What Happened When I Quit My Job.

This Autumn I made it one of my goals to share this specific chapter in my career, 12 months on from one of the biggest decisions I have ever had to make. Last September I made the decision to hand my notice into my full-time job as a Teaching Assistant to embark on a new career in social media marketing.

After working on my blog for 4 years as a hobby and seeing announcements every day of smaller bloggers turning their blog into a full-time gig I felt an underlying pressure to be doing exactly what they were doing. I definitely felt as though I followed the blogosphere crowd. I've discussed that "Full-Time Blogging Isn't For Me" back in January and it was the pressure from the blogging community that made me feel as though I need to do what they are doing in order to be somewhat successful from writing a blog.

Looking back I'm so glad that this blog is just my hobby.

It wasn't even that I hated my job in education because I didn't. I had great colleagues and worked with amazing young people, I just needed to try this "venture" out and see where it would lead. I needed to sample this freelance life for myself that people were screaming from the rooftops about. I wanted to be certain of my career before I got in too deep with it. Even after I handed in my notice to the school's headteacher something didn't feel right about the decision..


THE ROLE ISN'T WHAT I SIGNED UP FOR. 

I always had an interest in marketing and social media, more so in the arts sector but none of those applications I spent hours writing seemed to do the trick. In September I landed a job as a Content and Social Media Editor with a party/event company. They were a company who distributed event decor type products and I thought it would be a great asset to my CV as I tried to develop the skills and experience I would need for the type of role I was looking for. So when I got offered this position, of course, I didn't think twice, I handed my notice within days of accepting the position. I worked a month's notice and at the end of September in 2017 I left my job and two days after I was walking into a completely new sector.

It just didn't feel right.

I was thrust into an office environment that I was not used to. The office was quite a big space but only contained a team of around 6 people. Between 9am-5pm every day I sat in front of a computer screen, answering enquiries over the phone and putting up new products on a website. It didn't feel like much of a "social media and content editing" to me and more like a customer service role. The office was also extremely quiet and you would only hear typing on the keyboard, phones ringing or colleagues chatting about work. I found it very isolating and couldn't focus. It wasn't long until I realised that the role isn't what I signed up for and I started looking for something else. Within the second week of the job, I found my mental health was starting to become a challenge, making it incredibly hard to sit for a whole day in the office without having to rush out to experience a panic attack. The role didn't feel at all like the social media and content editing job I had hoped for and I was disappointed.

It's important to say that I did meet someone whilst in this role. Juliette was a colleague, someone who got me through the difficult days in that office and of whom I'm still great friends with.

Photo Credit: Kyle Glenn.
Around the same time, I was contacted by a job I had applied for around the same time as my current position and they wanted to interview me. They were a Wedding Entertainment company and it sounded like more of the role and responsibilities I was looking for. I handed in my notice at my current job, packed up my office space and headed for a Marketing Assistant role that I thought would be loads better. 

YOU ARE DISMISSED FROM THIS POSITION WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT.

I really enjoyed the first few weeks of my new job as Marketing Assistant. The team was incredibly small but this actually didn't phase me and I thought the management was incredibly understanding of my mental health. However, after a couple of weeks, I found that I was constantly being left with very little to do therefore it was difficult to motivate myself and create the ideal marketing materials I wanted. I also found the team formation of being 3 members of a family and myself a difficult environment to work within. There were a lot of things that happened that I didn't find professional (I won't disclose those things) but part of me knew that marketing and social media was nothing more than a hobby for me. I couldn't shift the idea that I should be back working in education and that's when I started reapplying to get back into the role of a teaching assistant. 

I wasn't happy. I would come home most nights in tears and as an effect, my mental health was without a doubt the worse it has ever been. I never slept, I barely eat and I wanted to leave the office as quick as I could when I could. This had a huge impact on my relationship with Jordan and in all honesty, I'm surprised we're still together. 

Therefore it wasn't a surprise when 5 months into the role I had a meeting with my manager and before the end of the day was handed a letter that said: "you are dismissed from this position with immediate effect". There were a few reasons as to why I was being dismissed, a lot of which didn't seem liable for dismissal including the idea that my blog was distracting me from the job. I didn't agree with that but I kept my head held high, packed up my belongings and left the office. 

I FELT HOPELESS.

Losing my job was a really difficult time in 2018. I found it really difficult to ignite my motivation and a lot of the time I spent unemployed feels like a blur. I felt hopeless and what didn't help was the chronic anxiety I experienced which meant I couldn't leave my home. Initially, I had only a few options to get me through. I declared myself self-employed, reached out for freelance jobs, applied for all of the Teaching Assistant jobs I could and put the rest of my energy into online courses and blogging. I picked up a couple of freelance clients (I still do one on the side of my full-time job) but other than that doing freelance as a "career" was difficult and I wasn't happy with spending 90% of my time at my house. 

USE YOUR CONTACTS.

One of the biggest benefits I had during this time was that I reached out to previous employers for work. I'm so glad that whenever I've left most of my previous jobs I've left on the best of terms. I instantly got on the phone with some of my old managers and managed to snap up a couple of temporary jobs within the first month of being unemployed. I also got on the books of local agencies as I knew for certain I wanted to work in schools. It was a really difficult time and I had to organise my time at home doing a range of jobs and take myself from Netflix binges! 

