Quitting my job with no back-up plan (part 1)
Growing up, I never really knew what I wanted to be, other than successful. At the time I wanted to earn lots of money, but I didn’t have any direction. I fell into a career in advertising about 8 years ago when I was on quest to find a project manger role in London (i was moving from Brighton at the time.) Like an excitable teenager, I had an eagerness to learn and a willingness to say yes to anything and everything.
A lot has changed during my professional journey; I no longer define “success” by my title or how much money I earn. I realise now looking back, my priorities and life values have significantly changed over time.
So, how did I come to quit my job with no back up plan?
It was the day before my 30th birthday. I just had the best summer of my life; I married my best friend – Rich, had the most amazing holiday surrounded by wonderful friends and family and was unbelievably excited about the future I was going to build with my soul mate. With all these amazing things happening in my life it’s hard to admit it, but I was miserable.
I had only recently moved companies and was extremely excited about my new role. I absolutely loved what I did and had always considered myself good at my job, from winning awards to being ranked top biller on the leader board, there were some small (and big) wins to be extremely proud of.
However, for some reason I slowly started to fall out of love with what I was doing, questioning if it was really what I wanted to be doing for the rest of my life.
The tipping point
As my role became less enjoyable, I began to struggle, but decided to stick at it. I decided to work hard, get my head down and just power on through. What a mistake that was. For 9 months leading up to the moment I threw in the towel, I was in a constant conflict with my head and my heart and because of that I suffered from the following:
- Sleepless nights
- Regular panic attacks at the thought of being stuck in my job forever
- Negative thought patterns
I was exhausted, miserable and saw no way out. I didn’t recognise who I was and I hated who I was becoming.
I was suffering from a burn-out.
Negative thoughts started to take over:
- I can’t change careers now, I’m too old
- I have a mortgage to pay there’s no way I can leave such a well paid job and industry
- Why would anyone else hire me? I’m rubbish
With thoughts like these I knew something had to change. I felt utterly lost and like I just wanted the world to swallow me up. So I turned to family and friends. I told them how unhappy I was and that I wanted to quit my job whilst acknowledging how ridiculous an idea it was. Their advice? Quit. Why stay in a job you’re unhappy in? Life is too short.
So, the day before my 30th birthday, I walked into work, palms sweaty, hands shaking, I went into a meeting room with my boss armed with about five drafts on my phone as to what I was going to say and I did it. I quit. The feeling?
Suddenly I felt like me again, with the opportunity, to start a fresh and figure out what I really wanted to do with the rest of my life.
In part 2, I talk about the stark and scary realisation of waking up 30 and jobless. I share what I did next and how I turned things around, including some advice which I found really helpful during my darkest hour of need.
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