! Just waiting to finalize the details 🙂
Have you ever taken a risk that paid off in the end?
Let me know in the comments!