One Year Later – Do I Regret Going Back to Work? (+ The One Thing I Miss)

A year ago, I went back to work. And afterward I wrote this essay about it that went viral. Responses – for the most part – were supportive.

But one year later I'm still here and wanted to give you an update: I don't regret the decision. Not one bit.

In an odd way, having a job and a more structured life allows me:

  • The freedom to feel more creative and take more “risks” with what I do in my online business
  • To say no to lots of sponsored content I just (quite frankly) didn't want to do
  • Feel more free to write what I want to write about and less about what I felt could generate clicks and income.

You've seen some of these changes already, like the weekly series I'm doing (I'm writing it right now!) where it's more free form content around my thoughts and perceptions and less about “9 Super-Awesome Ways to Put Pennies in Your Purse Right Now!”

That gets stale AF after awhile (trust me, if you think it's stale, I'm about to impale my eyes out writing it), but with money on the line I (previously) couldn't find a way out of that box. I think I was really fighting a big part of myself: the part that used to be an actor, the realization that at the heart of me is (always) a desire to create, to be freely creative and to play. I may have traded in the stage for a laptop, but that part about me is still the same.

I can't explain exactly why blogging as a side hustle is different than working for yourself, or why I'm better when doing both, but I just am. I'm better in all the ways: emotionally, physically spiritually. It's what's best for me and (for now) this is what my “best life” looks like and I'm learning (slowly) to be more and more confident with saying this out loud.

Really, the best passage I've ever come across to explain this type of feeling from Elizabeth Gilbert's book, Big Magic.

 

The minute I started solely relying on the blog for income that's when all my creativity dried up, that's when I stopped having fun.

Literally, I can pinpoint the actual day this blog stopped being fun for me. I even tried to sell the site I was so “over it.”

But now that I”m here and I've decided to stay I feel creatively free to play again. And it's been a really, really cool awakening. Like saying to this feeling, “there you are. I haven't seen you in forever! Helloooooo old friend.”

P.S. I didn't just come up with all this on my own. These have been slow, steady realizations over the last year but working with a business coach on my vision and values has helped solidify/articulate these feelings. Highly, highly recommend.

 

Even though I don't regret it, of course, there are things I totally miss.

I miss having lots of free time. And my Netflix. There, I said it. When I think about how much time I had on my hands as a solopreneur and how much I didn’t work out, didn’t take care of myself or run my errands, I feel really ashamed.

Because now I do the workouts, and the meal prep, and I drink the water, and work full-time, and blog and (still) some freelance writing and I smash it all into a very packed day. (To say nothing of the wedding planning and the travel, too!) Sometimes I think maybe I'm just at my best when I have a lot of balls up in the air. 

And I didn’t do any of that while I was self-employed. So, all of you out there still entrepreneuring…even if you have all the time in the world, don’t waste it. Make yourself as productive as you used to be when you worked and hustled. Don’t forget that feeling and hold onto it.

I’m a better person for the journey over the last year or so. but as I’m dashing around from place to place I can’t help but pray for a bit more balance. I did't have it back then either, but a girl can dream.

One thing I will say: scheduling workouts is definitely easier when you work for yourself full-time.

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11 Comments

  • Reply
    Jennifer Jank
    June 3, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    Great discussion on balancing between a job and a side hustle! You’re right that it’s important to be able to be creative. I love that book too – I was lucky enough to see Elizabeth Gilbert in person while she was on her book tour. She’a very warm speaker.

  • Reply
    George@20somethinglawyer
    June 2, 2018 at 7:39 am

    This is giving me more motivation to stay at my conventional job!

  • Reply
    Gwen @ Fiery Millennials
    May 31, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    Excellent insights. I quit my job 2 months ago and am haunted by whether or not I made the right decision. I think what I realized is I don’t want to work that job. I don’t want to be stuck in an office for 5 straight days a week and only get 2 weeks off a year. That is too much. A job with more flexibility and vacation time could definitely work though. I am super glad I did quit as I have had SO MUCH TIME to focus on growing the podcast and our brand. Even if I do go back, at least the podcast will be the better for it.

    • Reply
      Lauren Bowling
      June 4, 2018 at 1:27 pm

      My current job is very flexible and I work from home 2 -3 days a week, but I still have somewhere “to go” on Tuesday Thursday so I feel like a productive person 🙂 It’s a nice balance. I definitely got very lonely working from home all day long. I don’t believe in mistakes or regrets, just steps back and forward on the way to finding out what works best for US as individuals. Keep at it 🙂

  • Reply
    Mr. Feiry Eclipse
    May 31, 2018 at 12:33 pm

    I just started a blog this year and hit that blah feeling early. The main reason I wanted to write is because I wanted to be a part of the community and at the very least, let my family and friends in on who I am these days.
    The goal was never to care a out money or number of readers . But I soon got caught up with trying to make it profitable, and almost immediately stopped having fun.

    • Reply
      Lauren Bowling
      June 4, 2018 at 1:26 pm

      I think there is a powerful connection. I felt the exact same way when I left college and had to start acting as a way to feed myself rather than just a passion or hobby. Can you go back to letting your blog just be about you?

  • Reply
    Colin Ashby
    May 30, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    Great to hear that the full-time job has been going well. It is a challenge to work for yourself. It kind of feels like you’re constantly having to spin plates around and hope none of them drop, haha. I’ve been doing it for a few months and it’s been a good learning experience but also stressful in ways. Definitely agree about not wasting time. I’ve gotten a lot better at by seeking out different tools like Asana and The Passion Planner to help plan out and schedule my days.

    • Reply
      Lauren Bowling
      May 31, 2018 at 9:33 am

      That’s a great way of putting it – it was amazing in many ways, but I will admit my stress levels are much lower now. Not that balancing it all doesn’t come with its own stress but it’s different. I can’t explain how. Either way, I’m a big fan of people creating and following their own plan so kudos. Love keeping up with your adventures on IG. 🙂

  • Reply
    giulia
    May 29, 2018 at 11:28 am

    Sometimes I think I’d like to be boss of myself, in the other hands I’m secretary into family’s business and I’m a sort of and I must to say that my free time is on saturday and sunday…so I use this time to do sleep, relaz and then errands but I think everyone of us is a constant work in progress, in every situation there is good and bad side:D

    • Reply
      Lauren Bowling
      May 31, 2018 at 9:33 am

      Yes of course – it’s wonderful to keep that perspective!

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