The Fear of Burning Bridges

Is the act of leaving a well-paid, safe job behind to become an entrepreneur really such a small thing to do? I do read the occasional “I finally did it” blog post but there’s not much out there on the topic. Maybe it’s just me thinking about it too much (I’m pretty sure it is). But at the same time, I know so many people stuck in corporate jobs who dream about doing their own thing. I also know a bunch of people who finally did it and ended up in therapy because the uncertainties of being on your own were pretty hard to handle.

I did it once. Left my full-time position in one of Germany’s top 10 companies for a career as a pop star. But I had planned it for years. I racked up enough money to keep me afloat for a few years, finished the project I managed, and basically eased out of it while leaving a good reputation behind. Hoping that I could come back later if things didn’t work out as planned (which is exactly what happened in the end).

But while I was on the road with my band partying in hotel rooms, singing on the big stages, I was always accompanied by that fear that staying out of IT for too long would obstruct my way back. That that “hole” in my resume would not allow me to find a decent job if I ever decided to become an employee again. It was that fear — along with a few shitty music business experiences — which brought me back. And honestly, in the beginning, it felt good to be back.

I’m doing consulting at the moment, mostly at my old company, and it’s become a pretty annoying job. The company has changed. More beaurocracy, more pressure, less freedom, bad hiring, lots of firing, and — worst of all — there’s no way to move within the company, to gain some new experiences. I’m given a lot more responsibility with a lot more stress and I guess I’d be happy if I wanted to go for some career within the company. But I don’t. So it becomes pretty pointless.

I know what I want. You know what I want. You’re reading this blog. Why is it so hard to just do it? Because again, I’m busy making sure there’s always a way back. Not disappointing people, leaving a good reputation behind, racking up more money, waiting for the right moment to do it. But that “right moment” may never come. And as many entrepreneurs rightfully point out, the “right moment” was yesterday. So in the end, what I’m afraid of is going over that bridge and not being able to turn around if it turns out to be a dead end.

But isn’t life all about going forward? Of course. Time moves in one direction only. We’re all going to die at some point. I’d also like to ride that wave of life without holding onto the past, to see where it takes me. But I know that I’m not there yet. It’s the core issue I need to deal with right now. And I will. I hope my next post about this will be the “I finally did it” type post.