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The In-Between Time in Your Career: 3 Things That Got Me Through It.

The In-Between Time in Your Career: 3 Things That Got Me Through It.

Being between jobs, or waiting for the next right work to reveal itself, is just hard. Not to mention that long period before a new business will pay the bills (and wondering if it ever will).

I always wondered how people managed those in-between times.

When I first wished for and wondered about self-employment, and was burning out in the job I was in, I remember feeling discouraged, that self-employment would never actually work for me. At the same time I didn’t want a boss any longer. So I felt stuck in the hallway.

I was in the in-between time: Ready for one door to close before I could see the next door open. Not comfortable.

I’ll explain 3 key ingredients that got me through that time. All 3 were eye-openers for me.

1. Keep Going

When I was fretting about my stuck situation one day, a self-employed acquaintance said to me, “Self-employment is really just a matter of perseverance. It takes a while, but it can definitely work for you if you keep going.”

I was a bit shocked that he was so confident about it. And it also gave me a glimmer of hope.

It turned out to be true for me. I stayed the course. It worked.

Perseverance is huge. No matter what hill you’re trying to climb. That’s ingredient #1.

If you’ve ever made it up a hill, out of breath yet victorious, you can do this in-between time too. We can do hard things. It can even be fun sometimes.

Perseverance until you get there, can be like a climbing adventure.

And yet, it’s more than purely staying the same course. What about income in the meantime?

There are at least a couple more key ingredients I needed for this in-between part of the journey.

2. Learn to see “dead ends” as detours.

Getting somewhere better is not just about persistence on the same narrow path without question. No.

It’s about perseverance PLUS correcting course as you go, based on what you learn as you go.

Sign pointing the way.I had to pay attention to and follow the signs. This way is draining? It’s a No! That way is more fun, and works better? That’s a Yes, more of that please.

In order to see each sign, you have to keep walking on new paths until you find the next sign. That’s the hard part. Small steps help. No cliff jumping.

It can feel a bit wobbly at first, to walk down new paths.

It gets easier. And each new path will tell you the next thing.

And the next and the next. That’s it.

You’ve done this. You’ve adjusted the salt in a recipe until you liked it. No big risk. Just adjustments. It’s like that.

If you can master the art of the course correction, you can get somewhere better.

That’s the 2nd ingredient. But what about in the meantime?

3. You Need a Bridge in the Meantime…

It’s just a reality that you might need a “bridge job” or “bridge work” (like part-time contract work) to help you pay the bills in the meantime. That was my 3rd key ingredient.

For me, the “bridge work” was doing consulting for something I was already good at. It bought me time and energy to explore new things, and it meant I could easily reduce time on it as I increased time on what brought the most flow and fulfillment.

Since it was independent contractor work, for which I had to learn about contracts and billing and such, it also helped me learn about self-employment logistics.

I tried doing a 30-hour-a-week job as a bridge job but it was draining and inflexible. The self-paced, flexible consulting method ended up working better for me.

Exploring a new career, or growing a new business takes the time it takes. You can’t force it. It’s like forcing seeds to grow. Watering them is good, but tugging on sprouts doesn’t work.

A “bridge job” for now is perfectly OK and good! That’s often part of how you get there. Some people worry it means they are copping out on the dream. It’s actually a way to support it.


Warning: Not all for-now jobs are good for your progress. Make sure your “bridge job” is something that fits your energy so you can save energy for developing the bigger dream. Here’s how to choose: checklist for the right kind of bridge work.

Enjoy the bridge job as best you can. Amazing things can unfold from there.

Bridge to Self-employment?

Bridge to Self-employmentThe path to self-employment can be a long foggy road, so you need to know the steps to get there. A little hand-holding through the fog is usually needed, with business courses and/or business coaching.

I offer an online course to help you find your Bridge to Self-employment. You’ll get concrete answers to your worries about money, energy, and risk — all with introverts and highly sensitive people (HSPs) in mind.

I’m including interviews of people about how they made it through.

Learn more here. 

Summary of Making It Through

To get through the in-between times, you’ll need these 3 things for your journey:

  1. Perseverance.
  2. Notice and follow the signs as you go.
  3. Some kind of bridge to help you make ends meet for now.

Listen in on our conversation about the bridge:

  • Val Nelson podcast interview on Introversion, HSP, and the self-employment leap, on The Financially Free Woman Podcast, April 2021. [on Spotify] [on Apple] The host, Sharon Sidhu, asked me some personal questions about her own self-employment leap concerns.
Picture of Val Nelson

Val Nelson

I’ve been a self-employed career/business/purpose coach since 2009. I help introverts and HSPs (like me) who want to make a difference — in a way that fits our practical needs too.
Val Nelson | Coaching | Groups | Courses | Newsletter | LinkedIn

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