“Oh without a doubt it was when I worked in a call centre. Sometimes, when driving to work, I’d fantasise about my car crashing so i’d have an excuse to not turn up for my shift. When it got to the point where I’d rather be hospitalised than go to work, I knew it was time to quit.”
“Mine was working at Fatso’s – never again do I want to use a spoon to butter loaf after loaf of bread.”
As me and my friends from university sat around the pool in our Air Bnb in Croatia, discussing our worst ever jobs, it suddenly dawned on me; my current place of employment had slowly but surely won that title. I was barely earning any money, working more hours than I was being paid for and getting stressed and nearly crying almost every single day.
Sure, not everyone loves their job, sometimes you just have to get on with things, but when you look back more fondly on your time stacking shelves in The Spar for £1.50 an hour and being held hostage* by the owner, it’s a pretty clear sign something has to change.
So I quit.
I did the one thing you’re not meant to do when you’re working class – I walked out of a job without having another one lined up. I didn’t even have so much as an up to date CV ready.
“It’s easier to find a job while you’re in a job”, a favoured saying from my father that I’ve heard over the years. Whenever I’ve toyed with quitting a job, he’s sandwiched that phrase into a lecture and it rung in my ears as I typed up my resignation letter on the balcony. I pushed these thoughts to the back of my head and reminded myself of how happy and supportive my friends had been when I said I wanted to jack it in. They had seen first hand over the past few months how miserable the job was making me. I hit save on the draft of the letter and promised myself I wouldn’t go back on this.
Within hours of landing in England my resignation letter was sent to my boss and that was it, I was home and unemployed.
And here we are.
I’ve finally done what I always wanted to do – given myself the time to have a go at pursuing a career I’m actually passionate about and you know what? I’m petrified.
I’ve no savings, in fact I’m in debt, I have no rich family to fall back on and sadly, no wealthy aunt who’ll pop her clogs soon and leave me an inheritance. I have rent to make, burritos to buy and a new fondness for having fresh flowers in the house; an indulgence I’m keen to keep up. I haven’t left a well paid job so It’s not that much money I’ll be missing each week but I still can’t believe I’ve actually done this and finally taken the risk.
This could be the best thing that’s ever happened to me, I could go all #GirlBoss and thrive on being self employed, or I could end up back working behind a bar once again. Either way, what I know for sure right now is this working class guilt and nervous feeling in my stomach sure beats the feeling of crippling anxiety from working a job that was slowly sending me crazy.
*another story for another time – promise.
See also: GRAZIA: Welcome to my Heartbreak Hotel