Get Out Of Bed And Make That Change

Picture the lazy weekend morning: The sun is bright, the day is young, and you’re in bed. For many of us, myself included, the temptation to stay in bed and enjoy the comforts of sleep and warm blankets is easy to do. It’s simple to enjoy the moment, to be still and content. I’m pretty sure that even those with uncomfortable beds or lumpy pillows enjoy these lazy moments and would rather stay in bed than confront the inertia of the day.

Similarly, for many people, it’s easy and comforting to go to the same job every day, to know what to expect, and to go with the flow. Even when they are not happy with their career or their co-workers, it’s easier to stick with what is familiar. Change is scary.

For me, the fluffy pillow was the four weeks of vacation I received each year. The warm, cozy bed was the defined benefit pension that I could expect to receive at the end of the road. The relaxing state of wakefulness that we experience in the morning was the comforting knowledge that each day, I would do similar tasks with the same people and collect my salary twice a month.

But what about the possibilities that lay at the start of a day? I had dreams of becoming a writer when I was younger. I loved the creativity of the arts. And here I was, making slides of solid tumours in the endless cycle of cancer research. This was my comfort zone and it was hard to leave.

Instead, I started small and began writing for a newsletter and a blog. Eventually, I got my first few freelance writing gigs that actually paid me money. I didn’t even have to make any huge changes! But it got me thinking – if these small changes already accomplished so much, what could a few big changes do? I was motivated and I had a feeling that it wasn’t too late for me. I asked myself, what good is the promise of a pension and weeks of vacation when every other week of your life is unfulfilling?

I took the momentum I had gained from my successful writing jobs and turned it into a two-year endeavour. It wasn’t easy, but like my previous attempt at stepping out of my comfort zone, it took only little steps. At each little step, I asked myself, “What’s the worst that could happen?” Usually, the worst wasn’t as bad or as insurmountable as it first appeared. First I took classes while still working, so that my employer would cover the cost. I realized that I had what it took to go back to school. Then I took classes while working in a job related to my new field and  I realized that I even enjoyed working again. Finally… I did math for the first time in seven years. Scary, multidimensional math! And I passed!

At the close of those two years, I emerged with a second degree, a new (and better paying!) job, and a good dose of pride. Despite the self-doubt, the sleepless nights, and the mountains of homework I never thought I’d have to do again, I’m in a much happier place.

Change is scary. We are creatures of habit and comfort and shaking up the natural order is not something we’re programmed to do. But in the end, while it’s nice to stay in bed, eventually you’re going to have to get out. Otherwise, you’ll miss the beautiful day that’s just starting to shine.

Guest Post By: The Outlier Model is a personal finance and lifestyle blog based on the pillars of “living life a little bit differently”. Focused on the belief that success follows those who choose to do something other than the normal, posts at The Outlier Model discuss topics such as budgeting, life hacking, and smart shopping. 

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  1. This is sort of what I did. Nearing graduation from my undergrad I knew very well I needed to do something fast. Truth be told, I didn’t know much about dental hygiene other than going to the dentist growing up but I decided to just go for it and apply, hoping for the best…I loved it (thank God the tuition pill was a hard one to swallow). I still love it and am so glad I chose to do it!

    1. It can be tough to make the decision but worth it if you take the time to evaluate your career options after and have backup plans!

  2. I hope to change often enough to not become a burn out. That being said, I wouldn’t leave a position without having something else lined up. I’m glad I enjoy what I do and there are several ways I can go about it, so as not to get bored.

  3. I like the approach you took. Some people have dreams or yearn for a change in careers, but they don’t get started or they want immediate results. It sounds like you followed a path where you slowly gained momentum, and I think that is more often the case than immediate results and job offers.

    1. Before CF quit her job, we laid out a plan with multiple back ups if things didn’t work out. Slow change is usually more effective than drastic measures!

  4. I wish I could do this. I looked into changing careers several years back but I wanted to go into a medical field and nothing I wanted to do could be taken part time. You had to be a full time student to do the pratical part of the program. I couldn’t quit work with a mortgage to pay 🙁 I say kudos to anyone that can do it or does it! I think kids are done highschool too early to know what they want to do with the rest of their life. If I had taken time I might have chosen a different path.

      1. With CF having to go back for a second degree and with me not working in my degree field, I’m more of an advocate for not rushing into post secondary education. It’s good experience to work and become more independent after high school than extending the ‘school life’, so I understand your frustration.

    1. So true as it did for me… anything is possible. Cheers Michael, Happy Thanksgiving mate!! Enjoy.. now I’m off to make Pumpkin Brownies or a Pumpkin Spice Cake… not sure which one yet.. but both sound good to me!

  5. Congratulations on moving into something that you genuinely enjoy.

    I often wonder what potentially great things I may have achieved if i didn’t work a 9-5 job. I suspect for many, its a case of the grass is always greener on the other side.

    I don’t regret what I have done to date, but I’m sure I could be doing more.

    1. Thank you!

      I think we can all be doing “more” but if you have no regrets, I think you’re probably doing just fine 🙂

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