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Safeguarding Your Career Switch

I cut ties with naysayers

My decision really seemed to rub a couple of people the wrong way - they were almost offended that I had the audacity to leave my job to move to California. There was scoffing; there was condescension. One person (whom I didn't even know very well) called me stupid. I drew the line. I can take criticism about my choices, but when I saw the unfounded resentment my decision brought out in some people, they had to go. It was nothing personal, but I was already trying to accomplish something that has a low rate of success. I couldn't afford to incessantly hear about how my failure was inevitable.

I was open-minded

Before and after I moved, I took on jobs that paid considerably, almost amusingly, less than other jobs. I worked for next to nothing, and I worked for free. Sometimes I still take on those gigs. Here's why:

What you're worth vs. what the work is worth

If one gig is paying you $100 per article, illustration - whatever your freelancing fancy - that's great. But if no one else is willing to pay you that rate, and there's still 30 hours left in the week, then that's not what you're “worth.” And anyway , I find it more financially advantageous to not think in terms of what I'm worth, but what the work is worth. Is this hour-long project worth the $20 it pays, especially when I'm getting paid $100 for a similar project elsewhere? Eighty bucks is a big difference. But if I'm not doing much else during that hour aside from watching Frasier reruns, then yeah, it's worth it, regardless of what I think I'm “worth.”

Experience is worthwhile, too

I've written about topics I'm not 100% crazy about. But I've taken them on with fervor, happy just to have a writing gig. Those jobs have often, if not always, led to bigger jobs. And as time goes on, I've noticed that my days are more and more filled with the type of writing that I want to be doing.

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