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.