The reveal


Last Tuesday I quit my full-time job.

Let me back up a little. You all knew I was stressed about, well, everything. And one of the things that was stressing me out was the fact that my job was no longer a match for my talents and interests. I like people at work, so it was a fine place to come every day, but it was not at all the best use of my time. Add to that that I was always late (because of kid drop-off). And feel like my real calling is to be writing Ask Moxie and doing way more stuff for you and with you, and moving into other media. I just felt stuck and trapped.

Then, as happens to so many women going through a divorce, a man from my past called. This man, however, didn't ask me out. He asked if I was interested in doing some freelance work for him (he was a former freelance boss from back when both of us were at a different company).

At the same time, I'd started taking a class that forced me to look at myself in a radically different way and confront the lies I'd been telling myself my whole life about who I am and what my capabilities are. What I can expect from myself. What will happen if I really start taking myself seriously.

Then I talked to a friend I hadn't seen in months, an oncologist. She asked how I was doing, and I started telling her, and she looked me straight in the eye and said, "I diagnose people our age with cancer every week. Some of them make it, but some of them don't. If you know what it is that you're supposed to be doing, and you don't do it, then you're wasting time."

So I ran the numbers and realized I'd be making at least as much freelancing as I did at my full-time job, but with more flexibility to write Ask Moxie and no business travel. And I'm lucky that there are enough options in New York State to buy into almost-affordable health insurance plans for myself and the kids. And I quit. The day after I quit I got offered two more freelance jobs.

The only issue is that I didn't want to leave my company high and dry, so I'm still full-time here for a few more weeks. At the same time, I'm doing what's essentially a full-time freelance project. So I'm working an insane number of hours and doing all the same regular stuff (kids, class, friends, exercise). Which is why Ask Moxie has suffered.

Waaaahhhhh. Stress, but a good kind of stress. I'll tell you more about my last business trip coming up (dinner in Seattle, October 27, anyone?) and the class later on.

119 thoughts on “The reveal”

  1. Congratulations–to you, and to us, because more freelance you and more Moxie you is better for the world.I’m so glad for you–you deserve it.

  2. Congratulations! Oh, Moxie, it sounds like you’re really feeling good about the way things are going now, and I’m so happy for you. Yay!

  3. What a crazy coincidence that you and I both quit our full-time jobs to go freelance in the same week! Same thing with me, loved the people I worked with, but the job itself was no longer right for me. Tasks were dull, and I found myself on the Internet all day … and all that to leave my kid 50 hours a week (full-time job plus one-hour commute each way). Also it’s like your oncologist friend said, “If you know what you’re supposed to be doing and you don’t do it, then you’re wasting time.”Congrats to you on this big life revelation! And if you have too much of that freelance work, pass some along my way!

  4. Welcome to the world of freelancing. I’ve done it since 2001, with a one-year hiatus where I got sick of it and went back to a real job. Here’s the two pieces of advice I give to anyone embarking on full-time freelancing:35% of every paycheck goes in a separate savings account, more if you can possibly spare it. Freelancing is cyclical, and there absolutely will be times when you’re not making much or any money. Build up as large an emergency cushion as you can. Also, you’ll pay your quarterly taxes out of this account — and on that note, an accountant is very much worth your while.
    Schedule your freelance work just like a real job. Most people think the problem with freelancing is that they’d procrastinate too much, but it’s just as easy to get caught up in the trap of working around the clock. When the work is right there at home, it’s hard to leave it behind. From personal experience, that’s how you get burned out.
    Good luck with it!

  5. Yay! I feel less stress for you! You’ll have to tell us about the class you took! I am looking for something to motivate me and it sounds like the class you took could be it! GO MOXIE!

  6. Wow. Moxie – I don’t know you except through this site but I am feeling so, so happy for you. I think it is so fantastic that you have the courage to make things happen for yourself rather than accept a mediocre situation. And I think it is so empowering for women in general to have role models who ask for what they want instead of accepting what they receive.Seattle? Only 2.5 hours from Vancouver!! And good outlet shopping between here and there is an added bonus. I will look at my schedule.

  7. Gasp!How awesome! I love it!
    If you want to take a break from Ask Moxie during this super-pressed time, I say, go for it. Preserve sanity by any means possible!
    I am so, so happy for you. Your evolution and growth, what I’ve been able to glimpse, continues to inspire me in my own life.