Photo Credit: Kyle Glenn.

LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL.

As I mentioned I signed up with some agencies which were helping me find some full-time work in schools. I signed up for a total of 3 but it was only one that gave me the light at the end of the tunnel I was hoping for. It was coming up to two months after I was handed my notice that I was asked whether I'd be interested in working at a local special needs school and I snapped it up. I've always wanted to experience working in a school like this so I snapped up the opportunity and managed to build a fantastic reputation within the team and ended up spending the rest of the school term there. I loved every day I spent there and learnt so much in a short space of time. I felt as though losing my job meant that I lost a lot of my self-esteem and honestly working within that school really built that up for me again. I had finally gained the confidence I needed to begin reapplying for new jobs and I had a short frame to do that as I wanted to find the perfect school for the new school year. I even applied for the special school I was working at but that wasn't successful. I got invited for a job interview at a local primary school in June and I gave it all my all in securing that role. 

I'll be honest, that interview made me feel comfortable and confident. I really enjoyed chatting about the role and the school with both the deputy head and headteacher. I came out of it really wanting to work there but after quite an unpredictable 2018, I wasn't sure what the outcome would hold. 

2 days later, I accepted the job. 

EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON. 

I've just completed my first week at my new job and I can definitely assure you that I am the happiest and most comfortable I have ever been in my career choice. Yes, I could have acknowledged this 12 months ago when I was already working in a school but actually, everything happens for a reason. I'm glad that I gave it a go in social media marketing and it's unfortunate I had negative experiences of being in that role, everything happens for a reason. I'm really excited for the future that I'll have in my role and for every challenge that comes my way. 

The last 12 months have been very challenging for my mental health and relationships with friends and family but I'm so glad that I had incredible support to help me through. I no longer worry about what the next 24 hours will bring when working from home or how I can make time pass when working in front of a computer. I come home every day feeling as though I've achieved something and isn't that what your career should bring you?

I'm so excited about my future.

If you enjoyed reading this post then you may also enjoy reading my discussion on Coping with Mental Health in the Workplace blog post. 

10 comments

  1. Well done for being brave enough to make the decision to go, sometimes you need to follow things through to see the *what if* - you would have forever regretted it if you hadn't and now you know 100% you are in the best role for you - and you are SO happy! Huge congratulations in getting a new job, I hope it brings you all the happiness you deserve after this year!

    Erin || MakeErinOver

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    1. Thanks for your comment Erin, I really appreciate it. I'm glad I gave it a go and even if it didn't work out I've learnt so much from the experience. Thankyou! I love my new job so let's hope it stays for a while :) xx

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  2. Thank you so much for telling your story. Honestly I've been worried that I should be doing a more 'blogging-related' work placement on my year abroad, but I'm glad that I'm teaching as it's something different. It's always good to have another job as security, especially when doing freelance work. So inspiring, and this post has given me more confidence. X

    Megan | https://meganelizabethlifestyle.com/

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    1. Thanks for your message Megan! I know what you mean, it's hard when the blogging world is becoming so vast now. Yeah, teaching is such a rewarding career too and you get to have a hobby which is just as fun too! :D x

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  3. I have enjoyed reading this so much, thank you for being so honest! I jumped from job to job in marketing for years before I realised it wasn't the product/company/people, it was just that the whole industry was not for me! I love my blog and I have writing skills for life that I use on the side, but I now work in education as a Teaching Assistant too, and I'm hoping to train to be a teacher. Education is the best! xx

    aliterarycocktail.com

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    1. No worries Carolanne, thanks for your comment. Yeah it is, education is massively rewarding a great career to have whilst doing a blog on the side. I love coming home and diving into my blogging stuff without it being a full-time job and probably doing more hours than ever! xx

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  4. I enjoyed reading this so much. The readers go on your journey with you. I really felt for, but towards th end I could feel the power and confidence you were feeling. Being a Traching Assistant is extremely awarding, and good for you for going back to that. You are an amazing writer! I really enjoyed your blog post. I will be back for more. 😊🌸xxx

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    1. I'm really glad you enjoyed this post, it's got so many people talking to me about their initial worries and pressures. Thanks for your comments on my writing and passion behind this post, it took a while to do but I'm so glad I got to talk about it.

      x

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  5. Well done for being so brave and taking a big step in your career to seek change. Although, I know the social media marketing jobs might not have been what you were expecting, at least you gave it ago and will never have to wonder what if. Last year I quit a job I loved working for a Law firm and decided to start working as a Dementia Care Assistant. I love my new job but sometimes regret leaving the comfort of office work. However, my mental health has changed for the better and I'm so glad I took a leap of faith.

    Kate | cakeandcoast.com

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    1. Hi Kate, thanks for your comment. Yeah definitely, like you said I'm glad I gave it a go even though 6 months down the line I figured out it wasn't for me. It was a really difficult time at the start of 2018 but I'm glad I'm now in a career I enjoy and I'll stick to it. Oh bless you, what an incredible job you have now and I bet it's really rewarding for you. It takes a while to adapt but sometimes it's a fantastic adaptation to a new career which it seems you've had.

      x

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