why I'm not going back to the day job on sarahakwisombe.com

I had felt a big change for me was bubbling under the surface for a while. To put it in context, in February, the project I was working on and loved working on, lost funding. Around the same time I had made a conscious decision to really try and focus on my career in interior design. I'd made a couple of small steps here and there, one being starting this blog back in January, but nothing major. You see, I'm the breadwinner in my family (with a mortgage and toddler to look after, oh and hubby who likes to eat), so the prospect of being out of work with nothing lined up was pretty scary. But I saw it as a possible opportunity to really start my career in interiors. But what could I do? An entry level job at a design house (should I even be able to get one) would be half my salary. We wouldn't cope.

I spent a few days looking, and then I had an offer from a contact. It was a great position. It was something I could really get stuck into, it would use my strengths, I could learn from it and they would match my salary. Oh and they were moving their office down the road from my house! What was there not to love? Oh, it wasn't in interior design. 

I panicked. I thought this was the universe giving me what I needed. I took it. I wasn't ready for interiors yet anyway.

4 months on, that decision hasn't turned out so well. I was slowly starting to realise that in most companies, if you are a senior member of staff on a decent salary, certain things are expected of you. Answering emails out of work. Staying in the office until a job is done. Perhaps doing extra days or evening here and there. A lot of pressure. People expecting you to treat their business like it's your own and give it that same amount of passion and commitment. You may be reading this and laughing to yourself, thinking 'how on earth does this girl not realise this is how business works?!', but I've always been extremely guarded with my personal time. My thoughts are, if you want my time outside of office hours then you can pay me extra for it, and even then I probably won't want it. Because to me, personal time and family time is more valuable than any sum you can pay me. Just because that's 'how business works' doesn't mean shit to me! But I slowly started to realise that this was the norm. And I've never wanted to be a part of that.

I felt trapped. I felt like I was useless at my job because I wouldn't do my role in the way that was considered 'properly'. I lacked in energy and I was really moody. I saw 4-5 of my great female friends sacking in the day job to go and live their dream. I wanted a part of it and it made me frustrated and sad that I wasn't living my dream too. Guess who suffered for that? My family. My sweet baby daughter and my lovely caring husband. They didn't deserve that. I was fed up. 

I was recently talking to a friend who described being at her friend's house for dinner. People talk about how well paid this girl is, and how she has such a great house and is so lucky... etc etc. Everyone wants her life. But when my friend described how her phone was still ringing with work calls at 10pm, that she said she 'had to answer',  I realised something... her employers owned her. Ok she's at home, making dinner with friends, but she HAS to answer her phone. WHY?! It's 2014! Do companies still want to work like it's the fucking 80s?! Sorry, but ball-breaking and being switched on for work at all times or risking being considered a less valuable employee is such a dated method. Modern research shows that we lead happier, more positive, fulfilled lives and actually work harder for our employers if we have enough downtime and reduced stress levels. 

And with that, over a few weeks a huge shift in my mentality towards the value of money, people, relationships, freedom and time happened. Suddenly, I saw the true value of things. And do you know what? Money in exchange for your personal time is never enough. You could pay me a hundred grand and I still wouldn't answer emails sent or phone calls made after 5.30pm. Unless it's my dream that I'm working on, someone else's will never be important enough.

I realised what I wanted out of life. Or didn't want, as it may be...

- I want to have energy at the end of the day to bath my daughter and put her to bed without getting stressed.

- I don't want to look at pictures of my daughter playing outside in the sun with my nephew, whilst I sit in an office. I want to be in the picture. 

- I want to be able to choose which hours of the day I work. If I want to take 2 hours to meet a friend for lunch and then work a bit later into the evening, that's my choice.

- I want to do things during the day while everyone else is at work. It makes me feel special. Every time, it still feels like I'm bunking a day off school and I love it.

- I don't want to sit in an uncomfortable chair, hunched up all day. I want to lie on the floor, on the bed, on the sofa, move rooms if I wish. I want to move.

- I don't want to have stress induced eczema around my eyes. I really, REALLY like wearing eyeliner and this is fucking with my look. 

Isn't it funny that none of those things really involve money that much? Of course money and ease of financial stress aids to the above, but it's not first and foremost.

And so we end up here. In a kind of weird, universe-responding-to-what-I'm-putting-out set of circumstances, I am soon to be jobless. And do you know what, I AM SO FUCKING HAPPY! I've had enough of picking up full time work with good pay in a panic because I am scared of what the future holds. I, people, am fucking going for it. I've never been happier than when I was freelance and I once again vow to not go back to the full time job unless it's in the world of interiors. And even then, it would have to be pretty special and fit with what I demand from my working life.

Life is short. I am bold enough to put out there what I want from it. I know that may make me less desirable to employers, but do you know what? I don't care. If you don't hold yourself to the highest levels and truly go for what YOU want out of life, then who will? Being an employee has one, clearly defined future. You will work hard, get paid a little more each year and get a whole load more responsibility. The more responsibility you have, the more of you they own, and the more of your time and commitment they expect. If you work for yourself, and follow your dreams and passion, the future is unknown. But it has some REAL potential. Sure, it may be that you're skint for the rest of your life, but somehow I don't think that'll happen. 

I'm not spending any more of my extremely valuable time building someone else's dream. I'm going to employ myself. 

*Update, March 2016. Since this post I've been blogging full time. So much has happened! I'm living what I wanted to do all along which was be able to work on interiors and my blog and not have to work for anyone else. In fact, I've even started sharing my story and how I did it with other people too in my No Bull Blog School. If any of this resonated with you, you might wanna check it out. Life is too short to be unhappy.*

S x