This week, I was invited to give a talk at Webcamp KK, a gathering of technology enthusiasts and creative minds in Kota Kinabalu. The organizers were interested in my background and current career path. KK is a small place, but there are surprisingly many creative people around here. Singer-song writers, illustrators, visual artists, guitar players, photographers, writers, bloggers, event-organizers… it is quite a vibrant city.
I prepared a talk called “Own Your Life: How to be in charge of your life choices“. I shared how to recognize if you are living an unhappy life you aren’t passionate about, and how to make a smart move from there. If you are a RunawayJuno.com reader, you already know the story already how I got here. I started my adulthood as a mechanical engineer, but I changed my path to be more dedicated to my creative and emotional side. I travel, take photos, write, and do so many other things for living. My life is a moving form, and I’m grateful for it.
If you are thinking of making big changes in your life, please remember these things you shouldn’t do.
Don’t just drop it
I never advise people to just drop everything and leave. There are inspirational quotes out there saying such things, but that is one of the worst things you can do in this important time. This can be the biggest decision you’ve ever made in your life. We’ve already entered the adulthood, and the reason you are making the change is to be more responsible for your life. Don’t be irresponsible.
Instead, you have to be prepared. Mentally and monetarily, you have to be prepared. Make a plan, talk to people who went through the same experience, save money, be specific. If you already have a job, use the opportunity to research, save some money, and have some time to think plans through. You don’t have to stop working from the first moment you have a doubt.
Don’t blame others
I had an extremely difficult time with my family during my career change. We almost broke up. We might have if we were not related. They said some hurtful things, and I probably did the same. I blamed them for not understanding and not wishing me happiness, but I was wrong.
Try to be in their shoes. Try to be more understanding. My parents are 34 years older than me, and they grew up in a post-war generation. Having a steady income was the biggest achievement they could do in their lifetime. From their perspective, I was giving up a perfectly good position and being selfish and childish. We have different priorities and perspectives. Of course we do. Try to think how it must be hard for them to understand, and give them some time to process. Don’t be a victim, and don’t give up the relationship because they don’t understand.
Don’t be afraid of the change, or change back
Once you start the process of changing your lifestyle or career, there will be more challenges, changes, and choices. Don’t be afraid to make more changes. Why stop now?
At the end of the day, if you decide to go back to your previous job or another corporate job, do it. If the stability, title, regular routine, or having a corporate job is your priority, then do it. Don’t think about what others might think of you. It is your life. Even if you go back to the same spot where you started, at least now you know how exactly you got here. There’s no more ‘I don’t know how I got here, it just happened’ sort of talk. You are the one who made the choices, and you know the exact reason why you chose to be in this position. That’s a big difference.
Don’t let anyone tell you that you are giving up your life. You are simply changing the path, not giving up.