Let me start this by saying I am an incredibly practical person. My sensible head is always on, I kill myself through rationality, and never make spontaneous decisions. Even the suggestion of having people over for dinner needs to be run by me with at least 24hours notice. But six weeks ago, I quit my job. Albeit not completely spontaneously – I’d been thinking about it for a while. But it was not the reasonable decision and it most definitely was not sensible. Because I don’t have a new job to step into. It’s my last day tomorrow and I still don’t have a next step (yet)… Nevertheless I can say it was one of the easiest decisions I’ve ever made, and here’s why.
I got this, my first full-time, job 5 days after graduating. As I’ve probably mentioned before. It was in my chosen industry and seemed like the best possible start to a career. Plus, it was what I’d been intending since the January of my final year at university. I was determined to have a job by September at the latest, because that’s what you do. You leave your studies and enter the real world. So after barely a breather from throwing my cap, I was a London commuter paying taxes. The job was easy, and the pay was amazing compared to the hourly part-time rates I’d been used to. Within three months I was promoted – largely out of convenience for the management as I was already there, but they also recognised my ability to do well at work. This was a good thing! And made a great anecdote on the old CV.
What was a bad thing was the job itself. After a couple of weeks learning the ropes, I realised I could finish everything by 11:30am, and spent the rest of day twiddling thumbs. That’s pretty much what happened most days of the week. The ‘easy’ work was proving mind-numbing and soul-destroying. My brain wasn’t being used, and the intense frustration that I find comes with boredom was increasing. I arranged meetings, discussed my problems and lack of motivation, but nothing changed, because there was nothing more for me to do. Before too long, the stress (and yes, I get stressed when I have nothing to do), was building up steadily. I was getting headaches every day despite downing water religiously. I went to the dentists and they said I was grinding my teeth a lot, and I should try meditation. Body Balance once a week (yes, I know I keep harking on about it), did wonders, but it wasn’t enough. I found myself crying on my walks home. One evening, heading back from the station, I felt a stab of incredibly intense pain throughout my jaw, and realised I’d been clenching without noticing. That’s when I decided enough was enough, and my happiness and health was more important that whatever ‘security’ this position was providing.
I wouldn’t recommend you just up and leave a perfectly acceptable job. It is very seldom the clever or appropriate choice. But for me it was the right one, at the right time. I’m moving into my parents’ house to save for a house deposit, so I don’t have any immediate financial obligations for the foreseeable future. Plus, commuting from theirs would be atrocious. I doubt I’ll have the opportunity to be that bold (or stupid!) again, and I’m glad I took such a leap for the first time. It’s giving me time to reflect, re-evaluate, and work out what’s important to me. What I want to be doing and where I want to be doing it. I won’t have it all figured out next week, month, or year, but for now I’m happier than I was, and excited for the future. Whatever it may bring.
Long live spontaneity!… with good reason and a clear head.