Change is scary. It makes us nervous, anxious and unsure. What will happen, what will my life be like if I make a big change to it? What if I start a new career, move house, go travelling, get a pet, start a family, take up a new hobby or ditch negative acquaintances and moving to a different friendship group?
But here’s the thing, change is as necessary as it is frightening, and the confidence to make a change just can’t be taught. It is so easy to maintain the equilibrium, even when you’re not happy. It takes real bravery to look at the aspect of your life that you are unhappy with and follow a different path.
Years ago, I was in a real dead-end job and going nowhere. But it wasn’t just a job, the people around me saw it as a career for life. I was expected to stay there, stagnate and wait for it to be my ‘turn’ to be promoted. And in the meantime, just put up with the inane, thoughtless drudgery. But that just wasn’t for me, so I left.
Everyone told me I was making a huge mistake. It was a secure job, the pay wasn’t bad and I didn’t hate it. I kept hearing that going to work and not hating it was as much as I could hope for. Apparently, earning money from doing something that you love was unusual, if not unheard of. A higher manager even sat me down and told me that if I left that job, I’d never earn more than a particular amount.
I knew it was a secure job. But really, who wants to be safe in the knowledge that they’ll be stuck in a dead-end job for the rest of their lives? And that stuff about putting up with a job that I didn’t hate instead of striving for one I loved? I didn’t believe it. And as for the money thing, I knew that was nonsense too but I really didn’t care. Give me happiness over money any day.
So, I jumped ship and found another job. I enjoyed it, the people were great, the work required a bit more brainpower and the hours were notably better. Oh, and within a couple of months I’d been promoted to a role paying quite a bit more than the imaginary ceiling dreamed up by someone who thought he was better than me.
But when I started a family, that role was no longer what I wanted. The commute was too long, I wasn’t seeing my baby and I wasn’t happy. So I quit and started to work from home. Over the past few years, I’ve done a variety of home-based roles. I have run a travel business, done audio typing and eventually migrated towards freelance writing and social media management.
I finally realised that this was what I wanted to do. It suited me, I had to use my brain but I could work whenever I wanted, from wherever I wanted. I could also use both my law degree and my experience in the travel industry, so none of that had been a waste of time. Because ultimately, it got me where I wanted to be – in a job that I love, that suits my lifestyle and my family.
I’m a freelancer so it’s not secure, and it never will be. But I’m happier in my job than I’ve ever been and for once in my life, I wouldn’t change a thing.