A few months ago, I did something crazy. I handed in my notice at my exciting book-related marketing job, and took a part-time position at a shop near my house. Why would anyone take such a giant, seemingly backwards, step like that?
It all started back in January of last year, when I received a phone call from my university’s graduate service – it was 6 months since I graduated, and they wanted to see what I was up to and how I was using my degree. The short answer is: I wasn’t. I was working full-time at an entry level job, the same job I had been doing part-time while I was studying. I started to get anxious that I wasn’t using my degree, so I started applying for graduate jobs all over the book trade – an industry I’ve always wanted to work in.
After a couple of months of doing this, I finally got a job offer from my absolute favourite online bookshop doing marketing, and it was like a dream come true. ‘This is it,’ I thought. My big break, a foot in the door, an actual job working with books! I threw myself into the work, learning everything I could and trying to be as helpful as possible. For several months it was perfect, everything I wanted and more. But then I started getting Ideas.
I don’t know if it’s because I was now surrounded by, thinking about, and working with books 40+ hours a week, but during the summer little snippets of stories started popping into my head. Within a few weeks, I had ideas for not one but three different books that I could write. This may not sound particularly noteworthy, especially to those who already write, but for me this was revolutionary because I had given up on creative writing LONG ago, we’re talking secondary school here. Not long after, I started itching to write about the fun and interesting things that happen in my everyday life, and thus I got the idea to start a lifestyle blog.
Meanwhile, Christmas was getting closer and closer and work was getting busier and busier, and I found that I had no time or energy to spare by the time I got home to put any of these ideas into practice. I found myself tired and frustrated without an outlet for all these creative plans. Even though I loved the work I was doing, I started to resent working full-time because I wasn’t able to get very much done outside of the office.
At some point in January, I said exasperatedly to my Dad on the phone, ‘Ugh. I wish I could just quit my job and WRITE.’ I was expecting a half-laugh and a ‘Don’t we all!’ but he suddenly got all serious and said, ‘Why don’t you?’ I had never seriously considered this as a real possibility until that moment, and suddenly I realised it was exactly what I wanted to do. While working with books and marketing them was wonderful, I realised that what I truly wanted to do – what I guess I’ve always wanted all along – was to make them.
With this in mind, I handed in my notice, asked for my old job back (but part-time hours ONLY – so I had just enough to pay the bills each month), and stepped into a whole new life. Now that I only have to go to work three days a week, I have so much more time and SO much more energy to focus on the things that really matter to me. Since I went part-time I have been able to focus on my book (I had to pick one to start with!), this blog, and a TOP SECRET PROJECT that I’m working on with one of my best friends. I’ve been struggling to keep myself organised so at times I’ve felt like I’m spreading myself thin, but I’m starting to get the hang of it and I’m so excited to see each of these projects bloom.
I took the job at the online bookshop because I felt unfulfilled doing what I was doing at the time. I will always be glad that I did, because I learned so much, met so many wonderful people, and it was there that I realised that you don’t have to have a fulfilling job to have a fulfilling life. It gave me the confidence to chase after what I really want in life. My day job now is relatively mundane but it pays well enough and gives me enough time to enable me to follow my dreams and my own personal goals. Plus, I get to work with some of my best friends!
The biggest change that I’ve noticed since doing something big like this for myself and my goals is in my mental health. I have struggled with anxiety and (every now and then) depression, but since I started focusing on me, my confidence, happiness, and serenity are at an all-time high. Self-care isn’t selfish, and this was one gigantic act of self-care.
I’m so excited to share more of my writing with the world – both on here and in my creative writing. Watch this space!