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Five Things I've Learned Since Leaving Radio

Updated: Nov 27, 2023

Rachel Gilbert in the radio studio

It’s been just over one year since I quit doing my morning radio show (in June 2022) to pursue my voiceover side-hustle full-time. Here are five things I’ve learned since leaving radio:

1. You’ll know when it’s time to move on

I want to preface this by saying, this isn’t an absolute. Many people leave their jobs not through choice. Laid off, downsized, their job was eliminated; whatever you want to call it, some people don’t have a choice to leave their job. That’s not what I’m talking about here. In my case, and certainly in many other people’s cases (as they’ve told me), they just knew it was the right time to move on. You may never know for sure/absolutely/definitely/100%, but in my case, many things aligned that pointed me toward my new path. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t sad! But by the end, it wasn’t as fulfilling as it had once been and I knew my time there had run its course.

2. There are many ways to pursue your passion

Radio is my first love. I love the people, the listeners, the freedom for daily creativity and the connection. Also, radio people are ‘my people’. We’re all a little bit eccentric in the same way (and I mean that in the best way possible!) and there’s nothing like being around creative people every day. It was fun, rewarding and the building was always full of creative energy, buzzing through the hallways. I honestly never thought I’d leave. But, slowly, I started to feel more fulfilled by running my own business, watching it grow by cultivating relationships with clients and making my own money. There’s a direct correlation between my workoutput and my income and I liked that. Plus, as a voice over artist, it wasn’t too far removed from radio. There are some significant differences, to be sure, but it’s not completely different in terms of creativity. In the end, I knew it was time to go. So, my former co-hosts and I started a podcast to fill that gap. There’s more than one way to pursue your passion.

3. Sometimes your goals change

And that’s OK! I started in radio at age 22 and it was my goal to be on a morning show some day. I accomplished that and was happy where I was; thrilled even. But after 11 years of doing it and 8 years of side-hustling at my voice over business, my long term goal slowly changed from working for someone else to working for myself.

4. Calculated risks are worth it

The key word here is “CALCULATED”. I wouldn’t suggest making a huge life change on a whim, but that’s your prerogative. And, again, it’s rare that any change comes with 100% certainty, but if you’ve done your research, financial planning, background checking etc and you’re fairly sure it’ll pan out, betting on yourself is a good thing. I didn’t know for sure if I would flourish or flop but I’m happy to report it’s (mostly) the former.

5. Your mental health is more important than your job

This is a biggie; I could write a book on this! I started struggling with my mental health about a year after I started waking up at 3:30am to do a radio show. It was bad for me both mentally and physically but I pushed through for 11 years because I thought I was lucky to be in such a coveted position and it was worth the sacrifice. I did this while having two babies and raising a young family. After many years of managing it (therapy, exercise, meditation, managing sleep etc), I came to realize the sacrifice wasn’t worth it anymore and no one was going to rescue me but me. Your job doesn’t care about you as much as you care about it.



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