laptop on wooden desktop, with coffee and pencils

Choose to chance the rapids and dare to dance the tides – Garth Brooks

I’ve done something incredibly brave, something I never thought I would have the courage to do even though I often imagined it in the four corners of my dreams: I quit my day job. Not only did I quit my day job, but I did so to attempt to be what I feel is my calling: a writer who helps people save and manage their money.

Choose to chance the rapids and dare to dance the tides - Garth Brooks Click To Tweet

It would have been easy for me to continue driving to the agency four days a week—Monday through Thursday, 7:00-5:30—proudly don the badge, turn on my computer and go about the business of ensuring compliance with our state’s environmental regulations. But I have never aspired to live a cushioned life at the cost of a truly fulfilling one. For however straight-laced, risk-averse, and routine-loving I may be—and I am—I have a healthy rebel inside of me that loves a challenge and that dares to live out her dreams. And I cannot live one part of myself without living the other, though over the last four years of blogging and working full-time I have had to make sacrifices to both. I am a person who needs to give 100% of themselves in their work, and I have felt a drain on both my spirit and my health for more than a year now from being pulled in two different directions.

I have never aspired to live a cushioned life at the cost of a truly fulfilling one. Click To Tweet

In the fall of 2011 I was asked to present at the annual air training in Austin for our agency. I was quite honored to be addressing others who were sitting in the same seats I had for the last several years. I knew the material, I was not afraid of receiving questions, but something just did not feel right. Ahead of the presentation I paced back and forth in my hotel room, hands clammy and stomach in painful knots. Of course the outward signs of anxiety were all for naught; the presentation went just fine. But this experience opened up a different path of thinking for me as I began to wonder if it was possible to be very good at something that I might not be meant to do.

We all know that thoughts can change us. Having a steady paycheck deposited into our bank account and shuffling most of that money into savings at the first of each month truly added to my inertia over the last year and a half. But ever since I opened myself up to the possibility of doing this, my thoughts turned into subtle actions, leading me closer and closer to the point where I could confidently take on self-employment. Some of these actions included daring to declare on my home office whiteboard in tangerine-orange marker “I am a freelance writer/blogger”, emailing other bloggers who had taken their careers full-time and asking them about taking the plunge, lifestyle changes, etc., and having my husband check into whether or not I can be added onto his health insurance plan outside of the typical open enrollment time period.

Then two weeks ago on a Thursday I commuted to work like normal. Except that it turned out to not be a typical day at all. As soon as I stepped out of my car and saw the building I had come to intimately know over the last four and a half years I knew that I was no longer meant to be there. I felt a strong calling, stronger and more resolute than one typically feels about anything throughout their wishy-washy 20s. It was like a switch had been turned off. I knew I had to do something incredibly courageous by resigning from a steady job where I had established credentials, but now I also felt that I could do it.

The funny thing is that as soon as I acknowledged this calling, I felt so much peace.

Moving forward, I know that no matter if I succeed or fail I will need to take ownership of it all. Unlike other times in my life where being laid-off thrust me onto a new path whether I wanted to be on it or not, I conscientiously chose this one by taking action and quitting my job. I know that I cannot blame others on my future blunders, just as much as I will not be able to sheepishly pin my successes as pure luck in order to sidestep performance fear. I have no romantic notions about the months ahead and know that they will be quite challenging. So for now, I’ll just enjoy this natural high so rarely afforded by everyday life.

To my readers: Thank you so much for your continued support and encouragement. You all are amazing! I love the insights you share about your own lives, as well as encouragement and useful information you leave in the comments section for both me and the community. You all are making this transition and my dream a true possibility and I cannot thank you enough.

Come back for Wednesday’s post where I will talk about changes to the money side of things in our household.