  8. I’m so happy for you, Moxie. I hope it works out even better than you could have imagined.And I must say, yay for New York State’s healthcare options. FWIW, some of the best health care coverage I have ever had was through the DC government’s Healthy Families program. As a result, I’m a huge fan of the idea of government getting involved in health insurance. Bring it on.
    I also agree with Rudyinparis… if you need to cut back on your Ask Moxie-ing during this transition period, I’ll be waiting to read you when you get back.
    However, I must insist that you post about the Project Runway finale. That is not optional.

  9. How inspiring. Will look forward to hearing about this big life change. And I want to thank you for the tremendous resource you have been for me in navigating the world of parenting and motherhood.

  10. What Jac said is so true: “And I think it is so empowering for women in general to have role models who ask for what they want instead of accepting what they receive.” Yes yes yes!! It’s an EXCELLENT lesson for your kids, too, Moxie! Congratulations!!Your oncologist friend is quite wise. Does she have any tips on figuring out what the hell it is you’re supposed to be doing, if you’re not Moxie? 🙂

  11. Go for it and best wishes for a successful future! It sounds like you will be so much freer and happier.(BTW, even when you are doing “what you’re supposed to be doing” cancer totally sucks. The fact that you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing while you have it is not much consolation, IME. In fact, it makes you do what you’re supposed to be doing less excellently, so it double sucks. So yeah, pursue your dreams, but not because you think it would making getting cancer worthwhile 😉 )

  12. Congrats! And yes, please do share what kind of class you are taking that has helped you to examine your life and what you are doing with it. Thanks!

  13. That is just the best news ever. I’m so happy for you. What an amazing discovery process you have been going through. I have learned so much about so many things on here. Mcuh more than just how to live with a non sleeping baby.

  14. Way to go Moxie! It takes real courage and vision to do what you did. And yay to you having more time for Ask Moxie! As a new mom this site has been a gift from the heavens. I wish I could make the trip to Seattle from Vancouver to see you.

  15. Congratulations! “Build it and they will come!” You should read James Kochalka’s book “Quit Your Job.” It’s a sweet and loving little comic about following your dreams. He’s an amazing writer and this little book pushed me to quit my day job and become a full time yogini (and a successful one, incidentally). You’ve obviously already taken the plunge, but it might just reinforce how right the move is. best of luck and love!

  16. Wow – congrats!! I recently gave notice at my job (3 months’ notice!) that I will not be coming back after kid #2 is born in January. I’ll be home full-time for a while, but I intend to do some serious thinking about what it is I really, really want to do when I go back to work (someday). Thanks so much for the inspiration, and looking forward to hearing more when you have a moment to breathe! 🙂

  17. Woohooo!! That is just astonishingly great news. Big cheers to you.And I second (third?) everything Emma B. said about freelancing. The separate savings account is crucial (I have mine at ING, which is relatively high yield), as is a great accountant.
    Equally important is what she said about scheduling work — and really being OFF when you’re not working. I find that incredibly difficult to do, especially since my office is literally right in the middle of our house (bizarre 1920s layout did not foresee home office requirements). I’ve started actually shutting down my desktop computer before I leave to pick up my daughter at daycare — it’s a mental signal that the workday is done… and it keeps me from checking email as soon as I walk back in the door.

  18. Working on maybe doing the same thing, only the job already left (end of contract). Haven’t figured out the job, yet, though (that is, the freelance work).Glad for you. Glad glad glad.

  19. Congratulations! I think it’s fantastic what you’re doing. And you’re doing what so many of us wish we had the courage or ability to do: Follow your wishes and dreams! Good for you! And Good for us, because that’s great role modeling for many.

  20. Yay! Congratulations! That is going to be amazing! I so wish I had a freelance-able skill.I’m up for dinner in Seattle on the 27th — toddler participation will, of course, depend on the time. I’d be happy to suggest some places if you let me know where you’ll be!

  21. Happy thoughts for you. Good advice about the separate tax account. Taxes will kill you in April if you don’t deduct and make estimated quarterly payments….and it’s really easy to “forget” that the big chunk of $$ hasn’t been processed through our government yet. We are struggling with that right now ourselves.I think the freedom you will feel (they don’t call it FREElance for nothing) will empower you in new and exciting ways. Congratulations. You continue to inspire.

