Escaping the 9 to 5

The thought of sitting behind a desk working in marketing forever was terrifying, but the idea of quitting my job and venturing out into the unknown filled me with complete fear.

Dolly Parton as 'Doralee Rhodes' in Nine to Five (1980)

Dolly Parton as 'Doralee Rhodes' in Nine to Five (1980)

After an agonising twelve months weighing up the pros and cons, I eventually gathered up the courage to resign and then as fate would have it, I was made redundant. Initially I was shocked, but ultimately it couldn't have happened at a better time. I was free!

In the run up to this day I'd been in a battle with myself (and probably bored my friends to tears!) over whether leaving my job was the right thing to do. What was I going to do instead? How would I pay the bills? What if no one would employ me? I'd started to panic and think I should just stay put, or that another marketing job might make me happy. I'd always thought this, but the new jobs came and went and they were never "the one".

I decided I needed to find another way. That I didn't want to settle for this life. So here's how I escaped the 9 to 5...

▫️ I signed up for Escape The City, joined their London Facebook group and went to one of their Monday morning workshops, where I met a whole bunch of people who were feeling just like me! Knowing I wasn't alone, was so reassuring.

▫️ Through Escape The City, I found Amanda Devine, a life coach offering free sessions at the time. Amanda helped me break things down into smaller pieces, made everything feel more manageable and gave me confidence in knowing I was making the right decision.

▫️ I started saving as much money as I could ready for my escape.

▫️ I talked to likeminded people, those I knew would understand, and avoided those I thought might pass judgement. I was surprised how many people I started to meet who had either quit their jobs or were thinking about it.

▫️ I broke the news to my parents and hoped that they would be supportive - luckily they were!

▫️ I began saying out loud to friends "I'm going to quit my job!" and then it started to feel real and I knew it was the right decision.

▫️ I immersed myself in the book The Artists Way by Julia Cameron, taking myself on weekly artist dates and writing morning pages each day in hope of rediscovering my creativity.

▫️ I took some time out in London to reflect, make space for myself and just be.

▫️ I booked a two month trip to Asia to travel and visit my sister.

▫️ I contacted friends about freelance work so I had some money rolling in each month. Amazing opportunities turned up and I found myself gaining great new experience.

In an ideal world I'd have known my next career move beforehand or volunteered alongside my job to gain experience elsewhere, but I didn't have the answers at the time, so when redundancy came along it gave me the chance to take some much needed time out.

There have been some highs - travelling for extended periods of time and sunbathing in London parks when everyone else is at work, and some lows - having no money to afford meals or gigs with all my mates. But overall the excitement of not having my life mapped out in front of me replaces my fears, and even though I'm still exploring what comes next, one thing I do know is that I'll never regret leaving my 9 to 5 job.