Quitting My Job to Follow My Passion

Quitting My Job to Follow My Passion
A month ago I was living at home and working 9-5 in an office that destroyed my mental health. Now I’m a flat 400 miles from my family home and I left the office job behind. I definitely don’t do things by halves, but I don’t regret quitting my miserable job.
 
I finished school with no idea what I wanted to do with my life, with no confidence in myself or my skills. What did I want to be? Who did I want to be? Unsure of the paths I could have taken and desperate to get away from school, I chose to start work as soon as I could.
 
I liked learning, but I never liked school. Some of my teachers encouraged me to go to university. But after people bullying me for years I knew I had to escape the education system and the people that upset me. This hit my future career prospects the hardest; I couldn’t aim as high as I wanted to with a basic education level.
 
I moved on from working in hospitality to getting a 9-5 job in an office. Society tells us that’s what growing up is. I earned more money, had every weekend off, and a ‘real job’. But because of my fear of failure and disappointing people, I stayed. I didn’t want people to think I couldn’t hack it, that I found all this grown up stuff so difficult.
 

Quitting my job scared me

 
But staying took a huge toll on my mental health; and I spent a lot of time crying and staring at the walls. I stopped going out and looking after myself, and either had no time or no energy to be creative. I needed drastic change, else I felt doomed to be this miserable until I retired.
 

So what did I do?

 
Nothing would improve if I stayed the same, so I sought change. I started this blog a year ago as a way to help myself, and others like me who were struggling with their mental health. It opened my eyes. I wanted to write. What did I want to do though? What could I do? My lack of further education set me back, and I only had a few years of work experience, and none in a creative industry. It was a huge risk, but I knew quitting my job would be the answer.
 
Quitting my job and moving away forced me to re-evaluate my wants and aspirations. I wasn’t going to let a lack of experience in a creative field stop me from going after my dream. Freelancing seemed like an option only available to the rich and privileged; who had worked at the top for many years. But there are a ton of creative people like me who wanted to break away from the 9-5 and freelancing was their only way out.
 
Failure terrified me – I wondered how it would look if I couldn’t make this work. But what if I could?
 
It’s been a slow process, but I’m happy with my progress so far. I’ve been officially freelancing for 3 months now, and I’ve had a few pieces published here and there. My blog is now self-hosted and looks professional. I have plans and a few things in the pipeline, so I’m feeling optimistic. But it’s not been easy. I’ve had a lot of doubts and rejections and setbacks, and I’ve had to look for a job whilst it picks up so I don’t run out of money. But I’m happy with my journey so far.
 
Turns out, I could make this work. I’m so glad I tried.
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14 Comments

  1. January 25, 2019 / 12:44 pm

    I can relate to this so so much. It’s actually very similar, which is kind of creepy. I also work a crappy job (but in food) and I quit college because I hated it and it was destroying my mental health, but now so is my job. I’ve been there 4 years but it’s gotten worse over the years and I’d love to move out and write for a living, but the thing that stops me is health insurance, which is too expensive and I get very cheap at work.

    But to someone who’s in a situation like you were, it’s super inspirational and I’m glad you’re able to do what you love 🙂

    • Zoe
      Author
      January 26, 2019 / 4:25 pm

      It sucks feeling like you’re stuck somewhere you don’t want to be. Do you have time to write in your spare time, when you’re not at work? You never know what could happen!

  2. January 25, 2019 / 9:22 pm

    Great post! I would love to leave my job all together and write for a living as well. That was the plan for a minute but I freaked out and just stayed at my job. Truth is my current job and relationship both have been affecting my mental health. Your post is very inspiring and I appreciate you for speaking your truth!

    • Zoe
      Author
      January 26, 2019 / 4:29 pm

      Life’s too short to be working a job that makes you miserable. Not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to just quit though so I understand where you’re coming from, and freelancing is hard. Use your free time to work on your writing and pitch to editors. You never know where it could lead you – and at least you’d be doing something you love!

  3. January 26, 2019 / 8:34 am

    Thank you so much for this. It completely resonated with me too! I was in a few different admin jobs for the last 4 years. As a maker and ideas person it was the last thing to go into for my mental health, but I did it anyway because I saw it as that 9-5 ‘real’ job!! I’m now trying to shift my thinking to go for something that will make me feel happier, fulfilled and look out for my health and I’m surprised how hard I’m finding it to make the shift! It really has affected my mental health. Reading your post and the comments here really helped. Its fantastic to hear you made that big change. Keep going! X

    • Zoe
      Author
      January 26, 2019 / 4:31 pm

      It’s amazing how society has made everyone think that the only ‘real job’ is a Monday to Friday 9-5, when in fact any job is a real job no matter what you do or when you work. And you deserve to do something you enjoy! Office jobs sucked all the colour out of my life, I’d never ever do one again. Do you know what it is you want to do instead?

      • January 31, 2019 / 10:56 am

        Yesss its exactly that isn’t , and it’s funny that even though I wouldn’t describe myself as a typical ‘office worker’ that mentality has still sunk in! I’m not 100% sure what I’d like to do instead and that’s where the confusion comes in. But I think I’d like to train as a coach and run a mix of coaching and craft workshops. Did you know you wanted to write? What sort of jobs did you do until you could go freelance?

  4. January 27, 2019 / 1:52 pm

    That’s so great to hear, I’m so glad it’s going well for you. I totally feel this post, I find myself stuck in a bit or a rut at the moment and not being able to find a way out. I’m tired of my job and how much time it sucks out of everything I actually want to do, and being a freelance writer is something I’ve thought about for a while, but I have absolutely no idea where or how to start. Xxx

  5. January 27, 2019 / 5:31 pm

    The one thing that is stopping me from quitting my job to follow my passion is the financial aspect of it all, I want to go freelance in writing but worried about the money side of things, also I have no idea how and where to start xx

    Lucy | http://www.lucymary.co.uk

  6. January 27, 2019 / 6:52 pm

    This is such a big step that you should be super proud of! It’s so great to hear that you’re taking control of what you want and have left a miserable job behind. Good luck! x

    https://www.femaleoriginal.com

  7. January 27, 2019 / 8:05 pm

    Massive well done for quitting your job and putting yourself and passions first! It sounds like it is all starting to fall into place and you have control over everything – including your health. I’m also quitting my job on Thursday to pursue my passions and start a career – I”m so nervous but I hope it will pay off and is the right thing to do. Good luck with your future.
    Liz x
    whatlizloves.com

  8. January 28, 2019 / 8:45 am

    Great post! It takes a lot of courage to do what you have done. Best of luck for your freelancing journey!

  9. February 15, 2019 / 10:28 am

    I’m starting to feel like we are twins, to be honest! Haha 🙂 It’s an awful situation to feel trapped in a job you don’t like and I can completely relate to that feeling of not wanting to leave and let people down. It feels like it’s what is supposed to be done, but not necessarily what YOU are supposed to do. It takes a lot of courage to make a change like that and you should be very proud of yourself. Best of luck with the freelancing!

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