  22. Congratulations Moxie! And Shannon! I admire the both of you for your courage, which I hope that someday I can harness my own to change my career path.

  23. Awesome! Congratulations. I’ve been wondering what your good news was …I am SO in for Seattle. And if you don’t already have a place in mind, I know one. It’s a neighborhood pub where there’s a play pit for kids with tables around the outside where the grownups can talk.
    I’m so jealous of people who know what they want to be when they grow up. 🙂

  24. YAY Moxie!!! Don’t worry about us, we can suffer through a few weeks and still be here when you get things settled.This also gives me hope with a big and similar career jump that I’m contemplating, so thanks!

  25. Wow, Moxie! Congratulations! “They” always say that, if you’re doing what you are really meant to be doing, it comes easily–all that work coming in the door for you certainly seems like that kind of meant-to-be, flowing serendipity. You’ve wrought these huge transformations recently and they seem to be very positive for you. I hope that positivity continues!

  26. Congrats, and good luck!Wise words from your oncologist friend. Reminds me of a passage in Anne Lamott’s “Operating Instructions,” in which the two major threads are the care and feeding of her infant son…and her best friend Pam’s diagnosis of cancer. At one point (when it’s apparent that the cancer is not responding well to treatment), the two women are out for a rare day of shopping. Anne tries on a pair of pants that look great, but finds herself paralyzed by the usual things: do they really look OK, can I actually get away with these? do I have the nerve to make this big a fashion statement? et.c She comes out and asks her friend, “Do these make me look fat?” or some such, and Pammy who is dying of cancer looks at her and says, “Annie? I really don’t think you have that kind of time.”
    That’s the one I remember when I need a good swift kick. Best of luck in your new endeavors!

  27. Congrats Moxie and Shannon! Good luck to both of you!I’m of the mindset that if you aren’t happy with something, change it. You guys are really changing it!

  28. Wow, so many positive and empowering changes you’ve made in your life in a relatively short time. I won’t say “Good Luck” as you embark on your freelance career; one of my favorite teachers told me once that luck (or chance) had little to do with success. Instead, our own preparation, self-examination, and skill development paved the way for opportunities to come to us. So she would always say “Good skills!”I’m so envious that you KNOW what you want to do, what you need to be doing. Still waiting for that epiphany at age 40!

  29. Congratulations for turning toward your dream!!!The freelance world is liberating, especially when filled with your passion. Your friend is very wise and you’re blessed to be surrounded by such wisdom! Enjoy the ride!!!
    **If NordiGirl is reading please, please contact me through my site.

  30. congratulations! you have done so much for me and my little family, and for so many other people, you deserve to be happy and living the life that you dream of. you are an inspiration. and you are coming to seattle! that is so exciting.

  31. @Shannon, I skimmed, so I missed ya in there. congrats to you, too.Shall we start a freelance pool? My dad keeps kicking opportunities my way. So far not right opportunities for me, but might be for someone else (if you’re talking freelance copy writing). Email is on my blog…

  32. I’m also in for dinner in Seattle on the 27th.And way to make the jump! Our time on this planet really is brief; good for you for knowing it.

  33. awesome news, girl! i knew good things were happening for you- i am right there with you- busy as all but all good!we are too blessed to be stressed, indeed!! xo.

  34. What incredible advice from your oncologist. I recently found a Goethe quote, “Nothing is worth more than this day” and took it as a call not to waste time or live in some future hope of what my life might look like. How empowering for you to choose freelancing and believe in yourself. Congratulations!

  35. I’m so happy for you Moxie! What a wonderful way everything came together with you. I can’t wait to read more about this class. Women have this terrible tendency to diminish ourselves, anything that helps us stop that must be a good thing!

  36. Congrats, Moxie! I’m always pleasantly surprised at how life has a way of undoing our knots so that the lines run smoothly.On Monday I was called back to a job I was laid off from back in April. Over the past 6 months I’ve had the opportunity to work with new people, volunteer for programs I’d been wanting to get involved with and spend loads of time with my daughter. So I was forced to take a break I didn’t realize I needed.
    It turns out that now is a perfect time for me to integrate my career back into the works.
    Yay for good Karma all around!

