What's the biggest risk you've taken?

I resigned from my digital marketing job earlier this month. Some people tell me I was brave to take that leap, which lights up an alert in my brain telling me I am being irresponsible. So I have been thinking about risk a lot: who gets to take risks and whether, for those who take them and are lauded for it, their choices even count as risk-taking. 
My plan in 2019 is to spend 75% of my time freelancing in marketing, branding and copywriting (oh hi btw, hire me*) and 25% scaling up and professionalising WIFP, getting proper funding and turning it into a fully-fledged organisation.
So I do have plans for after the end of my notice period (which, since I am lucky to live in Europe, is three months), but nothing signed. That’s where the risk element comes into play, and also where people’s perception differs depending on what you look like.  
A few years ago, non-binary single-mum Jack Monroe rose to prominence on the British cooking scene thanks to her blog, Cooking on a Bookstrap, and subsequent anti-poverty campaigning. Previously, she had worked for the fire service but had to quit because they refused to make necessary schedule adjustments for childcare. Monroe ended up living on benefits and has spoken in detail about the struggle of it. The reasons that lead to my resignation and hers are widely different. Having a child to take care of, she obviously took an even bigger risk than me. Yet many people, who might find my risk-taking as a cis, white woman “brave” heavily criticised her as being lazy and living off the state. Similar criticisms are levelled at many people of colour when they take a leap which, if they were white, would be considered as just another risk.
Being able to take a risk in a way that is valued by society is a privilege which doesn’t just come from having a good degree and a good support network. It helps to look like what centuries of literature, decades of movies and a few years of Silicon Valley founders have told us successful risk-takers look like. In short, it helps to be white, cis and even more to be male with a good degree.

How about you? What's the biggest risk you've taken and how was it received? How did you deal with the worry? Email us about your experience and we will share in our next newsletter.

Lucie Goulet
Women in Foreign Policy founder