I looked at the calendar today and realized that I have about 5 1/2 weeks left in the contract I’ve been at for about 2 1/2 years. You may recall that when I first found out that my contract was ending, I was devastated. I was coming off of a high point in my career where I had participated in a high-visibility project and had done well, and was being recognized for something I had done that was work-related for the first time, and then emotionally shoved down in being told that I wasn’t going to be needed for much longer because they couldn’t find enough work for me to do to justify the cost long term.
Fast-forward to now. There are issues that are still abound, and one of my managers has declared that we needed to work on getting everyone off the “Danielle crack” (which I thought was the funniest compliment I had ever heard). We had to wean people off their dependence on me to get the job done. With 5 1/2 weeks left on the contract, I don’t know if that’s going to be done, but it’s been made very clear that the end of this contract is the end of this contract. That’s it. No more extensions.
I’m actually fine with that now. I went through a mourning period, like I have many times before when losing a job. I think this one was a particularly tough one to get through because I liked the job, I liked the company, and I liked the people overall. It was my first job after getting my Master’s degree, and I ran with it. I was relied on for UX/UI decisions, technical editing, web design, content management, and content strategy. It got to a point where one of my managers would hand me off to an internal client and just say, “Here,” with a minimal amount of information, and he’d trust me to follow through to the end with no to little intervention from him. I was given autonomy to do what I do best, and I did well. I’ve been in my “zone”. I gained some confidence that I never had before. I think I always knew I had the “mad skillz”, as I like to call them, but no one would let me exercise them or depend on me like at this job. If I said, “this really isn’t user-friendly, and I’d like to change this,” I didn’t get the pushback of, “Well, that’s what the end users are used to, so it stays.” I could freely clean up messes that I saw without getting my hands slapped for doing the right thing. It was liberating–so you can see why, in many respects, I would not want to leave that kind of environment.
But as this contract starts its final weeks, I’m kept busy as usual, but I’m looking ahead. I’m ready to run with the next projects. Of all the ironic things, my horoscope today on Yahoo! described exactly what’s going on. It said,
You can’t decide whether you are excited about your future or if you’re scared of the upcoming changes. Either way, you can tell that the tide is shifting, even if you don’t know which way you want to go. Throwing caution to the wind might be the necessary catalyst that makes your dreams come alive. If you don’t take the initiative today, at least imagine what you could accomplish if you set your mind to it. Share your best ideas with a friend; expressing what’s in your heart is enough to lift your spirits.
Some of the changes going forward have already started. I made the decision that I’m going to go solo. The time is right, and it’s right now. This job I’m finishing up put my family in a good position financially, enough that my husband and I decided that we can take the risk. I am starting my own one-person consulting firm soon. The trick will be finding clients! With that, I can say that I have my first client on board at the moment. It’s something that may or may not go full-time–we’re still in the early stages of figuring things out, but it’s something exciting to me. My “client” hasn’t said anything publicly about me joining his company’s team, so I don’t feel comfortable saying too much just yet, but I’m really ready to dig in and get to work with this firm. The person has a lot of contacts in the tech comm field and knows my goals, so he’s also said he can introduce me to others who may need my services outside of his projects, which would be great. All I need is some introductions! I’m working on another small project as well, so I suppose I’m starting on my way.
So, my career has full propulsion going on right now, and I feel like I’m going at warp-speed. As the horoscope said, I’m excited, but I’m also scared. Anything new for me is terrifying, especially because there are no boundaries or structure to keep me steady. I’m usually a nervous wreck for a long time until I get accustomed to a new situation and master it, and then I can fly. I’ve never done something like this before, and I plan on writing about the launch of my little company in the coming weeks. I’m going to be working hard to make sure that things don’t collapse early, and that I can make this independent go-of-it sustainable.
Wish me luck…and be ready for my inhaler! (I have exercise-induced asthma, so running is not good for me!)