7 Reasons Why Quitting My Job Was The Best Decision I Made In 2017
In October 2017 I decided to quit my job.
I had spent five years living in London working on some of the biggest shows in entertainment TV, which had left me feeling like I had lost my soul. For me, they’re fun to watch. NOT to work on.
Somehow I managed to get out of that, and bag myself a job as a staff writer for the BBC. I lasted just over a year. It wasn’t the job that was bad. Quite the opposite. Finally I was doing a job I actually enjoyed.
But I was ready for a change. I needed a change.
I handed in my notice. Four weeks later I was on a flight to Australia. I’m still in Australia.
Here’s why that was the best decision I made in 2017.
1. It Feels Like I'm Making Decisions That I Actually Want To Make
Go to school. Finish school. Go to university. Finish university. Get a job. Do well in that job. Earn money. Save money. Take a holiday every now and then. Get married. Buy a house. Settle down.
Sounds familiar, right?
I did a lot of that. Ok, I’m not married and I’m a millennial, which means I unashamedly spend my money on avocado and will probably never own a house. (Side note: the only reason we eat so much avocado is because the prospect of owning a house is so unrealistic we’ve got to spend our money on something).
I got tired of following the rules, of living a life I felt I was “supposed” to be living. For once I made a decision that was whole-heartedly based on my innate desire to be happy. And happiness looks different for all of us.
2. I’ve Been Pushed Out Of My Comfort Zone
Was I scared that I wouldn’t find a way to make money? Sure.
Did I feel like it was silly to quit a job with such good career prospects? Absolutely.
Did the idea of snakes, spiders, crocodiles and sharks in Australia fill me with fear? Most definitely.
Have I realised I can cope with more than I thought? Undeniably.
3. I Now Realise How Stuck In A Rut I Was
Alarm. Shower. Tube. Work. Small talk with colleagues you don’t know very well. Work. Tube. Exercise. Precious time with friends and family. Bed. Weekend. Repeat.
We’re people; we’re creatures of habit. We like seeing the same faces, and doing the same things. It takes bravery to break the cycle and try something new.
Sure, there are hundreds of things I could have tried in London that I hadn’t before. But when you’re not in a good space mentally, when your brain is exhausted, frustrated, and unstimulated, it’s hard to find that motivation.
It’s only now, having broken it, that I recognise how much of a rut I had let myself get into.
4. I’m Having Far Fewer Panic Attacks
I will tirelessly, and endlessly, write about mental health for as long as I can. Why? Because poor mental health has affected me for such a large period of my life, and if my words in any way alleviate suffering for someone else, then that’s reason to continue.
I have OCD and generalised anxiety; those are my labels. In London, I was averaging anywhere between three to ten panic attacks in one week. My intrusive thoughts would often get so dark they would leave me feeling petrified, and of course, panicked.
I don’t pretend to be a psychiatrist, nor a psychologist. I have no idea why (although it’s hardly surprising), but since I quit my job and came to Australia I have had five panic attacks. That’s five in the whole time I’ve been here.
It might still sound like a lot to some people, but for me it’s changed my life.
5. It's Given Me Time To Work On My Own Projects
Before I quit my job, I had a thousand ideas.
One day it would be a podcast. The next it would be a book. The day after, a mini-break.
My heart was full of things I wanted to be doing, but my days were not.
I found between commuting to work, wanting to do my best at that work, trying to invest time in the relationships with friends and family that I care about, and aspiring to stay in relatively decent physical shape, there was very little left over for anything else.
That’s different now. I’m writing this. Before, I never would have had the time or energy to.
Without wanting this list to sound too corny, let’s just say I’m happy about that.
6. It's Made Me More Grateful For The Things I Have In My Life
Someone once told me that “gratitude is the parent of happiness”. When we are grateful for what we have, how could we possibly feel unhappy?
I found that hard. I did feel grateful for my life, but I couldn’t deny that there was also more that I wanted. There’s always more that we want, and I think that’s ok.
But as they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder. I’ve grown fonder. Of things I already knew I was fond of, and others that I didn’t.
Out of fondness grows gratitude. I’m now grateful for things that I took for granted before: the company of a flatmate, being in the same timezone as everyone you love, crisply cold Autumn mornings. It feels nice, being grateful.
7. I’m Excited For The Future
When I was discussing my decision to quit my job and get on a place to Australia with my therapist, he asked me if I had a choice. Could I choose to be filled with anxiety about the many unknowns, or could I choose to be excited about them?
I defaulted to anxious.
But I have a new found sense of gratitude. I’ve realised that I can get out of my comfort zone and survive. I know now that I can move to the other side of the world and still somehow make it work. I’ve made sure that I have more time to do the things I care about. I’m having fewer panic attacks for the first time in seven years.
Surprisingly, I’m not defaulting to anxiety so much. Suddenly I’m excited for the future… and that’s exciting!