For the last week or so I’ve had time to visit my Grandad every day, go out for a walk with him and his new dog Toby, come home, go to the gym, start back at Caveman Training, catch up on Netflix shows, enjoy a home-cooked evening meal, go to bed at a decent time, relax in the bath knowing I’d done something with my day…
And not once have I felt tired.
Not once have I felt deflated.
Not once have I gone to bed dreading getting up the next morning.
Not once in the last week or so, have I felt like my days were a little bit pointless.
Not once have I felt like my life was living to work.
So, what has changed to help me feel like… Well, like I have a life again?
I quit my job.
For the first time in my life, I threw in the towel on my terms, before I became detrimental to my career and my wellbeing. I spotted that an unhealthy pattern was emerging and I thought ‘y’know what? This isn’t worth it.’
I’ve always been skeptical of these stories you read online about people who quit their job just because they didn’t like it. I found it hard to believe that these people didn’t exist without the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ to fall back on.
At the start of March I gave in my notice, with nothing lined up, with no idea of what my next step would be. I didn’t have a wod of cash stashed anywhere and I live alone, without support from anyone else. It was a little bit scary but it also felt like a weight had been lifted. The relief of leaving was more than the worry of not having a new job lined up. It was a strange feeling for a few weeks.
In the first two weeks of my 4 week notice period I applied for very specific roles. Knowing I didn’t want to work for an agency, and I was better suited to working directly with clients again. From my short time working at an agency I learnt that I just couldn’t invest in the brands, as I simply didn’t believe in them or the method in which we worked with them. There was no alignment with brand vision and there was no common ground for ideas. It was simply me, filling in content plans, only for them to be edited 15 times before we played it safe and went for substandard content which lacked creativity. There’s only so many times you can have your ideas pushed back on before you start to become disheartened and doubt your ability.
It wasn’t long until the interviews started to come through. I found recruitment agencies to be the best asset to my new job search. For some reason recruitment guys get such a bad reputation, but just like finding your new role, you have to find the right recruiter. They have to believe in your skills and experience before they can pitch you to their client.
After a few rejections here and there, I was then on to the start of week 3 of the job search and week 3 of my notice period. Still, the worry and fear of no job lined up didn’t impact on me. The funny thing is, when you’re doing a 4 hour round trip to Manchester and sitting at a job you don’t enjoy, with people being extremely negative about others all day, you kind of don’t have time for that worry. You become overcome in bitterness. Which is strange to admit, but it really did embody my entire being at some points. Absolute bitterness. I was missing out on playdates with my niece, meals out with friends, weekends had become snoozefests and I had no time to look after myself.
But the bitterness spurred my determination on.
More interviews came through.
By the end of week 3 I’d secured some second interviews for roles I really fancied. Things were definitely turning around and by the start of week 4 I had THREE job offers on the table.
That’s right – three job offers. Suddenly my bitterness and new-found lack of confidence turned around.
The first role I was offered was a Social Media and Content Marketing Manager role, for a children’s brand – it was paying the most salary, but it was based in Wrexham.
Secondly, I was offered a Social Media Curator role for a Beauty Website in Trafford Park. It seemed ideal for my skillset, but the salary was slightly lower and the location would prove to be a difficult commute.
Finally, the third job, which I chose to accept, was down the road… Literally down the road. It was where I was driving to, to catch the train to Manchester! It was for an agency… But not working client side, working as their Marketing Manager to promote their business. Helping to build their brand, to shape the future of the company.
Location, salary, job description – it all sounded perfect.
But the main aspect which confirmed the decision was the interview process itself. Whilst the other two jobs seemed the ideal, it was the experience of the interview and the fit with the team which concerned me. Increasingly we are seeing ‘culture’ being questioned on LinkedIn and industry blogs; and with good reason.
You’re at work such a large percentage of your life that it’s got to feel right when you begin your next steps in your career. I’ve never had a job where I haven’t ‘got on’ with people. But is ‘getting on’ really enough?
Now my priority is a work/life balance. After not having any balance for many years, it’s time for some *me* time, alongside my working life. I felt like the former job offers simply wouldn’t allow for this balance. It wasn’t just the hours, but it was the culture which I picked up on that contributed to this opinion. Culture is so important in the workplace nowadays and it’s something you need to be on board with from day one.
Simple things like a colleague saying ‘have a nice evening’ when you leave the office on a daily basis – knowing you actually have an evening to enjoy! It just makes such a difference. Not having people you worked with day in day out not even say a ‘nice’ goodbye on your last day, not even lift their head up from their computer and leaving a sarcastic comment in your leaving card. Don’t get me wrong; there were very nice and very positive people at that job, but it was swamped with a toxic, negative energy from a minority. You know.. The people who will no doubt be reading this post to the room and looking for places they can make a detrimental comment to have a laugh about. Perhaps that won’t happen though, but when you’ve experienced that type of behaviour over a few months, you come to expect you’ll be the next focus of the comments. It shouldn’t be like that.
But anyway, I digress….
I’ll admit, I’m finding it hard to adapt to my new found ‘life’ at the moment, but I’m keeping busy to make the most of it. I don’t feel guilty for leaving on time and when I’m early it’s because I can’t wait to start the day. There’s no unspoken competition to see who can stay the latest and no snide comments if someone nips off for their lunch. Maybe I’ve just worked in some really negative spaces before, or maybe I’m just appreciating being part of an appreciated team right now….
Either way, I’m glad I had the courage to quit.
Here’s to loving Monday’s again!