Ask the guy who just did the stupidest, or maybe smartest, thing he's ever done.

I’m 28. I have a good job with great benefits at a successful life insurance company. I’ve worked here for 4 years and have good vacation time and seniority built up. I’m the supervisor of the graphics department and do web design here.

I just quit my job. I don’t have another job lined up. This is an awful economy. I own a house and car that I don’t want to lose. There’s a million reasons I shouldn’t have done this, but I’m following my dreams!

Any questions for, perhaps, the biggest idiot in the world? I imagine I’ll be fielding some from the unemployed Dopers who would kill for what I just willingly walked away from…

What’s your dream, other than the desire to be unemployed?

Why did you quit? And seconded: what’s your dream?

Actually, unemployment is my dream!

Actually, my dream is just to be my own boss. I want to sleep in when I want, work from home, work in the middle of the night when I feel like it, be able to take a walk when it’s nice out instead of locking myself in a cubicle. I don’t think any full-time jobs fulfill these dreams, so I’m going off on my own.

I already do freelance web development as side income, so I’m going to ramp up that business to pay the bills and focus on my illustration in my free time (if I have any). My ULTIMATE dream is to draw monsters and robots all day, but I realize that’s unrealistic. Web design/development is my second place option, and fairly realistic (I hope).

I guess to me, these are sort of the same questions.

Working here isn’t what I want to do for the rest of my life, so I quit so I can have time to focus on what I DO want to do.

I’m also just bored here. I feel like I did my job as well as I could, but I’m done doing it.

Also, they won’t let me grow facial hair here. Which sucks.

Is this something you had been planning and preparing for over the last several months or was this something you did on a whim? If you planned ahead, what did you do to prepare for life without the security of a 9-5 job?

Ah, well in that case, welcome to the freelance fold!

It’s true that we self-employed folks only have to work half days – AND we get to pick which 12 hours to work each day! :stuck_out_tongue:

Just remember to pull out enough for your quarterly chunks to Uncle Sam, including the 7.5% that your employer used to pay to SS, and find yourself a good health insurance plan, retirement plan, and ideally disability insurance in case you get hit by a bus but are unfortunate enough to survive.

Freelancing isn’t cheap, but it’s also never boring.

It’s been a months-long process. My first order of business was talking to my current employer to see if I could make some adjustments to my schedule/work load here to improve my situation a bit. When that was a no-go, I started freelancing on the side and picked up a couple really good clients, so I have at least a little bit of buffer during my first months off.

I also used the extra freelancing money to eliminate all of my credit card debt and pile away enough money for 3 months of living. I could probably stretch my savings into 6 months if necessary, but hopefully I won’t need to.

Heh. Good luck with all of that. :rolleyes: :stuck_out_tongue: (Why yes, I am self-employed. Why do you ask?)

Seriously, though, I wish you lots of luck. But being self-employed is absolutely the hardest thing that I’ve ever done. Ever. Perhaps, for me it wouldn’t be so bad if my foray into self-employement hadn’t come at the same time as major issues in my family (divorce, joblessness, bankruptcy, foreclosure). I’m not trying to be a downer here at all. I guess I’m just trying to give a taste of reality from the other side.

Heh. Yeah, that is sort of related to one of my big motivators. I wasn’t allowed to dye my hair ‘unnatural’ colors. Now I’ve got streaks of pink and purple and there’s some green and blue at home that I just haven’t had time to add.

You should start an “Ask the Freelancer” thread! I’ve got a ton of them for you.

I should also mention that I used to freelance before I landed my current position. I was totally unsuccessful at it. Last time, I was 21 and sort of pushed out of my job and fell back on freelancing as a final option. I was unprepared and naive. I’m confident I’ll do better this time, but still certainly have questions for seasoned veterans with more experience!

Oh yeah, I don’t want to imply that this will be easy! I keep telling people I know it’ll be twice the work and half the money, but you still won’t be able to take away my beard!

What do you do? How long have you done it? Were you scared when you quit?

See, there definitely needs to be an “Ask the Freelancer/self employed” thread.

Excellent, and good luck!

PS: I probably won’t be spending stray evenings in Peoria this summer, so you’ll have to buy your own beer.

Thanks, I definitely need all the luck I can get.

Too bad you won’t be stopping by P-town. This time around we could have hit Big Al’s!

Well, good luck! I wish I had a skill that I could do free-lance; unfortunately I’m pretty much skill-less.

Best of luck to you! I freelanced for a few years a while back (still do a teeny bit on the side) and absolutely loved it. I miss it very much. I stopped and went back to steady, corporate employment when I got pregnant to make sure we’d have enough money to support our son as he grew. While I’m happy with my decision to go back to the corporate life, freelancing was the absolute funnest, most satisfying thing I ever did. Enjoy it.

Personally, I found being your own boss to be highly over-rated. I couldn’t wait to return to feeding at the public trough. YMMV, obviously. Whatever the dream, good luck with it.

What type of freelancing did you do? Do you feel “defeated” in your current corporate job?

“Defeated” is the best way I can describe my feeling when I come in here every morning.

What did you do when you were your own boss? What about the experience wasn’t very satisfying?

Over a 10 year period, I ran a chain of photo kiosks, built and installed camper shells for pickup trucks, and ran a photo courier service. All of them involved long hours, no vacations, massive paperwork, and little sense of fulfillment. Smartest thing I ever did was go back to school and get my Teaching Credential after selling the last of the businesses.

OTOH, my father thrived once he quit teaching and started into business for himself. He lived for the challenge and freedom being your own boss gave him.

I suggest exploring opportunities in the burgeoning field of vagrancy, with the possibility, at a later stage, of a lateral move to drug dealing.