A few days ago, I quit my job.
Not because I had a new one lined up. Not because I’d suddenly come into some money. Not because I’d won the lottery or got pregnant or whatever other reason people might leave paid employment.
I left because it was an awful job. I was underpaid, not given a single piece of legal documentation to prove that I had a job, and had to deal with seeing a number of good people suffer worse treatment than I did. Pay was consistently late and staff were given no warning, and it was my job to make them work anyway.
And after a huge amount of arguments with my boss about the proper way to treat employees, I gave up.
I quit my job. With no back-up plan.
I was calm on the way home. I didn’t actually feel the rush of panic about not having an income for a few days. That evening, I used the weekly travel card I had bought that morning to go to a free show. And I did the same the next day, given I wasn’t going to get that £40 back and I wasn’t going to need to get to work any more.
I spent the next few days updating my CV, applying for all the jobs I could find and cancelling any plans that were likely to cost money in the near future.
And even though I’m still waiting for responses from almost every job I’ve applied for, I’ve been able to take into proper consideration the things I have to be grateful for.
My gut reaction when leaving my job was that I didn’t want my nan to find out. Because she would worry about me. Because even though she knows I’m capable of taking care of myself, she’s the kind of nan who still gives me boxes of teabags every time I visit so that I don’t have to worry about it. Because she cares that much.
She cares so much that she has savings put aside for me in case something like this happens. If the worst happens, she’ll be the reason I’m going to cope.
When I told my friends I wouldn’t be able to do any of the fun things we had planned, they said that was silly. People offered to pay for my tickets to the things we had arranged and said I could pay them back when I had money again. When I went to free shows this week, people offered to buy me drinks so that I wasn’t left out of the kind of frivolity you can’t experience drinking tap water. They said that it wasn’t fair that I was missing out on the things I was looking forward to just because I’d stood up for people who were being treated wrongly.
They were prepared to support me, prepared to help me out, even though I don’t know when I’ll be able to return the favour.
I’m still looking for another job. I don’t know when I’ll get one, I don’t know if it’ll be especially good if I do. All I do know is that the next few weeks at least are going to be difficult for me and that I’m going to have to be on top of every little detail of life. That I’ll be buying 20p jars of pasta sauce for a while, that it’s a good thing I’m used to Morrison’s own brand food.
But being in this situation has affirmed that I have good people around me, that I’m lucky to know them. That having them to care about me is most important thing in my life.
I can’t tell how easy life is going to be over the next few weeks, but I know that because of those people, I’ll be okay.
Read part two Here.
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