Is it time to un-hang my shingle?
June 16, 2012 7:17 AM Subscribe
I'd like you to tell me if I should quit my job (I'm a member of the "ugh, I.T." chorus), but the snowflakey part is that it's not just my job. It's my small business. And to some degree, it's all I've got right now.
posted by anonymous to society & culture (23 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
A little over five years ago, I graduated from college and, while waiting to start law school in the fall (jeez, another dumb idea, but whatever), decided to make some money as a Mac sherpa. I posted an ad on craigslist and waited.
What I did not necessarily expect was that five years later, at the age of 27, I.T. work would be my full-time occupation. That it would suck up 150% of my time and energy. That I would spend so much of my remaining moments in a depressed fugue trying to muster up the energy to even think about what else I might want to do instead. Oops.
So here's my problem: I don't feel that this is the work I'm meant to be doing, but I have been somewhat successful and have built up something with a lot of goodwill and a reasonable amount of momentum. This coming Monday is the 5th anniversary of my first paying gig, and I keep dreaming of sending all my clients an e-mail thanking them for their patronage and gently explaining that I'll be closing up shop and moving on. I've been thinking about this looming imaginary deadline for weeks.
But, of course, if I actually take this drastic step, I'll be squandering a huge resource that I've spent years building: Almost all of my clients are ongoing accounts with whom I've worked for years. Things are decently successful. My business is growing, exclusively via word of mouth, at about 50% year-over-year. We're not talking huge numbers here, but I'll do alright for myself this year, especially in contrast to many of my peers, who've spent their post-college years in this never-ending recessionary morass.
So. Should I feel more grateful for what I have, during these tough times? (It's not all bad: I've found a great niche, offering Mac support to art galleries and other creative professionals. I actually adore many of my clients.) Should I be thinking of a more intelligent way to sever the line? (For what it's worth, it would be pretty easy. My work is ad-hoc, on-location and billed hourly. I have no employees. I am not renting office space.) Is it a supremely dumb time to wander jobless through the universe? Is the grass going to actually be greener out there, or will I miss setting my own hours and schedule (which honestly drives me crazy now)? If I do shuffle off, is there a way to leverage my long roster of very satisfied clients, instead of just allowing that resource to evaporate?
(Also, don't forget to tune in next week for the next chunk of this question, in which our tortured hero describes living in the same Brooklyn neighborhood he grew up in and trying to gauge the pros and cons of leaving NYC.)