I've pondered this question a lot. If my books were profitable enough that I could do nothing but be an author full time and step away from my job in Cardiology.... would I quit my job? My husband and I have actually talked about this at length before and I've wavered on my answer.
The conclusion I inevitably come to each time is... No. I wouldn't.
Why not? Well, many reasons, and I'll explain them all to you.
Firstly, I enjoy what I do. I make a real difference in the lives of my patients, caring for them, praying with them, helping them through terrifying things. Cardiology is different from a lot of other branches of medicine. Your heart is the engine that keeps you alive. Your heart being unhealthy is really terrifying for patients and their family members. I like being the light in the darkness, the person to explain and shepherd patients and caregivers through the twists and turns of their heart health. I like being able to pray with them after losing a spouse, or talk to them about the merits of different skilled nursing facilities for their parents. These connections with other people make me feel worthy. Purposeful. Selfless. Helping others is something that gives my life meaning, and I don't know that I would ever be able to fully walk away from that.
Secondly, I'm good at my job. Co-workers and physicians look to me, seek me out, ask me for help. After as many years as I've been doing this, I get a lot of satisfaction out of knowing that I do my job really well. Knowing that people consider me as someone who has mastered my role in the clinic. It makes me realize how far I've come, appreciate how hard i've worked, and look forward to how far I'll go in the future.
Thirdly, even if I go down to only part-time... there are still a ton of benefits to keeping my job. Actual benefits. Retirement, health insurance, etc. Those are things that you have to take care of yourself when you're self employed. It's true that I could get on my husband's insurance plan and since I'm fully vested in my retirement policy I could take it with me, but I like being able to manage those benefits through my job. To have them contribute to my retirement each year, to get paid vacation time and be guaranteed a job. There's security in that.
What about you? Would you quit your job to write full time? Or not? Tell me why??