Wednesday, 8 January 2014

I quit my job, what next?

I quit my job, what next?
Serendipity, it is one of my all time favourite words in the English language. Essentially, it means a fortunate mistake, or a happy accident. That's what my last job was, a mistake that led me to some good fortune despite my crippling unhappiness there. I met Rhys from working there, and I made some irreplaceable friends, but while I was there I couldn't earn enough money and more than anything, I couldn't write what I wanted to. I never broke any social media policy and I always covered myself when it came to disclaimers, but I was still creatively silenced. Which means an uncensored version of myself is on it's way to you.

On my last day, it was lucky that it was more than quiet in the pub. To my joy, I finished my shift 2 hours early. When I clocked out, I knew I had either made a very brave decision or a very foolish one. I had this firm belief that it was the right thing to do, this wasn't a blind decision but a necessary move I had needed to make to improve my lifestyle. I needed to escape from the heavy black cloud in my life, even if another storm was on it's way to me.
As soon as I walked out of the doors and picked up my phone, I had a Tweet waiting for me. It was from my editor at GenTwenty, where I am a contributing writer. I had submitted an article on the 27th of December, called "Um, when exactly did everyone get married?" I don't know whether it was the to-the-point title, or the unmistakable honesty that seems to work it's way into most of my content, but within a week it had been shared more than 7,000 times and viewed almost 15,000. It hit me that it only takes one of those people to be the right person to read it. It seemed to kick things swiftly into motion, and when I arrived home I discovered that my blog post from the night before (about quitting) had been my most viewed post in the entire history of Goldilocks Notebook.

I could never even imagine achieving results like 7000 shares on my own blog, and writing for GenTwenty has enabled me to reach out to an audience that I never thought I could. Finding G20 was another fortunate mistake, after clicking a photo on Pinterest right next to the one I actually intended on clicking first. It took me straight there and I immediately applied for a writing position. This was back in October, and it was one of the best things I ever did. I'm a firm believer that to write, you need to share your art. By having your own blog, you grow the confidence you need to write for other people. By writing for other people, you let go of your parental attachment to the piece when you hand it over to the editor. My editor Nicole has been an invaluable asset - something I appreciate about editors is that when we become blind to our own work after hours of writing and tweaking, they can trim the fat if needed.

Image: Tumblr
After taking the weekend off, I was aware that I needed to get back to working towards something, and I feared I would hit the inevitable lazy stage and creative blockage if I didn't do something productive soon. I've started scheduling my time, and it reminds me a lot of going to school. I also make a point of getting out of bed at a decent time, and changing my clothes instead of lazing around in my Winnie the Pooh pyjamas. I went on Amazon, and I bought a NCTJ approved work book to teach myself Teeline for journalists, and Rhys found me a calligraphy set.

This last thing was to give me a hobby, and to provide me with something I could practice without thinking about it. I had seen some amazingly talented calligraphers on Instagram, and it was something I loved as a child. It turns out, I still love it and I find it a welcome escape from the computer. This week, I  have been scheduled to attend a meeting to secure a work placement with a magazine - unpaid of course, and I have also been contacted by a couple of companies who are interested in sending me products to review. One of my favourite blogs, The Undercover Princess, featured me as a guest blogger and my working relationship with it's author is fantastic.

Image: Tumblr
The one thing I cannot promise myself or anyone else, is an income. I will get my final paycheck next Friday, and I know that I will be able to survive until next month. If I can't find employment in my sector, and even if I have to work in a coffee shop to support my lifestyle as a struggling writer, at least this time I have given myself has already been the best gift I could have. Once I abandoned the fear that held me back for so long, I no longer felt shackled, censored, and undervalued. The peace I felt came very quickly, and so did my resolve to work hard.

So when I walked out of my job I was already a happier version of myself, but the timing of that tweet could not have been more perfect. It was a miserable and typically British rainy day, but I always find a quiet happiness in the rain. On the most beautiful of days, we expect beautiful things to happen and anything else is a small disappointment. But on a rainy day, you're already set up to think that it is one of many lost days. That notification on that particularly drab day, was the confirmation I secretly needed to know that I had made the right choice. I know what you're thinking - even if I did not leave my job, I would have had that tweet. Maybe, but that was the first time I had ever achieved something so impressive since graduation. I choose to believe that the moment came to me at the right time, when I could have been shadowed by doubt.

Silver linings, we have to find them when life doesn't always give us blue skies. I'm fortunate enough to know I need to look for them sometimes.

Related posts: I quit my job, with nothing to go to.