I just quit my corporate job. Now what?
I just quit my corporate job…Now What?
7 Ways to find out what you want to do instead!
“What could I do instead of my corporate job?“
The BIGGEST question I hear about escaping the rat race is -
“WHAT COULD I DO INSTEAD?”
Feeling overwhelmed by how much there is to do?? The Free Escape The Rat Race Checklist covers everything you need to do before, during and after you quit your corporate job.
Whether you’ve already quit your corporate job or you’re about to, by this stage in your life you’ve racked up two or more decades of experience in your field and now you’d like to shake things up a bit, create a more balanced life and do something you love for a living outside of the corporate 9-5.
Make a Living Doing Something you Love - but what?
Let me first reassure you that it’s OK if working this out takes time. In fact, you can continue to pivot and reinvent even once you’ve quit your corporate job. I’ve changed my company name at least 5 times and I’ve shifted and pivoted many more times than that. The market changes, your interests evolve and you find niches within niches you didn’t know existed when you were new to your industry.
So, with that reassurance out there, I’ll assume that what you’re really looking for is an idea of the FIRST next venture you’re going to focus on, the one that’s going to transition you out of your current job and in to your new life as a free agent.
Don’t get too hung up on changing the world or finding your calling
A lot of business people talk quitting their corporate job because they found their true calling. But it’s a huge expectation isn’t it? Sure, if you already have a passion for a cause or a particular type of work or if you are strongly draw towards something with intense meaning for you, that’s great. Look for ways to make a living out of that.
But if not, don’t worry. Many people have a perfectly happy and balanced life with a successful venture without having to find their life purpose first. You’re looking for work you can love that also blends with the rest of your life. If you’ve reached midlife without a strong sense of life purpose that’s fine. You don’t need it to make the next step. Don’t use ‘I’m still looking for my life’s work’ to be an excuse to stay stuck.
How To Work Out What To Do Instead
Here are 7 different ways to discover what to do instead once you’ve decided to quit your corporate job -
1. Sell your current skillset on the open market
If you like what you do but you don’t like the environment, the people or the culture of corporate life then you could just do what you do today but sell that expertise on the open market. Being an interim, a freelance, an associate, a consultant or a trainer by leveraging the experience you’ve honed over the last 2 decades might be the perfect next step.
2. Interests and hobbies
Many people reject looking at their interests and hobbies as a way to escape the rat race and create a more balanced life because they can’t see how to make a living from those things. It is possible that you can’t make as much money knitting baby booties and you did as a corporate lawyer. But it might be that you’re happier with a simpler lifestyle if you can knit baby booties, talk about baby booties, take pictures of baby booties for your instagram and run a baby bootie facebook group all day. Anyway, who says you can’t create a baby bootie based global business and become a baby bootie millionaire? (Listen to my interview with Dav Piper who discovered her new business idea had been right under her nose the whole time)
3. Leverage your non-professional talents
Over the years you’ve developed a lot of qualities that you weren’t directly hired for but that make you good at what you do. You might be a great mentor to younger colleagues, a wonderful teacher, be brilliantly organised, a compelling speaker or a judgement free listener. And you LOVE this aspect of what you do. In fact, while Accounting might be your day job, for instance, it’s the moments in the day when you get to work with the interns or address the board that make you want to get up in the morning. Could you turn these skills and interests in to a venture that pays your salary full time?
4. Activities that flowed as a child
Children are great at getting absorbed in activities for hours on end. You were good at that too as a child. What were those activities? Maybe you don’t partake in those activities anymore. Maybe that’s one of the reasons you feel out of sync with yourself and your life. Think back to your childhood. What did you love to do? Are there clues there about what would create a more balanced life and help you quit your corporate job today?
5. Passions and campaigns
I said at the start of this blog that you don’t HAVE to find your true life purpose to quit your corporate job.
But if you have passions, or you feel strongly about a cause, or there’s a community of people you feel aren’t served and you want to address that oversight, this could inform your next venture. I love coaching but I feel particularly strongly that work should be fulfilling and that it should blend much, much better with a balanced life than it normally does. And I feel particularly strongly that, when you reach a certain age, you’ve earned the right to bring balance to your life and do something you love for a living. That’s the passion that sits behind A Brilliant Gamble, my mid-life transition coaching focus and my corporate coaching work. What do you feel strongly about? Could you use your skills and experiences to build a venture where that sense of purpose sits at the heart of your business?
6. Choose the environment first
Still stuck? Think about the environment you’d like to work in before trying to find the “what”. Do you see yourself working with your hands? Do you want your work to give you opportunities to travel the world? Do you want to spend time with animals? Do you picture yourself in plush offices and a power suit? Or being outside in all weathers? Do you want more alone time or do you want to be around people? When you think about the environment you’d like to work in does that help you narrow down options?
7. Think about the business model
I’ve intentionally used the term ‘venture’ rather than just talking about a ‘business’ in this blog. Not everyone sees themselves running a business and that might be why you’re stuck. There are many other ways to make a living outside of the 9-5. For instance, there’s a growing market for Virtual Assistants. As a VA you can either work for yourself as a soletrader or you can join an agency who will help you find contracts. As an Interim you can seek your own projects or join an agency that specialises in placing Interims in your field. You might perfer the idea of freelancing rather than creating your own business. Or being an associate to a larger firm. Perhaps you’d like a portfolio of different contracts. What do you picture when you imagine work and life really working for you?
What to do next
I hope these ideas have helped you think differently about what to do when you quit your corporate job and help you start taking steps towards escaping the rat race.
If you haven’t downloaded the FREE Escape The Rat Race Checklist yet, do that! This checklist covers everything you need to do before, during and after quitting your corporate job, roughly in the right order!
If you’re actually ready to transition out of your corporate job then you need the 12 Ways To Transition Programme. This programme guides you through designing your transition strategy based on your unique circumstances so you quit the right way for you.