That time I quit my day job!
There’s a number of reasons I’m writing this blog post, mainly so I can look back and remember some of the emotions I have felt over the past six weeks and perhaps to remind myself of how difficult it actually has been (I’m making a huge assumption that things are going to get better FYI). But also because a number of people have messaged me saying how I am inspiring them to want to do similar things in their life and whilst I am always delighted to hear I’ve inspired people I also want to be fair and share the whole version of this messy situation. Because lets be honest, what I share on Instagram is a rose tinted glasses version of the reality (but you knew that right?)! And we know how dangerous that can be. Because, in all honesty its not all plane sailing, there have been struggles along the way and I feel certain they will continue.
The Decision to Leave
Looking back, I think things first began to shift inside me after my second son Arlo arrived, coincidentally or not that is also roughly about the time I set up my @Botanical_tales instagram account. I went to a bit of a dark place after he arrived and when I finally emerged, I felt different somehow, layers stripped back to reveal a new (or perhaps old) me. We were now, living in house that had the most beautiful (albeit small) urban garden and with Arlo born in early March I felt some synergies with the flowers that began to bloom in our new garden as the fog began to slowly lift in my head, a rebirth of sorts (without getting to woo about it all).
The following Spring I returned to my old job, one that involved commuting to London four days a week. The overwhelm I felt was so hard, never enough time in the days or weeks to be good at anything including being a mother. Whilst my employer was brilliant at allowing me to reduce my hours, first to four days a week and by then end to three days a week, this still wasn’t enough for me, I found the rigidity of office life really tough, I wanted to be outside more, I craved the space to be creative in the hours that worked best for me, not last thing at night when I was tired and worn out. Botanical Tales at this point in time, was my Instagram account and a website that no one really looked at, but more importantly it was an outlet for my creativity and was opening me up to different folks, people who were making a living outside of a corporate 9-5 role. I started to seriously entertain the thought of leaving my job in search of a different way of life.
In the end it took me whole year of being back in corporate life to make the final decision to leave and full 8 months after that to actually take the plunge. I had saved like mad in the time I was back at work, giving myself a safety net to fall back on when the time actually came to leave and this is number one piece of advice to anyone thinking of doing the same. If you don’t have the financial backing of a partner or family then do everything you can to save money, this will take away the immediate stress if you don’t find work straight away and will help you maintain your independence. I have needed this so much.
Taking the leap
The one thing that held me back from leaving my job earlier was without a doubt fear. So many emotions are tied up in the security of that monthly salary. I knew my job wasn’t fulfilling me anymore, that it wasn’t serving me in the way it used too but I just couldn’t quite take that plunge. To quit my job with no job to go to, when working for my old employer was all I had ever wanted felt like…….failure somehow?
Until one Friday Ed turned to me and said “you have to stop letting “this” bring such negativity into our home and our lives”. And he was right, I had begun to obsess but not make change, talk endlessly but take no action. And it was only me that was going to make this change happen, so he stood next to me as I hit send on my resignation email. I then promptly burst into tears, months and months of pent up emotion came flooding out! The days that followed that initial emotional low were euphoric, I had thought so much about doing it that to have taken the action and finally quit was such an intense and overwhelming relief. I felt free, freer than I had in a really long time.
I had a three month notice period that I managed to negotiate down to two months, knowing that I had to be able to focus on Botanical Tales throughout December as its currently the peak month for the business.
And for those two months that I was working out my notice, I achieved so much! Taking that leap and handing my notice in seemed to free something in me, I had known for a while that I had been holding back from Botanical Tales and not showing up whole heartedly (probably lead by fear). Knowing that this business of mine may be the enabler for me to live the kind of life I wanted galvanised me, in just a few weeks I redesigned my website (something I had put off forever) and opened up my online shop (another thing I had put off forever). When I put my mind to it neither of those two things took a huge amount of time, I just needed the drive to make them happen.
And then I began to reach out to local businesses and people I had come in contact with on Instagram to help build up my local community and to find my tribe. This is without a doubt the biggest game changer I experienced in those few months, to move from talking about Botanical Tales as if it was nothing to boldly putting myself out there and telling people what I was doing, it opened doors. It started conversations and for the first time I felt like I was being taken seriously.
And before I knew it November came and went and I walked out the doors of corporate life for one last time. The drive home on that last day felt slightly surreal, I was calm and wonderfully confident with the decision I had made.
And if you’ve lasted this far, well done! No-one reads blog posts anymore right? I keep writing them though, they help me hone my writing skills and honestly if just one person reads it (hello Ed!) I’m happy! So I will be back in another blog post talking about all the things I have learnt since going it alone! It’s been a mere 6 weeks at this point in time but the learnings have been intense!