I just quit my job in a bad economy. Yes, really.

betty ming liu Inspiration, Money, Writing how-to's 62 Comments

After 16 months of full-time journalism, I am now officially unemployed. Never ever before have I quit a job without lining up a new gig. And so begins the next adventure, of reinventing myself — yet again — while living off my savings.

This is incredibly scary for me. As a single mom with a kid going off to college, there’s a lot of financial responsibility on my shoulders. Health insurance alone is going to be very, very expensive. The bill will run anywhere from nearly $900 to $1,500 per month, out of pocket, depending on the plan I finally decide to choose…

But things evolve and it was time to move on. For me, that’s one of the benefits of having life experience; I know now. I can tell when situations demand me to make outside-the-box changes. It was great working with a team of wonderful people, who I will miss a lot. And oh my goodness, the skills and knowledge that I now have about 21st century journalism! The parting was cordial, which is very important to me.

What next? Hmmmm. Well, after 16 months of working my butt off in the demanding world of digital journalism, it’s time to catch up on me. Here’s my to-do list…

8 benefits to quitting my job

I want to self-publish a book. If you’ve been with me for a while, you know that this is an on-going yearning. Maybe not the most practical solution for making money, but crucial for personal fulfillment. The rough first draft is done and I’m ready to rock this dream!

Expanding my YouTube presence. There’s not much up right now but look for more. During recent One-to-One training lessons at the Apple Store, I’ve learned to use Final Cut Pro X. Now it’s my chance to put those skills to practice in editing my own how-to videos about all kinds of things. Stay tuned!

Spend time with my daughter. She is now a college-bound, young woman. If you’ve been through this stage with a kid, you know that part of me wants to scream. So much going on, on multiple levels. Major transitions in our relationship. There’s also the fun ahead of prom and graduation. Really glad that I now have the time to fully engage in the moments ahead.

— Start dating again. It’s been nearly two years since I’ve been in a relationship. With a full-time job, I was married to my work. But maybe there’s a chance for a shared life ahead. I’ve grown up a lot over the past two years and am much more willing to risk the vulnerability and intimacy required to be with a significant other.

— Start painting again. The easel and my oils have been calling to me. Over the past year, I’ve also been ripping out stuff from the newspaper in hopes of collaging with newsprint someday. Well, maybe “someday” is on the near horizon.

— Jump start my teaching career. I left a great teaching career for the adventure of being a digital journalist filing daily stories online. And every day, part of me missed being around young people. Even though all the colleges that I taught at said that they’d love for me to return one day, most of my gigs are gone. But I do have one assignment for the fall: I’ll be teaching food writing to undergraduate journalism majors at NYU.

Catch up on home repairs. My sweet little house could be in much better shape. It really bothers me that the screen on my front porch door has been busted for the past year. My deck posts are rotting away and need to be replaced. Yes, this means dipping more into savings. But I can’t let my house fall apart. It’s my main asset and needs to be maintained.

— Catch up on my sleep. Yesterday morning at around 9 a.m., my daughter knocked on my bedroom door and hollered for me, sounding worried. She wanted to know if I was sick because I’m usually up very early. Helloooo, can’t Mommy sleep in on a Sunday morning? Haha. 

That’s the list for now. The idea of risking big for big dreams is exciting to me. This is a lot for anyone but especially for someone my age. I will turn 57 this summer!

Ultimately, the goal is to establish myself as a brand with useful information and inspiration worth sharing — which leads to the next thing, and it involves you…

I need an audience to make all of this work. If I can build the traffic numbers on my blog, it will make it easier to market my book and YouTube videos. So, if you haven’t subscribed yet to my blog, please do join me! And if you know anyone who might be interested in my progress, please share the link to my blog.

There’s a lot of unemployed people in this economy. You might have even seen the New York Times story about the rise in suicide rates among middle-aged baby boomers who are stressed out by financial worries and the economy. Well, even though I fit the demographic, I am here to prove that the best of my life is just ahead.

Hope you’ll stick with me for this new adventure — because your company will make a difference. And please feel free to leave suggestions and feedback in the comment sections below. After all, this is a shared adventure! xoxoxoxoxo.

Comments 62

  1. You go on Ms. Betty! I’m glad that you are pursuing another awesome chapter (no pun intended) in your life with such enthusiasm, :) I also love your short term goals, nothing too major but just enough to keep you busy and going. I can’t wait to see what is beyond the horizon for you. Cheers!

