That’s right – I quit my job without another one lined up. Stupid decision? Probably. But it worked out OK in the end.
Back in January I started working at a photo shop (I’m not giving away the actual name) as a Sales Assistant. I hadn’t had much previous experience and I felt incredibly shy and a little bit awkward. The manager was lovely, in fact that was the only reason I didn’t leave on the very first day. I kept being encouraged to stay, to see how things go, and needless to say I realised it just wasn’t working. I cringed every time someone walked into the shop, felt my heart hammering in my chest whenever I had to serve someone, not to mention the number of times I cried whenever I made a mistake. I wouldn’t say I couldn’t do it, but my heart wasn’t in it. Each day I dreaded going in – not the usual ‘oh, I don’t fancy going into work today’ dread – but more of ‘I feel like I’m suffocating and on the verge of a breakdown’ kind of dread.
I had a long chat with the manager, who as kind as she was, offered me tons of advice. She reminded me that I had to do whatever it took to make myself happy, and that if I wasn’t happy being there, I should go. And I did. I left that day feeling like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders, as if I could breathe again. But the next day I felt awful. I just kept thinking what have I done? I’d quit before I had even given it a chance and already I regretted it. Although deep down I knew for the sake of my mental health I couldn’t have stayed another day. The decision might have been selfish but sometimes putting yourself first is the thing you need to do the most. So I spent the next few months looking for writing jobs. The truth is I love writing; it gave me a voice I didn’t even know I had. I thrived off every like, every comment, every share, and I knew that I had to keep going.
The life of a freelance writer is hard to say the least. Finding that first paid writing gig can take months, but it could be done, I knew that much. So I started writing for various websites for free, gaining exposure and experience along the way. I checked job sites and writing boards everyday. I sent out email after email, and despite most of them being ignored, a handful of them actually replied. Now I have several clients of whom I regularly communicate with. And although I’m not exactly where I want to be, and I know I do have a long way to go, I feel happier.
Here’s the secret: if you persist, you can get almost anything you want.