What's a Bridge Job and Why You Might Need One to Start Your Business

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I want to dive in specifically about making your ultimate leap and share what a potential lead up may include. 

What it might include is a bridge job. What is a bridge job and do you need one in order to ultimately quit your job? Having a bridge job was extremely instrumental in my journey and it could be in your's too. 

A bridge job is a job that gets you from point A to point C. If point A is your current job and point C is the point in which you become your own boss than point B is your bridge job. It is the transitional point in your journey that helps you get closer to reaching your goal of becoming your own boss.

Not everyone has a bridge job before they make their ultimate leap and that is okay too. 

Before diving into the benefits of a bridge job and why it might make sense to get one, I want to back up and look at the journey as a whole. 

When you're considering starting your own business and making the ultimate leap, there are three key phases: The Lead-Up, Leap, Land.  

Everything you do during the lead-up phase will determine the success of your leap and land; building your client list, validating your services, generating revenue and more. 

The Lead-Up phase is where the potential bridge job is. 

Everyone's lead up is different from one person's to the next. For some, it is 3 months before their ultimate leap, for other's like mine, it was 18 months. 

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    I started working at Target straight out of college when I was 22, in West Des Moines, IA as an Executive Team Leader. I managed everything soft lines: RTW, men's, B&G, infants, shoes, accessories. I had 4 direct reports. Within 6 months of being at Target, I knew that it wasn't my end game. Yet I was torn because there I was 22, had incredible benefits, making a decent salary for a recent graduate and on the hi potential track.

    If anyone tuning is works or has worked in retail then you can relate when I say, "retail does not sleep." You're easily working 50-60 hours a week, holidays, weekends, staying late and going in early. 

    When I was at Target, my schedule didn't leave a lot of time so that I could even begin to explore what else was out there. I was also energetically drained when I'd go home that I would have zero desire to even think. 

    I needed to create more margin. More time in my schedule.

    My day off during the week was Wednesday and towards the end of my Target career, I spent my Wednesday's looking for a bridge job. Although I didn't know it was called a bridge job at the time. 

    I was so torn. Toward the end of my Target days, I'd go in and it would be a "good day" and then the next day would be an "I'm quitting day" but not actually mean it.

    Until one Monday after working 11 out of the past 13 days, 12-hour shifts, I found myself in tears, emotionally broken down and that is when I made the decision that I was going to leave. 

    When I actually made the decision that I was leaving, it was all a matter of me reaching out to a handful of people in my network to find that my previous boss who I trained under, had left Target and started as a contract recruiter through a 3rd party agency at Wells Faro, that within 72 hours I had an interview set up with the agency. 

    After my interview with the agency, I received an offer within a few days. I accepted and put in my two weeks notice at Target. 

    Going from Target to working at Wells Faro was a scarier leap. The position at Wells Fargo was interim, meaning I could have shown up on day one and them tell me they no longer need my services.  At the time I left Target I was making just over $52,000. When I left to work at WF through the agency, I lost all my benefits and took a $10,000 pay cut. 

    I had my rent payment, my car payment, insurance, $55K in student loans. Barely anything saved.

    Risky is all in the eyes of the beholder. You just have to know what your level of risk is. 

    At that moment I trusted my gut in the decision to leave Target. I left Target at the end of June 2011. 

    While I was at Wells Fargo, I picked up a PT job at a gym so I could help offset some of loss of income, get a free gym membership and use the time sitting at the front desk as a chance to read and educate myself. 

    Working at Wells Fargo also gave me so much time back. This was the margin that I needed. 

    It is because of that margin I am where I am today. 

    Had I waited to leave Target, I would have worked the weekend I attended an event in Chicago, and never I met Chad Carden who first hired me as a subcontractor to work one of his projects in May 2012. 

    It was tempting to push back my end date at Target because had I waited another 2 weeks I would have received a $1,000 gift card for referring a friend. But it just wasn't worth it. I knew that I was way too vulnerable and needed to leave right then and there, otherwise I might not have ever left. 

    A bridge job gives you back time, space and energy, it gives you margin. 

    The Benefits of a Bridge Job:

    • Gain perspective. We pick up thought patterns and beliefs that don't always serve us in the best way possible. And if we're constantly surrounded by one set of beliefs, it is more difficult to think any differently. Surrounding yourself around co-workers who are completely bought into something that you can't fully get behind and causes you to question your desires, finding a bridge job can help you. So if the idea of making the ultimate leap from where you are right now is too much or scary, consider a bridge job. 

    • Typically a bridge job is a job that doesn't require as many hours a week as what your current job may require. Consider if you're in a role that has you traveling, on the road every single week. You're constantly on the go and lack downtime to even think. For me, I went from 60 hours a week to 40 hours at Wells Fargo plus another 10 at the gym. Even though I was working only 10 hours less each week, I wasn't expending the same kind of energy I previously was at Target. When I started subcontracting for multiple Chad's, I was on a plane every single week but it was exciting and new, the work I did while I was traveling was energizing. I have a whole podcast about certain habits that drain your energy. If you do something for 2 hours but it energizes you vs something for 30 minutes that depletes your energy, the 30 minutes of doing something your dread costs you more than the 2 hours because it is energy draining vs energy giving. 

    How to go about finding a bridge job:

    • A quick and easy way to finding a bridge job is that you could simple, go through a 3rd party agency and see what type of job opportunities they have. 

    • Take time to understand the type of work you enjoy and be intentional in finding that bridge job vs taking whatever comes along. 

    • Because it is a bridge job you want to go into it with the mindset that you're only going to be working at the bridge job for a certain amount of time. Which then you must plan what you're going to do with your time while in your bridge job. How are you going to strategize and how will you take massive action towards building your business. Be intention. 

    If you're going from a super intense, close to burnout work environment to quitting with zero plan,  I compare it to doing a super intense HIT workout class and skipping the cool-down on your way out. You could potentially injure yourself by not stretching. 

    Of course, you're not going to injury yourself physically by going from 100 to 0 but it does leave you susceptible to mental chatter. I've seen it happen. A lot. 

    If you can't find the time or energy to find clients and work on your business while working full-time, I highly recommend considering a bridge job. 

    I'd love to know what you thought about this blog post. Come hang out with me on Instagram @shediditherway. :)

    Until next time, giving you ALL my best!

    Amanda Boleyn