*Disclaimer – this should have been posted on Thursday last week but I was having too much fun on my hen weekend!
Pay close attention, this story might be about you.
In life we are often told to go out and find a job and make money and therefore somehow we will become happy……….
Today, August 20, 2015, was my point of no return.
I just walked out of the revolving doors of 280 Bishopsgate for the last time and I feel……….nothing. Not sadness, not relief, not even happiness….. just nothing! It’s indescribable. It’s such a strange feeling to know that a place I worked at for 4 years 10 months and 24 days or the equivalent of 32,760,000 seconds, will never ever be apart of my life again, and all I can feel is NOTHING!
The funny thing about this post is that I am actually writing it on my work computer whilst I while away the last 2 hours I have here. In the past I had always found it difficult to write my blog posts at work because the environment was so uninspiring to me but today that’s a different story!
May 16, 2015 is where the journey started. This was the day I quit my job! It feels great to write those four words, but it is also terrifying, exhilarating and surreal that today, my last day, has finally arrived!!
A new beginning.
A fresh start.
The brink of something exciting.
Over the past decade, since age eighteen, I’ve spent my life pining for a role in the banking world, and the last 5 years of my life mostly 40/50 hours a week working my way up the corporate ladder at a large retail bank in London – from a cashier to being accepted on a graduate role (only 23 people were picked out of 13,000 people from all over the world) to Senior Change Analyst to Product Delivery Manager to most recently Project/Implementation manager, where I led 4/5 projects simultaneously and managed millions pound budgets. Throughout my tenure, I launched dozens of initiatives (to improve customer experience), worked with hundreds of stakeholders, and helped people grow professionally.
And I was very, very good at my job. In the last 6 months, I was selected to be a part of the ‘talent group’; these were a group of the highest performers in my team. And I was poised to become a Level 1 before age 28. In short: ‘I had it made’. So, when I announced my departure 3 months ago, it seemed illogical to nearly everyone, including my family: dozens of employees asked where I was going and whether they could come with me. When I told them I was changing my life’s path, many people didn’t understand. After all, I was living the dream, wasn’t I? A ‘great’ salary, a lovely home in zone 1 and all the stuff to fill every corner of my consumer-driven lifestyle—who in their right mind walks away from that?
Of course, I’m not trying to impress you, dear lychees, with the details of my supposedly “impressive” career. If I thought that my “accomplishments” were impressive—if I were impressed by my lifestyle—then I wouldn’t’ve left in the first place.
Rather, I present these details to impress upon you my need for change. Yes, I was ostensibly successful, but I didn’t feel successful. I felt overwhelmed, stressed out, unhappy!
I was unhappy because I lost sight of what was truly important: I was unhealthy (I had gained two stones over two years!), my relationships were in shambles, and I wasn’t passionate about life—all of which I attempted to cover up by amassing more possessions!.
Sadly, I didn’t realise all of this until last year when I had the opportunity to travel the world with my babi. Shortly after returning home, I discovered the life I created was not for me, but I was too much of a pussy to make any real changes. It wasn’t until my babi said to me, he felt like the ambition that I had when we first met had wavered. It was something I had known for a long time, but refused to admit to myself, because the thought of that truth was too painful! So from then, I started making radical changes—refocusing my relationships and asking difficult questions about my life’s direction. In time, I realised I was not pursuing my ‘purpose’ nor was I growing as an individual or contributing beyond myself in a meaningful way.
I wasn’t living the Dream; I was living a lie.
But today, that chapter has ended.
I refuse to be a slave to cultural expectations, ensnared by the trappings of money and power and perceived success. So, to my old life, I am now officially closing the door!
In some instances, some of the people closest to me didn’t approve of my new path: some of these people mistook the journey on which I was embarking as a direct attack on their way of life, as if by questioning my life I was also questioning their lives. Clearly this was not my intent: my journey involved questioning my life, not theirs. I was simply looking for happiness,
To be clear, I didn’t leave my job in a rude way and stomped out. No, I had mixed emotions about leaving my job. I care about many of the people there, had wonderful opportunities and enjoyed much of the job itself if I am honest. Quitting my job was not just about me quitting the job. The job is not the point. I wanted to walk away from my old, unhappy lifestyle. I had to stop living the lie and start living the life I wanted and I dreamt of!
How will I earn a living? To be honest, I’m not entirely sure, but I’ve spent the last year working hard to reduce my outgoings. Yes, I’ll still need to earn enough money to keep the lights on, but making money if I am completely honest with you is no longer MY priority! I need to only work to earn enough money to live—not live to work. My initial plan is to work somewhere part-time and earn enough to pay my bills (food, utilities, insurance etc.) working more with my babi, mentoring EPIC as they are growing up—while writing full time. Who knows: maybe this writing thing will yield a full-time income one day lol. But even if it doesn’t, that’s fine because I’m passionate about writing, especially about my journey to happiness, as helping other people has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. I also think about money differently these days, and I’ve never been happier! I’m not going to lie, though: I still have that feeling of ‘joyfear’. What if I fail? What if people don’t respect me as much? What if, what if, what if? To my fears, I say: What if I never got the chance see tomorrow? How much more regrets would I have? That’s the scariest thought of all!
Also published on Huffington Post