Ever wonder what sparked someone to quit their job and start a business? Here’s my story.
The following is a diary entry written the day I handed my notice in. To note, I have tweaked the entry for readability but no more.
Holy Shit I Quit My Job – 07/09/2018
Holy shit, I quit my job. I actually did it and as of this moment, I have no guarantee of bringing any money in whatsoever beyond the end of September. I’m on the cusp of turning 29 and officially unemployed. Woah, that’s pretty crazy. It’s absolutely not hit me yet, I have moments where I feel sick with worry and others where I feel as though I’ve taken some kind of crazy drug I’m that pumped full of adrenaline.
This is all feeling pretty significant so I feel as though it’s important for me to document the moment everything changed.
Saturday 30th June 2018. Sat in a room full of 300 odd people, dressed in my usual jeans and a tee-shirt (the hallmark of anyone who works in an office of creative techies) and a bald man in his late thirties/early forties, slightly overweight, wearing a blue suit, walks on to the stage.
This was day 2 of a 3-day event full of speakers bombarding you with information, asking you to ‘raise your hand if you understand’, and say ‘yeah!’ a lot.
I was pretty dubious about the whole thing if I’m honest, but I went along with it anyway mainly out of curiosity (and to appease my parents who were there with me).
So when this guy called Simon walked on to the stage I was settling in for another session of mildly interesting content at the end of which I would be given my seventh ‘once in a lifetime offer’ of the day Yet another opportunity to hand over a boatload of money, along with a bunch of other mugs in the room who had fallen for it.
Yeah right, what could Simon have to offer me?
So imagine my surprise, when 30 minutes later I found myself sat in tears, feeling a heavy stone drop in the pit of my stomach.
Unlike the rest of the speakers, Simon didn’t tell an emotional story of suffering or terrible hardship, or share how he had faced life-changing obstacles, looked death in the face and survived to tell the tale.
Nope, what Simon did, was show us a page from his calendar taken from when he worked in a corporate job.
Each day was carved up into neat little squares, documenting each task from meetings to clothes washing, to commuting… and sat there looking up at it, I can tell you not many of those squares said ‘Free Time’.
I was looking at a picture of my life.
Now, I am not work shy. At the time I was a self-confessed workaholic and wore my busy-ness like a badge of honour.
I’m somewhat ashamed to admit I’m the one who would smugly text back my friends on our WhatsApp group at 10pm at night on the bus, saying ‘Sorry for the late reply girls, I’m only just leaving work now – sadface’ which basically translated to ‘look how hard I’m working, look how good and how successful I am.’
But at that moment, looking at the calendar on screen with those neat little squares carved out, my perspective completely shifted.
I suddenly realised that all of my energy, my best hours of the day, and in fact the best hours of my life, were being given away to a company that ultimately did not give two monkeys about me.
I was working my socks off, staying late not getting paid to make sure their projects were delivered. To make sure their profits soared and their clients were satisfied.
To build their reputation as an industry leader so the people who employed me could all leave at 6pm and work part-time to spend time with their families.
And I sat there thinking to myself: why?
Why on earth am I doing this? I consider myself a pretty intelligent person and look what I’m doing, and have been doing since I started my career, why? Where’s the sense in that?
I was so proud of my dedicated work ethic, that I didn’t really realise that maybe being able to work fewer hours in the day could instead be an indicator of success.
That being able to join in a conversation with my friends in the middle of the day without worrying some disaster might break out around me signifies a better lifestyle?
Raise your hand if you understand.
It was like a slap in the face. Or like that moment in the Matrix when Neo takes the red pill and is reborn. That was me, I was Neo! (And yes, I’ll admit I really did feel like ‘The Chosen One’.)
In 2 months I went from: ‘I’ll just start doing some other stuff in my spare time and maybe see how it goes’ … to ‘Maybe I’ll spend this weekend doing it’ … to ‘I’m quitting my day job.’
And that brings me to today. Day 1 of the rest of my life (once my notice is over of course…)
Watch out the Matrix, I’m coming for you.