One year and two days ago, I resigned from my job in banking. One item on the to-do list was to start a blog.
Why took so long?
My excuse was that I wanted to write my blog in Chinese, my native language. I am embarrassed to say that I am yet to learn how to type in Chinese. Anyway, here I am. Let’s start the page and see what happens.
Back to my story… given this is the first post, I should talk about myself though I prefer to share the amazing social business start ups I have met recently.
I want to share how I have managed the process of leaving the corporate world and venture into an unknown world. I was lucky that I planned it quite well. Timing and circumstances were all within control. The experience was enjoyable. I hope this can be useful to someone out there who is also looking for a change.
Whatever the circumstances are, for you or your friend, here is one advice: Talk to trusted friends and mentors, picture what your next phase would potentially look like (though the journey and destination always turn out to be quite different).
Who do you talk to?
Group 1: People who have gone through the type of change that are similar to yours, those who have transitioned from comfortable zones to unfamiliar territories. Do not underestimate how the change can impact your self-esteem, confidence and soul. Your networks, your support system and your daily routine will be different. Your name card and your dress code will be different. Your lunch choices will be different. Hearing what they have done to ease the transition is very useful.
Group 2: Your close friends who were there with you when you went through the past few life events. They saw how you reacted and behaved when you went through big changes. They are the safe and reliable listeners and supporters. They can probably help you to think through the ‘communication plan’ with your family too. I remembered a few friends told me that they were not surprised when I resigned. They said that I have been mentioning it for a number of years while I thought I had only said it in the past year. When you know that you are getting congratulation messages from friends (as opposed to ‘WHAT?!’), you have talked and thought it through enough. It is time to move on.
Group 3: Friends whom you have not seen for awhile. As you are exploring new planets, you need to re-visit the contact list on your phone. Refresh those relationships. Have coffee. Include those who are acquaintances (assuming you do not keep contact numbers of those whom you dislike). Let them know your new thoughts and interests. Most of them appreciate that you re-connect and will celebrate your boldness. They may give you new ideas or introduce you to their friends who can help your new venture. Do not do this after you resign. These chats help you to figure out the scale of opportunities out there and thus your new life plan. In my case, I originally wanted to explore the organic food business. I re-connected with this one friend whom I worked with for a charity project. It only meant to be a casual catch-up. She was not related to organic food industry. As we were talking about old times, she reminded me of a lady whom we met at a lovely dinner gathering. This lady was about to start a website on social businesses which might be of interest to me. I met her for a coffee. She introduced me to another friend who worked for an organic food retail chain. There was no obvious opportunity for partnership but she shared a common interest in social entrepreneurship. A few days later, she forwarded me information about an interesting course in that space. One thing led to another. I landed on my current job in impact investing.
My point is, talk to people. Refresh and expand your network before you pull the trigger.
(If you have a friend who is going through this, just connect me with them. More than happy to bounce ideas. Besides the networking, there are many more things to consider and manage in planning a big jump.)