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  3. Hey Betty. Best of luck on your new adventure :)

    Though I haven’t been in your situation before I met a lot of friends who are freelance illustrators/ youtubers. They offer me this advice before. “You can’t please everyone, however if you have something to say, say it the best (clearest, most fun, etc) you can and people can see it. Hard work and staying true to yourself is something everyone can appreciate.”

    The video: “Elizabeth Gilbert: Your elusive creative genius” a TED talk on youtube is something I watch whenever I’m stuck on something for writing. I don’t agree with everything she says, but I find it very up lifting all the same.

    Again best of luck!

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    Kirrie, thanks for sharing the info on Elizabeth Gilbert. If only we could all write an “Eat Pray Love” bestseller! But you get to the heart of the issue for me: I can’t do everything, can’t make everyone happy. Thanks for the reminder!!

  5. Pingback: Betty Ming Liu Quits Her Job: Liberated Time Management in Action! - Hillary Rettig

  6. Betty, you are such an inspiration! I love your honest commitment to your passions and to your personal/spiritual well-being. I look forward to hearing about your new journey!

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    Gigi, thanks for sticking with me. Btw, I’ve gotten quite a few private emails from folks who wish they could go full-tilt in pursuit of their dreams. It’s scary. All I can say is that it really helps to have a nest egg. Savings = power. Money = power. Or at least, it can’t hurt in this situation!

  8. What you have just done, I did at 30 and things didn’t work out but it changed my life for the better and helped me to know what I didn’t want. You have teaching experience and you are an artist so you should be able to support yourself and your daughter’s college without dipping too much into your savings. You are single head of household so hopefully that allows her to apply for FAFSA and or/some scholarship monies and student loans. Dating: now that is another thing. Once you are off the race track, it’s hard getting your motor running and getting back in the race. You’ve been away for 2 years. So slowly find your way back on the race track and then blend in and take off! Once she is securely settled away at college, you will have all the free time in the world to concentrate on you. Add some volunteering to your busy schedule and you just might find someone who has a lot in common with you. Good luck and God bless. I’ll continue to follow your blog.

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    Sandy, you make me want to weep! Thank you for your confidence in me: “You have teaching experience and you are an artist so you should be able to support yourself and your daughter’s college without dipping into your savings.” Amen, Sister. :)

    1. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be afraid. You have to worry about two of you so, yes, be very afraid and then forget it and get down to work finding jobs to keep that kid in college. Of course, if she applies for Financial Aid by the deadline of March 1, 2014, for Fall 2014, she probably will get it because your income will not be that much for 2013 so she qualifies! You two might have to give up a few things (I should say 3 because there’s a cute dog involved) but you’ll make it because you are talented and very attractive…and because you have a lot of friends and family who care what happens to you. As long as you don’t doubt yourself, you’ll make it. Also, don’t be afraid of getting older–I don’t think you are going to live out the rest of your life alone. There is someone coming into your life with this new change. Everything happens for a reason!

    2. From Beliefnet.com
      “Applying for college scholarships requires you to risk putting yourself out there,” says author Kristina Ellis in Confessions of a Scholarship Winner . Here are some of her favorite tips for winning the funding you need to go to school. The first: Be Fearless! “I’ve found a certain amount of fearlessness evident in people who succeed, and especially in major scholarship winners. That passion and burning desire to find success motivated me in my scholarship quest, and it can surpass all the fears or doubts that try to hold any student back.” Does being fearless mean that you’re never afraid? Absolutely not. It just means reaching deeper within—past the doubts—to find the courage to overcome whatever might be getting in your way. You may get rejected sometimes, but if you don’t put yourself out there, you won’t win anything. So give yourself a chance! Fearlessly put yourself in a position to succeed . . . and see what happens!”
      http://www.beliefnet.com/Love-Family/Galleries/The-Key-to-a-Scholarship-Be-Fearless.aspx?source=NEWSLETTER&nlsource=38&ppc=&utm_campaign=Prayer&utm_source=NL&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_term=hotmail.com

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    Hillary, the post looks great! I am so honored. And yes, that particular image you chose is actually one whole image. Thanks so much. And I just followed you on Twitter, in hopes that your blog on NOT procrastinating will keep me on track.

    Sooooo, this is my first day as a full-time entrepreneur. The adventure begins!

  11. Wow, I’m impressed. OK, you have my support! If you want to start a kickstarter campaign (which is a good idea to help pre-sell your book) I’ll pre-buy one. And I’ll try to arm-twist our other class-mates into doing likewise if you want. Good luck!! xoxox

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