I’ve Quit My Day Job
“Shit! What happened????”
Was the text reply from my friend when I informed her I had handed my notice in at my day job working in quite possibly the coolest, funniest and up and coming radio station. She thought I’d had a fallout or done something bad. I mean, why the heck would anyone quit a job where you can get away with doing the splits in the office, meet Cheryl Cole AND wear a giant Lindt wrapper on your head all in one day? (Alongside doing important, hard work of course!).
First things first, I love where I work. The people I work with are some of my closest friends whom I love dearly. Our office is very busy, very hard working but it is fun and vibrant. No two days are ever the same. My station also happens to be smashing listening figures and targets which is a great position to be in and makes me very proud to be a part of the team.
So, why am I leaving?
At the start of this year I set up a group on Facebook to follow the practices outlined in the book ‘The Magic’ by Rhonda Byrne. If you’ve read my blog recently you may have read some of my posts on it and how it’s really helped people be grateful for their day to day lives. It’s helped relationships, money worries, health issues, job problems and just generally made those who have followed it feel more upbeat and positive about their lives.
One of the practices in The Magic is to focus on your top 10 desires in many different areas of your life. One of those areas is Career/Work. I got chatting to a couple of people about this and someone asked me what my dream job would be. Now, if you had asked me this question 5 years ago I would’ve said playing Sally Bowles in Cabaret on a West End stage. However, 5 years down the line and lots has changed, mainly I’ve gained a husband and a child! The reality of a job starring in a musical each night doesn’t fit with my desire for a happy family life. My husband would have to leave his job of 12 years which he adores and we would never see one another. Plus being Sally Bowles requires dancing in your knickers every night which would’ve been OK 5 years ago, but not so much now!
Anyway, I digress. Back to dream jobs. When I sat down and really thought about it my dream job wasn’t actually the work I do, it was the time it takes. For the last 18 months I have worked my day job at the radio station and also worked as a freelance writer, social media manager, photographer and videographer. My freelance work has been done every night at my computer and on the weekends. Whilst it has been fun and the extra money has come in very handy to help pay for Blake’s childcare costs (over £600 a month – yikes) our quality of life as a family has really suffered. If you know me personally you’ll know I’m full of beans and don’t need much sleep to survive. I blame almost a decade of Breakfast radio, getting up at 4:30am on my ability to function on 4 or 5 hours sleep a night. It’s meant I have sat here at my computer writing, editing, creating until the early hours much to the annoyance of my poor husband who has to listen to the tap bash tap of the keyboard and then my electric toothbrush whirring at 2am before I jump under the covers. Whilst I am perfectly able to work a 17 hour day, he does need his sleep and this really hasn’t been fair on him.
I had suggested quitting my day job a few months ago to Shaun but he wasn’t keen. He sees the day job as secure and more attractive. Holiday pay, sick pay, commission and a regular wage was ‘safe’ and secure. Whilst I felt valued and part of a thriving team I wouldn’t ever bank on my job being secure. I’ve been part of radio stations that have gone through two rounds of redundancies and I was fully aware that my particular team was a lot bigger in numbers than other radio stations in our group. Shaun’s job provides him with luxuries like a pension, great overtime and shares. If we were to have another child, my day job does provide statutory maternity pay which is fantastic and I was very grateful to receive this once I’d had Blake, but being set up as self employed means I could claim the exact same amount in Maternity Allowance anyway. I don’t have a pension, I don’t have shares. But I do have a regular monthly wage and the inner fear that leaving it all behind would be committing career suicide. After all, quitting my last radio job at Rock FM as a presenter is one of my biggest regrets.
The Wake Up Call
At the beginning of January I found a lump in my breast. Now, as the title of this blog suggests I have rather large boobs. They get in the way. All the time! So as soon as I found the lump I knew it felt different to normal and I started to worry. My doctor told me I would have to wait for 6 weeks to be referred for a breast ultrasound or mammogram so I took my health into my own hands and paid for a private scan. Thankfully, it all came back clear but with a few recommendations for lifestyle changes and a re-scan in 3 months time.
The wait for the results was awful. I was in the middle of my Attitude of Gratitude 28 day challenge and was trying my hardest to be upbeat and positive. I remained upbeat in the day to all around me but at night I couldn’t sleep and found myself sliding alongside my sleeping baby boy in the early hours, cradling him, smelling him, just drinking him in and fighting back tears. I felt scared. I felt guilty “what if I leave Blake without a Mummy?”. And for a whole week I downed tools on my freelance work, went to bed at a decent hour and spent every single moment I could with my boys. It was the wake up call I needed. In that moment of panic, the most important thing in my world was my family. Not my day job, not my night job, but my son and my husband.
I sat down with Shaun and we took a long, hard and harsh look at our finances. We worked out that I could sacrifice my day job and the regular wage by using the daytime hours to complete my freelance work and make a saving by taking Blake out of childcare in the afternoons. Massive spending changes would need to take place and seeing it all laid out and how much money I have frittered away actually made me feel a bit sick. Coffees, lunches in city centre eateries, shoes, restaurant meals and clothes had all eaten away at our monthly household budget. Take those away, start a savings challenge, plan our meals and take a bit off the childcare bill means that the freelance projects should actually work out. As long as the work keeps coming in of course. This I am confident of, after all, I don’t mind working anywhere and I like to work hard. So if I lose my clients and it all comes crashing down I’ll pick myself up and do whatever I can.
Whilst the prospect of leaving my job and my wonderful friends is upsetting me and the thought of working for myself is daunting I know that if I don’t at least risk it, I’ll always wonder that big “what if?”. I’ll also be able to have more time with Blake, be a better wife, keep the house in good order and hopefully have decent quality time with Shaun in the evenings. All the while whilst working on some exciting projects and developing new ones. This is the theory anyway!
I’ve come across some great quotes whilst pondering this huge decision and the one below was my favourite. This is a pic of me chasing the birds on the shore of Fraser Island on our honeymoon. I’ve just added the text and this will be getting printed out and put on my home office wall to remind me every day of the task I have ahead in creating my own business:
If you’re reading this and you’ve quit your job to follow your dream, let me know. How was it? If you’re reading this and you’re thinking about it, I hope you find the courage to see your plans through and chase your dreams.