Catch-Up On My Documented Self-Employment Journey (spoiler alert: there's a layoff, a few tears, lessons learned, financial changes, and all sorts of goodies that occurred after I pulled the plug on my 9-5):

I Have Chosen to Chance the Rapids: Taking My Writing Full-Time>>
Blogging and Writing Full-Time: Financial Changes to Come>>
Blogging and Writing Full-Time: One Month Update>>
Self-Employment Update: Six Months After Taking that Leap>>
Contingency Plan “Husband-Lost-His-Job” is in Full Swing>>
Update on the Unemployment Situation in Our Household>>
How We're Handling Health Insurance in Unemployment>>
Surviving {and Thriving} In My First Year of Self-Employment>>
What We Did to Financially Survive 5 Months of Unemployment + a Free Gift for You>>
Behind-the-Scenes of Frugal Confessions' Second Year in Business>>

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Amanda L. Grossman is a Certified Financial Education Instructor, Plutus Foundation Grant Recipient, and founder of Frugal Confessions. Over the last 10 years, her money work helping people with how to save money and how to manage money has been featured in Kiplinger, Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, Business Insider, LifeHacker, Woman's World, Woman's Day, ABC 13 Houston, Keybank, and more. Read more here.
37 replies
  1. JT says:

    Congratulations on your decision. I am sure that you will do well and end up in a much better place doing what you love than what you are just tolerating.

    • FruGal says:

      Definitely talked to my husband first! He’s been apart of the conversation for the last year–I would never dream of taking a leap like this without his input and agreement:). Fortunately he is truly supportive, and really believes in me!

  2. Danyelle Franciosa says:

    That change in life will surely be exciting for you. I hope that the best things in life will come to you.

  3. Joe Saul-Sehy says:

    Wow! That’s fantastic. As a guy who left a great-paying job to pursue other things….you made the right move. Unless it turns out you can live more than once, you should follow your instinct. Congratulations.

    • FruGal says:

      Thank you so much for sharing your own experience Joe. Life is definitely only lived once, and I think our frugality and good money sense have bought me this chance. Hopefully things will go well!

  4. Laura says:

    Amanda – congratulations! What a wonderful journey to choose. Just last weekend I started writing my own blog posts (after having been throwing the idea around in my head months, if not years). There’s no website yet, it’s just a trial run for now, but it’s a start!

    You are an inspiring person and I wish you all the best. I cannot wait to read about your journey.

    • FruGal says:

      Hi Laura! Thank you so much for the encouragement. I think it’s wonderful you are taking action on something you have been meaning to do. Could be for you, perhaps it won’t be, but at least you are trying it out (just like me!) Let me know if you have any questions moving forward with your blog.

    • Amanda L Grossman says:

      Thank you very much Fred. I think that is one thing I am quite sure of: no matter if I succeed or fail, I will not have regret taking this chance. That’s part of how I knew it was the right decision to make.

  5. Financial Samurai says:

    Hang on for the great ride! It’s pretty exhausting entrepreneurship compared to a day job, but much more rewarding. With a husband who has your back, and a network of blogging friends, I’m sure you’ll do fine!


    • Amanda L Grossman says:

      It’s been great reading along to your own entrepreneurial journey, both ups and downs (and helpful for me as well). Hopefully we will both keep the dream alive (well, with a ton of hard work;)).

  6. Grayson @ Debt Roundup says:

    You are making a huge leap and congratulations for doing so. It takes courage to make that leap. One day I hope to be able to make the leap, but I have a long way to go. I wish you the best in your endeavors and I am excited to read out how it progresses.

  7. Andrea says:

    I’ve already congratulated you, but I wanted to do so again. I’m so excited for you!!!!

    You know, I went into my career as a therapist feeling like I was doing what I was meant to do with my life. And if I had never tried anything else, I probably would have been okay (but unfulfilled) for a long time. It took spreading my wings a little to see that I wasn’t at all happy in my career; I was just happy because I thought I was doing what adults are “supposed” to do.

    You’ll still have crappy days and stress, but it will be completely different than what you deal with in an office environment. I can’t wait to hear about your adventures! 🙂

  8. Shannon-ReadyForZero says:

    Congratulations Amanda! Much of what you wrote about here reminds me of how I felt when I quit my steady job in New York to move to California (with no new job in sight at the time). It was a struggle and I dealt with quite a bit of fear and insecurity, but still so free at taking this risk that I had been thinking about for years. Enjoy this time and I can’t wait to see how things go for you! I have no doubt you’ll be very successful :).

    • Amanda L Grossman says:

      I definitely appreciate your concern BluSky, and having you as a reader from early on.

      We’ve definitely considered all of the variables over the last year and a half (or the ones we are aware of), and then have a cushion for the ones that life just throws at us. I will go into more detail about this on Wednesday’s post.

  9. Aurora says:

    Congratulations on this huge step Amanda!!! Having known you since 4th grade, I know this was not a decision you came to without very careful consideration and I’m truly excited for you to embark on this challenge! XOXO


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