Queens Speech

Quit while you’re ahead

What happens if your dream job turns out to be a complete nightmare?

Well, if at first you don’t succeed… take time out and don’t beat yourself up about it.

So says our guest blogger A Restless Feeling…

This time last year I was working full time in the job I had dreamed of for twenty years.

My older children were in high school and mostly self sufficient, and my young daughter had a lovely childminder. It had all worked out just right.

So when I quit this job late last year after just over a year in the job, had I lost my mind? No.

The dream job was more of a nightmare and I was very unhappy. More importantly, both my family and my mental health were suffering.

The dynamics of our family work better with me at home. My lovely husband has since told me that he was utterly relieved when I said I was leaving work, but he would never tell me that was the right thing to do. 

It is now six months since I left the job. The only downside that we’ve noticed is the inevitable drop in income.

We’re not destitute as I have never been the main breadwinner, and the kids are accepting that we have less money to do things and the lovely overseas holidays of the last two years will be on hold for a while.  I’m not sure my bank manager is a huge fan of the drop in income.

The upsides are numerous however and they are more important than the (not huge amount of) money.

I’m around, I am not missing class assemblies, parents evenings, shared starts, school plays. Even my most stroppy teenager has admitted that he likes me there when he gets home from school.

I can see my people more  regularly and I can organise things around the house. I have time to indulge my hobbies and those of my family. I see everyone off in the morning and check they’ve done all they need to do. 

The best thing of all is that I don’t cry each day, and I’m not getting constant calls from the high school about my sons’ behaviour.

My daughter has far fewer tantrums and we have time together to do things. My husband and I get on a lot better because we aren’t constantly bickering about whose turn it is to do things and neither of us is so tired or so stressed..we are a much happier family. 

To avoid cabin fever, I am doing some volunteering. If you’ve left a terrible job that shot your confidence to shreds, or if you can’t spare enough time for a job, or if you haven’t worked for a long time and want to transition back into work, I can’t recommend volunteering enough.

The other people are inevitably nice people, and they display gratitude for your time instead of expectation. Your hours are dictated by what you are able to contribute.

You say, I can give you one hour every second Tuesday and they say “that’s brilliant, thank you”. Or in my case, I can say that I can offer my time in during school hours and not during school holidays. And there’s nothing as cheering as being genuinely altruistic. 

Many, many women make a tremendous success of managing their career and a family; I’m not advocating that everyone should quit their jobs.

What I am prescribing  is that you need to do what works for your family, for your own wellbeing. That’s unique to you and your own situation.

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