I’m currently in bed watching Charmed on E4 with my laptop on my lap writing this piece. Technically, I’m unemployed. I have been since the 24th September. Like an increasing number of people that I speak to, I needed an out, so I handed in my notice. I had no idea what I was going to do or what my next role would be, but I knew that I needed a change.
For me, the focus of working has changed. I used to work so that I could save to buy a house, however since leaving home and becoming a fully-fledged member of generation rent this seems impossible, so now I want there to be more of a focus on actually enjoying what I do. It was an easy decision. I had some money put away which could cover me for a few months, and I would have the time and freedom to explore some other options and get a bit of clarity. My boss wasn’t shocked, she could see that I was feeling slightly stunted in my role. Being the awesome person that she is, she nearly had a heart attack when I told her I had nothing to go to and didn’t really have a plan, but she was supportive of my decision and that meant a lot.
What I found most interesting about this whole thing is how people that I know reacted to me handing in my resignation. I had a lot of “congratulations” and “I wish I could do that”. I genuinely had no idea so many people were unhappy in their jobs. It was crazy. All I could think about is if I had actually made the right decision and here I was surrounded by people that wished they were in my shoes. During a recent excursion to the pub (using my time wisely), I was surrounded by people who were looking for something slightly more fulfilling than their 9 to 5. From volunteering to starting a band, people were looking for something that gave them purpose rather than lined their pockets. This seemed to be the direction that many of my peers were moving towards.
Interestingly, it’s not just the people that I know. London School of Business and Finance conducted a study that revealed that 47% of the UK work-force wanted to change their career and when we make millennials the focus, the figure then increases to 66%. That means that 66% of 18-34-year-olds currently working in the UK who want to change their jobs. So why do we continue to be unhappy? Finances apparently. It was cited as the reason that 41% of millennials remain in jobs that they are not happy in and that I can empathise with.
Savings or not, when you quit your job with nothing to go to, you panic. You have no indication of how long you will be out of work for, and how much money you will spend up to that point. You don’t want to miss out on anything, but you also don’t want to be calling up your Mum asking her for rent money because you didn’t want your friends going to see Drake without you.
However, not knowing where your next pound is coming from gives you a colossal kick up the arse. You start reaching out to people you wouldn’t have before, LinkedIn becomes one of your most frequently visited sites and self-development has never been more important. You start to remember your skills, appreciate what you are good at and stop daydreaming about what you want to do with your life and take the time to actually figure it out. You make the vow to say yes to every professional opportunity that comes your way and you honestly appreciate that it’s likely that you will never get the opportunity to do this again.
It’s only been a month and I’ll be honest and I can say that I have worked nowhere near as hard as I could have to discover my new direction, but already new opportunities are knocking. The more people that I talk to, the more that I realise that I have made the right decision. I’m not afraid of hard work and when I start to worry about my finances, I will go and find a new job, because I can, we all can. But for now, I’m enjoying seeing what options I have. In my opinion, happiness is paramount. We spend a huge amount of time at work, so we may as well try to be happy doing it.