Quitting My Job to Become a Freelancer

I know you see a lot of articles like this one, “Why I left my 9-5 job” etc, where people talk about their reasons for leaving a high-salary dream job to become freelance, or travel the world, or whatever it is they’ve done that makes them so inspirational to others that they just have to write a blog and tell the world.

Well, this isn’t like that.

I’ve worked since the moment I left school. I worked in retail for 6 years, I worked in pubs, restaurants, I did some sales support work, at one point I was one of those girls who sells shots in a nightclub, I’ve worked 7 day weeks, 12+ hour days, and even Christmas days. Then, I ended up in SEO. I started as a trainee, and eventually I worked my way up to Digital Marketing Manager roles.

So, I was doing ok. I was pretty happy in my job and I really liked the people I worked with, but it just wasn’t enough to make me happy in general. No job was.

Even though I was happy at work, I was still waking up miserable and dreading the day. I was still getting that Sunday night dread. In fact, that Sunday night dread had extended to Friday evening dread – it was Friday, which meant the weekend would fly by and it would be Monday again – which is not a nice way to spend your weeks, constantly in dread of the next week.

I’ve suffered with depression and anxiety for 12+ years. I’ve struggled in certain social situations, I’ve always put myself down and never felt like I’ve been good enough. I always felt this kind of need to do well in my job, but not for myself, for others to be proud of me. I’ve never felt like what I’ve done has ever been good enough, and even once I got into a good position in my job, it still didn’t feel that way. So, I decided not to do it for everyone else anymore, because I realised it’s not about them.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the depression and anxiety haven’t just gone away because I left my job, it’s still very much there, but the pressure and the fear of letting people down and not being good enough for everyone else has gone. Maybe it’s the liberating feeling of leaving a job to work for yourself that does that, I don’t know, but for some reason I don’t really care what others think of what I’m doing anymore.

I’m also learning more and more about myself, and my mental health. Sometimes that’s scary because I’m started to understand that there’s probably more to it than depression and anxiety for me, but I’m not really hiding it away anymore and putting on that front every day to go into work. I’m able to be myself and understand myself a lot more.

Quitting a job and trying to work for yourself is not always the answer to this, especially if you suffer with mental health. It’s an uphill battle for me every single day to give myself that drive and motivation to get up in the morning and do a full day of work when I don’t have anyone telling me I have to. Sometimes it’s good to have a routine when dealing with mental health, and breaking that routine can potentially be detrimental to your progression, so please don’t take this as “if you’re not happy at work, f**k it and just quit, you’ll be fine”.

Working for yourself is hard, it takes time, you may have to learn a lot new things, and it takes discipline. Not only that, it can be extremely lonely. You’re not getting up and going in to an office full of people anymore, it’s pretty much going to be just you for most of the day and that in itself can be difficult. So, if you’re not happy at work and are thinking of leaving please think about the effects it may have on you. I had so many debates with myself about the decision, I’m surprised I didn’t send myself completely mad. Pros and cons lists are your friend!

If you are finding that your job is having an effect on your mental health don’t be afraid to speak up. It can be difficult, especially if you’re not sure how your employers are going to react, but it can feel like a weight has been lifted and they may be more understanding/accommodating than you think. If they’re not, then is this really a place you want to be working anyway?

Your mental health is more important than a job!

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