The Biggest Risk I've Ever Taken
by Kerri Randall
Last month, I officially took the biggest risk I've taken in my life so far. On June 1, I gave notice to my full time job that I've had for 5 1/2 years that my last day would be June 28. Pretty exciting for many reasons (which would require another blog post, lol), but pretty damn scary for one big reason: I have nothing else lined up. And I have never, ever, ever quit one job without having another one to go to right away.
Now, of course, there was a lot of logic and thought put into this decision. I didn't just decide willy-nilly that it was a good idea to quit my full-time job which comes with steady pay and benefits. I've been thinking about it for a long, long (LONG!) time, but the timing was never right. And maybe the timing isn't perfect right now, but it's been said over and over again that if you wait for things to be perfect before you make a move, well, you'll never get to make that move. Things will never be perfect.
It's like I tell my students in my group exercise classes. I never expect you to have the moves down perfectly. Certainly not the first time, and not even by the fifth. I just need you to keep moving, have fun, and be semi-ok with the moves. And that's where I'm at right now with quitting my job in the hopes of pursuing my dream more fully: not necessarily perfect, but semi-ok.
It's now or never.
Now to quell other fears, I haven't jumped out with completely nothing. I still have my part-time job which I really do enjoy (serving), and the vast majority of the time, it brings in some pretty good money. I also have my group exercise classes, and now that my days will be more open, perhaps I can add a couple day classes. We'll see, though, as I will be searching for another income source to supplement during the day…and ideally something that doesn't require me to survive on 5 or less hours of sleep and be driving to work before dawn. Ick.
The next time you ever see me up that early will hopefully be because I'm on my way home from a gig!! Ha!
But here's the big question: am I scared?
That actually requires some thought. When I gave notice, I was really excited. I'd been at that job much longer than I ever anticipated I would be. And I'll refrain from venting about all the negativity that I'm sick of dealing with. I could write a book on that topic.
Anyway, I'd written everything out. I have my savings, and I have my part-time job, and if all goes as planned, due to couple pre-scheduled summer trips, I'll only need to get through July before I have another job to supplement my income.
So I felt pretty comfortable when I gave my notice. No second thoughts. But I will admit I'd gotten a tad nervous at random times prior to my last day, and I'd write out my plan again and review my finances again–and I picked up a few more shifts at my part-time job just to have more of a cushion, too. We also hit a couple roadbumps that made the album look like it would be delayed, and of course that shook me up a bit.
This territory for me is unknown and therefore pretty scary. Making a career in the music business is never a guarantee, and while things are vastly different in the industry today and labels seem to be falling apart, we musicians can do so much for ourselves now that in many ways, we have an advantage.
I've got a lot going on in my head and heart right now. I'm a smidge nervous, I'm excited, and I feel like a lot of things are uncertain but at the same time I feel like the weight of the world is off my shoulders. I'm relaxed and feel like I finally have time to catch up on things I've been putting off because of a lack of both time and energy. Yet I'm sure as the month goes on, I'll also be a little restless until I've secured that supplement, whatever it may be.
Can you be relaxed and restless at the same time? Apparently so. (Completely random Simpsons quote from Bart Simpson: "I didn't think it was possible, but this both suck and blows at the same time.")
So there you have it. For me, June was consumed by preparation: preparing to leave my steady job (which included training others to do my job!), and preparing each next step of the album. Nervousness rose as the official end approached, and I realized how many people I'm really going to miss because not everyone was a Negative Nancy, but I definitely won't miss all the unnecessary stress and negativity that hung in the air from the ones that were.
I believe July will be consumed by that odd mix of relaxation and restlessness. It is literally a brand new month and the official start of a new chapter where I finally take the reins in the direction I've wanted to go forever. I can't wait to see what happens, and I hope you'll come along for the ride.
What's the biggest risk you've ever taken? Share your thoughts in the comments below or come and tell me on my Facebook wall!
Kerri Randall is a singer, performer, writer, and…(wait for it)…fitness instructor. She has performed throughout Milwaukee and Wisconsin with multiple bands, and has even sung at the historic Pabst Theater with the Milwaukee Police Band and Jazz Ensemble. She is also a featured writer on Dotted Music (dottedmusic.com). Her passion is entertaining and inspiring others to think, laugh, and have fun. Kerri believes the artist community can only thrive when we all encourage and support each other!