Today is my first day of Unemployment. Or Self-Employment. Or Complete and Utter Freedom. The choice of phrase I use depends on my state of mind at the time! In a nutshell, I left my job for good on Friday 11 September 2015 with no job lined up. It was either a Very Grown Up decision or an exceedingly irresponsible and childish one. Either way, I’ve been building up to it for MONTHS.
It all started one Sunday night about six months ago when I said to my boyfriend, completely out of the blue, ‘I really don’t want to go to work tomorrow.’ It took me a bit by surprise. I’d been at the company for almost five years and I had always loved it. There were lots of ups and downs, but I had wonderful colleagues – I mean really wonderful. I loved working with the authors (I worked as senior editor at an academic publishing company). I had management responsibilities. I was moving into a new job role with new challenges. I was (finally!) earning a liveable salary. Every single published book that landed on my desk gave me a little leap of joy knowing that I had made it happen. So on paper it was all going swimmingly well. And I had never before had that feeling on a Sunday of lethargy or reluctance to go to work, so that Sunday night was not to be taken lightly.
There was something dark lurking below the surface. I knew that I wanted to head in a different direction as I was already six months into my first year of the Naturopathic Nutrition course at CNM, but I never considered not working alongside – I mean it’s a part time course! But in all honesty, it was really quite full on, and fitting in studying in the evenings and weekends PLUS trying to stay sociable – it just wasn’t happening. I found myself feeling quite insular, I wasn’t being sociable. I hadn’t seen some friends and family for quite a while.
And I felt quite unhappy. Tense a lot of the time. I didn’t laugh much. I argued with my boyfriend a lot. I wasn’t sleeping well. My hair was growing thin and brittle. Of course all of this I realise retrospectively; at the time I was just getting on with it.
One Monday night in May I couldn’t sleep at all. I was stressing about the exams, I was worrying about work, I just couldn’t still my mind. That was really the last straw for me. I’d always considered myself level-headed, even-keeled, not easily stressed out. But at 3am in the morning I got up and thought, ‘This isn’t right.’ After browsing through the CNM website for Naturopaths, I found that they were starting a new course called The Natural Chef. Finding that course was the turning point for me, because it was a chance to really indulge in the (thus far!) fantasy world of working towards turning a hobby into a career.
Fast forward four months and here I am. No job, two part-time courses, some freelancing in the pipeline, a couple of intriguing food-related propositions in the future, and a whole lot more time to write regular blog posts. So watch this space!