  37. YAY!! Congrats, Moxie!! Keep us posted, whenever the time is comfortable for you. To echo what others have said, we’ll certainly still be here if you need to take a much-deserved break. ;)I’m trying to finagle a way out to Seattle…

  38. Congratulations on your exciting news!@ Stacy and others wondering about career changes, I could suggest Po Bronson’s “What Should I do with My Life?”
    Can you say any more about your Seattle trip? I’d love to try and meet you!

  39. Congratulations, Moxie! I am excited for you. Can’t wait to hear more about this class, too.Also – I know you will share my delight – today on the library book shelf I found a hardback copy of Ginott’s Between Parent & Child – 1965 edition – for a quarter!

  40. Congratulations, Moxie! I am excited for you. Can’t wait to hear more about this class, too.Also – I know you will share my delight – today on the library book shelf I found a hardback copy of Ginott’s Between Parent & Child – 1965 edition – for a quarter!

  41. Congrats, Moxie! I am awed and thrilled by your bravery to take this step. Though in entirely different circumstances, quitting my FT, WOH job was the most liberating thing I ever did. Way to step out in faith!!!

  42. Congrats Moxie! I’m so proud of you. The world definitely needs more of your wonderfulness.Congrats to Shannon too!
    I haven’t commented in a long time but lurk everyday. 😉 I’m so excited to see what is in store for askmoxie and to hear more about your new adventures in freelancing.

  43. Congratulations! And hugs! Wow. Freelance is a huge leap–I am so impressed with your believing in yourself. You’re fabulous! Good luck and I hope to see Ask Moxie all over the internet.

  44. Awesome, awesome, awesome. I’ve been a long-time lurker and your news inspired me to finally leave a comment on the site. I’m so happy for you. This sounds like a great move.And count me in for Seattle as well. There are some great places that will allow us to watch the kids play while we converse. Let me know if you need suggestions on where to meet up.

  45. Wow, that is so incredibly awesome. Congratulations. I applaud your courage.If you have a chance to drop me an email, I’d love to know what kind of class you took that helped you realize some of this. I’m stuck right now at a crossroads in my life — mostly honestly not really knowing what I want next, so not knowing how to go for it. I’ve spent years doubting myself and undermining myself, so that a big leap I took a year ago has not turned out well at all. I took a risk like you did, but undermined myself the whole way. And now I’m stuck again.

  46. Wonderful news! Congratulations!I’ve been freelancing for almost 10 years — it’s worked out and allowed me to be at home with my three kids (4, 2, 9-months).

  47. Wonderful!! I’m so glad this was an option for you and that you were able to take it (I don’t know if I’d have the nerve, if I had the chance)!!I’m so happy for you!

  48. talk about life in parallel. I remember thinking how odd it was that Moxie and I went back to working full-time about the same time – about a week or two apart. And now, both of us are quitting full-time to freelance. My last day was on Friday.It’s liberating working on things *I* want to do, instead of focusing on things I *have* to do.

  49. congrats to you Moxie!and great news Shannon!!
    I’ve been lurking when I can, and may be helping out a friend w/some freelance work myself, so interested to see the discussion/suggestions.
    and here’s one of my favorite quotes which seems quite appropriate:
    Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid. (Canadian author and pastor Basil King)

  50. oh, moxie, i’m so happy for you. this is clearly your calling and it has been for so long — i remember your detailed and helpful comments on our blogs way back when. i also remember when you were first contemplating starting this — can you believe what it’s become? it’s so awesome.

  51. Yay, Moxie and Shannon!And Hedra, a freelance pool sounds like a great idea. For… writers, editors, designers… project managers? Who else?
    Amazingly in this economy, I’m booked up through January, and often hear about writing gigs I can’t take (I’m finding editing easier to tackle while T. is small and interruptions frequent). So I hope to have some leads to kick in very soon.
    How to pool? We could start simply by getting together a listserv where anyone could post leads, and a list of folks to pass on to clients when we can’t take on a job.
    I, however, am swamped. Anyone want to volunteer to set up such a thing?

  52. Congratulations! I’m a first time visitor to your site and I love it! … and the leap to freelancing? Fantastic! It’s great when people live their dreams.. it makes my dream feel more reachable.

  53. Another lurker, finally posting!(I convinced myself that even though I wasn’t going to say anything new or profound, you can never have too many positive comments when it comes to something with so much gravitas.)
    Without further ado…
    Congratulations and much love.
    Your posts and community got me through some tough times with DD, and I echo previous sentiments of eager anticipation of a future with mo’ betta Moxie!

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