The letter is signed.
The envelope is sealed.
Today I’m handing my notice in. I work there for another four weeks and then I’m gone forever. Oh, and I don’t have a new job to go to yet. I know a lot of you will think I’m crazy, but I’ve reached the point where staying put seems like a bigger risk than leaving. I graduated University in 2009 with BA in English Literature and no plan for the future. Like a lot of people back then, I ended up taking any job that fit in with my circumstances, and so for the last five years I’ve worked for a supermarket. In that five years, I have never applied for another job and, outside of writing, haven’t pursued alternative sources of income.
I don’t like my job, and it doesn’t pay well, but it provides just well enough that I’m not hungry. I’ve let myself get apathetic, and by sticking to a job that barely pays the bills, I’ve stopped myself looking for jobs that ask me to contribute what I’m really capable of, and jobs that pay me what I’m worth. It’s a risky decision, but I’m starting to understand that a risky decision is not always an irresponsible one. Taking the time to find what you really want to do in life might cost you money in the short term, but not as much as spending the rest of your life doing something that doesn’t make you happy.
For the first time since graduating, I feel excited about my future. I have no experience outside of retail, and that will hold me back, but at the same time I’m seeing opportunities to connect with people and work in ways that I was oblivious to before. I feel more positive about myself, and my potential to survive without a uniform and name badge. Just deciding to shake things up and forge a new direction for my life has given me back my self esteem in a way I hadn’t really felt possible.
Now, I’m a realist. I know positive thinking and good feelings alone don’t pay the bills, and I know I’m lucky enough to be able to take this risk. There are plenty of brilliant, wonderful, people working in jobs like mine who couldn’t afford to do the same. I’m so grateful that I could afford to go a few months without a paycheque if I absolutely had to, but I might never be in that position again. It’s now or never.
I doubt I’ll feel this positive in a fortnight, but I’ll keep you posted with how I’m getting on. For now, I hope my rambling post of half-formed observations and (probably misjudged) excitement wasn’t too self-indulgent.
Until next time.
(And if you’d like to hire a 27 year old English Lit graduate with decent writing skills, excellent computer literacy, a fondness for terrible jokes, and a weekly podcast about nothing in particular: Email Me.)