How to Quit your Day Job


I quit my ‘real’ job. I’m now a full time Artist (yeaah that’s right! capital A!). Oh it feels GOOD to say that. YES.

Leaving my secure job of eight years for a future that doesn’t have any guarantees was a big deal. But I’m quietly confident in my decision. That alternative future kept throwing me so many love notes I couldn’t help but respond.

I’ve been building the foundation for a solid career in libraries for quite a while. Coz you know, I love being in a library. The work is relaxed and reliable, I can hide in the bookshelves when I have a panic attack. And of course, BOOKS. It’s the best ‘real job’ I ever had. But did it make my heart sing? Did it make me come alive? Did I feel like I was offering the things to the world I was born for? Not even a little bit.

Four Seasons. (Oils) 2013 Currently on exhibit.

What makes me come alive is making art, using art to develop understanding and mindfulness. Creating alongside others. Stimulating the creative spark in others. Helping them make meaning.

I know this is the right decision because of how it feels in my bones. When I make art, anxiety doesn’t exist. I can work through depression instead of sink into the swamp of it. When I’m able to navigate my emotions, it puts me at the helm, instead of being directed by how I’m feeling. When I share how I do that with others, through my art or my words, I feel satisfied in my soul. Working in a library had its moments, but it never gave me soul satisfaction.

So, I’m off on an adventure. I start my expressive art therapy course at MIECAT next year. Working towards the Big Oak dream. Living my painting dream, right now. Cutting all kinds of household budgets that were already at their baseline. Happy to do it. Happy to lap up the consequences of my very own choice I made about the life I want to live. I can avoid one big regret on my deathbed.

A lot of people have asked me how I was able to do it. Some shaking their heads at my anarchy, some exploding with joy for me. Some with a glint of hope in their eye that one day they might be able to do it too, when the time is right (and that is important).

The big issue for most is financial security. I was in a good position: if I stayed, I would definitely be losing money until the kids were of school age. Childcare is expensive for two kids, more expensive than a day’s wage. By leaving, I at least have some room for the possibility of income. Possibility certainly being better than debt, I had an excellent argument in favour of following a dream.

It still felt scary, and that told me it was the right thing. Things that feel dangerous, leave those alone, but scary? Almost always a good idea. It means you’re slowly pushing out those self-defeating limits, and opening new realms of what is possible.

I have a very long, very flexible plan, accomodating of opportunities that come up along the way. I’m not in a rush. If we break even in these early days, I’m happy.

There’s a simple question to ask yourself if you want to follow a dream that isn’t your day job.

Are there more reasons to leave than to stay?

If the answer is no, but your heart yearns for something else, just keep working on the positive reasons to leave until you have enough to say: adiós para siempre, old life. Leave the negatives alone; they will defeat you.

Are you thinking about, or planning a big change? Here are some things to get that action plan going:

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  1. When you stick that metaphorical arse out there, the universe always comes to meet you half way! Not quite so eloquently said as your fabulous blog, but the sentiment is the same and I am a huge believer in the power of this kind of audacity, as you know :-) Good on you Romy! I’m sorry I haven’t been over to Bendigo to the exhibition, things have been crazy and I have been down with a lurgy :-(

    by Susan Nethercote
    • You’ve paved the path with your own leaps of faith my lass. Hope you get better soon…so hard to be sick with kids…never mind about the exhibition, but do pencil in my solo show at Easter! :D

      by romy zunde
  2. Congratulations :) Quitting a job is always so liberating! And such exciting plans—so glad you’re making the space to bring them to life :) Well done!

    by g