Yep, that’s right, I quit my job. Before Christmas. With no other job to go to. I realise how utterly ridiculous that sounds and if anyone had told me that 6 months ago I’d have had the same reaction. Are they f****** crazy? And the answer yes, a little but there comes a time when you know it’s time to quit your job. Let me explain.
I’ve always had a full time job. Like most people, that regular income every month is a security blanket that pays the mortgage, lets us go on holidays and keeps those online shopping habits in check. But, recently it became more and more difficult to maintain that 9-5 with blogging and taking on more freelance work. For the first time, work was actually getting in the way. of what I actually wanted to do. I was turning down more opportunities every week and having to avoid subjects I was passionate about for Glamour and Marie Claire to avoid conflict. That, combined with a new direction the magazine was going in became more and more difficult for me to drum up the enthusiasm to go to the office everyday, which has never happened before.
I’ve always been someone who has to LOVE their job. I can’t do a job properly unless I give 110% to it and for that to happen, I have to want to go to work and almost look forward to it on Sunday night. This was not happening. And it was about four months ago that I knew I had to quit my job. There was an…incident. One that violated my personal life and it resulted me losing faith and trust in what I was a part of. It became clear that while blogging is an exciting and integral part of the journalism industry now, there are some that don’t quite get it. And what people don’t ‘get’ makes them feel uncomfortable. Out of it, even. They will see this, not as something lucrative or exciting, but as a threat, an attack on all that they know.
It’s sad and unfortunate but not at all uncommon, especially for a certain generation. But the worst kind of situations they lead to are the ones where they’re not willing to change the conversation and listen. To embrace a new medium and learn from it. Instead, it makes them feel more comfortable to metaphorically block it and beat it out of someone. To pretend it’s not happening everywhere and punish where they can. In a world where there’s flexible working hours, unlimited holiday allowance and software that lets you work from anywhere, to be told you can’t do something nowadays is a very dated style of management. From Alessandra Steinherr to Pandora Sykes – magazines are embracing the potential of this new industry and using it to everyone’s advantage.
Which leads me on to how I quit my job! I’ve always considered myself a very creative person. I might not be able to paint as well as my sister (seriously, check this out!) but I’m creative in different visual ways and I find any suppression of that really difficult to take. As cheesey as it sounds, I feel like it’s killing my soul. So, after many sleepless nights and getting pretty much everyone from Toff to my parents to the postman’s view on it, I handed in my notice for a freelance career. Eeek! But the thought that carried me through it all was – I work this hard to someone else and get nothing back, why don’t I work this hard for myself? Plus, as I neared my 30th birthday, it was now or never.
No more regular income or pension but also no more working through lunch so I can have a bloody smear test or be subjected to the equivalent of a school detention if I’m stuck in traffic. It’s terrifying but I’ve never been so excited or liberated to take on the unknown in my life. With the decision made, I feel like I’ve become a stronger person for it already so I wanted to share a couple of things I noticed that made me know it was the right time to quit my job.
YOU’RE NOT LEARNING ANYMORE
I’m a big believer that as soon as you can do your job with your eyes closed, it might be time to move on. If you’re not learning anything new then you’ll become too comfortable and won’t progress in your future. Working your way up in the same company is ideal if you’re continuously pushing yourself and taking on more responsibility but there comes a time where you’ll be unemployable elsewhere if you’ve only ever stayed in one place.
YOU GET THAT BACK TO SCHOOL FEELING
Ugh there’s nothing worse than that dread which fills the pit of your stomach on a Sunday night. The clock taunting you with every passing hour as your freedom slips away. I had this feeling when I was commuting to London. I could hear the trains on Sunday night as I lay in bed and wanted to cry at the thought of being on them in a few hours. I knew then that it was time to quit my job. Life is too short to feel like this.
YOU DAYDREAM ABOUT OTHER JOBS OR PLACES YOU WANT TO BE
Everyone daydreams of being on a beach every now and again but if the dream is being a novelist or a dog walker, it’s time to consider other pathways. Yes it will be scary and there’s a hundred reasons why you shouldn’t but the overriding reason should be that it will make you happy. If you believe you’re destined for bigger and better things, it’s your responsibility to make that happen.
THE OUTCOMES YOU WORK TOWARDS MEAN NOTHING TO YOU
“I hate being good at my job” said no one, ever! But if you’re acing it in the 9-5 and feel empty at the praise then it’s a warning sign that this job isn’t for you. Why? Because it’s not where your passion lies. I’m OK with saying I was good at my day job, it was effortless, but the praise I got rolled off my back. But working hard to get a freelance pitch or a blog post I’m really proud of, makes me giddy because it’s all so important to me.
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