Plot twist: the company was great but I needed a break. Burnout is real.
I’ve been writing support content for a tech company for a few years now, but only came into an official content position a few months back. Why give up now I’d gotten the writing-ish job I’d been working towards and always hoped for? Why, after working so hard for so long, would I jump into the terrifying abyss of unemployment?
After years of working in customer and social media support I was able to claw my way into a copy writing and brand messaging role, but it was still customer service. A noble department, but not what I saw myself dedicating my life to and I was absolutely knackered. Who among us can really say we’re following our dreams? I used to feel stupid for thinking it was a possibility. I had taken a customer support job straight out of college with the goal of saving enough to go back for a Masters. That never happened, and I ended up in this realm for years. It’s so easy to get stuck in the daily grind when you’re making real money and stabilised in a routine. But I was working too hard and under too much pressure for something I didn’t have creative input in or a lot of free reign, or even the time to reign. I was already popping blood pressure pills and was written off sick with burnout. I hadn’t any more of myself to give. It became unhealthy for me to continue with something that wasn’t giving me what I needed.
It felt insane to hand in my notice, but I finally talked myself into it. I panicked the moment I’d said those words you can’t take back, and immediately entered the ‘oh no, what have I done?’ phase, hearing screams in my head. I was walking away from a great, full-time job at a nice company with good pay and amazing benefits, that had given me a huge amount of experience and allowed me to figure out what I loved. So many other people my age would kill for a job like that, but I was letting that define my own idea of success. Everyday I see posts for unpaid intern positions and marketing jobs paying hilarious salaries for Dublin living costs. I don’t know a lot of people who are pursuing their dreams or doing jobs related to their degree if they did anything remotely humanities or language based. I see people struggling to find work at all, let alone a job they love. But there are those who are.
I had let the doubts and fear of the unknown block me. I never wanted to struggle as my parents had or worry financially like that again if I could help it. Being so careful with money, I was scared of not having a steady income or knowing where the next definite job is going to come from. Instead of going for the Masters in Medieval Lit. (because what is the point?) I put some money aside over the years and instead did a marketing diploma this year while working full-time. I’ve done so much this year I’m proud of and started to find myself again. I did a night class about animals for the craic, became a qualified digital marketer, got a dog, entered poetry competitions and danced at 5am at Carnival. Everything I accomplished this year gave me the boost I needed to feel confident enough to leave my job.
I faced huge monsters this year I never thought I’d be able to conquer, and snapped out of the ‘adulthood’ trance I’d accidentally fallen into. The idea that I needed to be working full-time all the time in any job in order to be responsible and not fall into the ‘Poor Pit’ was so entrenched in me that I forgot I had a choice. I’m incredibly lucky that I can afford to take this break and live off savings for a few months, I’m not taking that for granted. It hasn’t sunken in yet that I’m not going back to work, it feels like I’ve just been working from home or off over Christmas, but reality is going to kick in very soon. What I wasn’t prepared for was the little mourning period for the life I used to have. When you were the first hire of the Irish office and have been there for nearly three years (a millennial decade), it’s heartbreaking to think of all the things you won’t be part of anymore, and the thing that isn’t yours anymore. I was getting teary-eyed at the mention of a colleague’s name up until this week! I’m still nervous about the next few months, but let’s see what happens.* Your happiness is more important and if you never take a leap of faith, you’ll never see the possibilities.
*Will be doing a Kickstarter if not employed again soon in some writing field.