5 Things I Learned in the First Year of Quitting my Job
In 2021, after teaching for a decade my work-life balance reached a point where if I didn’t take a day off teaching then I wouldn’t be able to complete my preparations as a celebrant , comedian, freestyle rapper, film TV commercials, MC corporate events, write the quizzes I was the quizmaster of or finish the assignment I had for the Leadership diploma I was completing at university. It reached a crisis point where I had to decide… do I give up teaching? A job I really enjoyed, had worked hard at to become a respected Action Learning Coach (fancy way of saying helped other teachers teach), completed a SWITCH program to teach ATAR chemistry, cost myself a tonne of money via my HECS debt and most importantly gave me the security of knowing where my next pay cheque was coming from? Or do I quit and pursue the other stuff I love. Towards the end of 2021 I decided to create a safety net, I had my permanency held but took a year off without pay to go full time Daniel Delby Entertainment! This is what I learned.
1. You work all the time.
My podcast cohost of The Hard Yarns Podcast Branchy sent me an Instagram skit of a bloke banging his head against a wall highlighting how he quit is 9-5 job so now he works 24 hours a day. This has never resonated with me more. When I taught, I knew I had to get up and be at school by 8, my classes were structured in nice 1 hour blocks and when the final bell went the day “finished” (this is bullshit though because you get the pleasure of bringing home hours worth of marking as well as all the emotional baggage of what is happening with all the kids you care about.. which is ALL of them!) Now that I work for myself and depend 100% on my actions to be paid, I begin working from the moment my eyes are open until my head hits the pillow again that night. However, my office is now by the beach on the coast, at a local café and none of the people I work for (students) tell me to go fuck myself!
2. It’s Lonely.
Working in a school environment is awesome. You get 1000 different personalities a day and it makes awesome content for stand-up comedy. It actually helped me create the extremely successful Teacher Comedy Night. #teachercomedynight You’re never short of a funny story, an annoying co-worker or a laugh with the kids. Working for myself now is a very solo pursuit. My days are often spent alone…but again they are by the beach or at a nice café where no one tells me to go fuck myself (usually) or is dobbing on another kid or vaping in the toilet. So now I have to go tell other people to go fuck themselves, smoke inside and dob on other customers that have brought their dog inside just so I have new material for the next comedy show.
3. No one gives a fuck. This probably could have fit nicely in the number 1 spot. Ultimately people only give a fuck about themselves. My mate and stand-up comic genius Andrew Wolfe so eloquently put, “When you’re running into a house on fire, you look after yourself before saving anyone else”. His next fringe show is called “Fire in the Urinal” so maybe I can paraphrase it as “When the trough is on fire, you worry about your dick getting burnt before anyone elses” The world doesn’t owe you anything and doesn’t care if you fail or succeed. People will give positive feedback and comment from what they see in the perfectly sculpted post or video you have put up on your socials and are legitimately happy for you. However, unless something is in it for them your success really depends on your own actions.
4. No-one sees your value. My hugely successfully, strong, independent woman friend, Samantha Riches posted a quote one day that was along the lines of “Support Your Friends, don’t ask them for free stuff for discounts, buy their product or business and help them out”. Being Italian, I was one of the people that would always be looking for a freebie or discount. Now that I work for myself I try to support my mates businesses by paying whatever price they give me. Sure I will take a discount if they offer but I don’t ask for it.
I should rephrase point 4 to, mainly your friends don’t see your value. Especially in an industry like the arts. They don’t understand that what you do is your main source of income so often ask for free tickets or discounts to shows. Not gonna lie, I am more than happy to give discounts to mates, Patreons of my podcast The Hard Yarns ;) and family mainly because it means there will be an audience to my show! But if I turn it on it’s head and I asked them to come and fit my solar panels for free or lay the slab to my house for nothing it is a whole different conversation. However, at my age (35) I don’t even bother asking mates to come because babysitters, jobs and partners consume most of their time and also my mates aren’t my target audience anyway. When it comes to weddings, I LOVE officiating my friends weddings for them.#danieldelby When I wasn’t a full time celebrant I’d feel bad even charging them, now I realise if I do their wedding it means I miss out on other jobs on the same day that pay my rent! With such a massive change of circumstance came the epiphany that not everyone can do what I do, my service had a real value to it and now I am confident with my pricing and the service I offer. As a win/win for everyone I offer to MC their wedding for free as a wedding gift (Being a $1500 service it’s probably the most expensive gift I give anyone but I love it) Ultimately, I live my life knowing that if I help people out then it will come back to me at some point later.
5. People are dumb.
Common sense aint that common. Assume nothing. It is incredible what people will ask or what you think they will know and they don’t. Literally spell out every single thing you need to. If you have a ticket link even if you write in huge letters BUY TICKETS HERE, highlight it and put massive arrows pointing to it people will message you asking where to buy a ticket. If your show is on a Saturday, and you write it on the poster, in the description and on the ticket link they will message you asking when it is. Just accept the fact people are dumb and try and minimise the amount of dumb inbox messages you will inevitably get.
6. People are Dumb.