In the last few weeks, we have been encouraging you all to sit down and think about what is it that you want to do with your lives, jobs and careers. On a daily basis, we received wonderful emails telling us about how we have inspired you to finally take control of your lives and follow your dreams. We are humbled by all the feedback we have received from you, and so I thought it would be useful if we could go one step further and share with you some real life stories about what happens after you quit a job you hate!

Danielle Panetta Biodanielle_pic

Danielle Panetta is a corporate life escapee, author of flyingoffthewheel.com and co-founder of RunGazella.co.uk.  After spending seven years in the banking industry, she was never really convinced it was the career for her and in 2012 decided it was time to take action.  Six months later she has been through the emotional roller coaster but is starting to build a sustainable life for herself without a banking pay cheque, and loving it.

What Happens After You Quit a Job You Hate

Quitting a job isn’t difficult.  Leaving your cubicle prison that held you captive all those years is easy.  You walk up to your manager, say “I’m done, I’m leaving.
I’m moving to the Caribbean/Mediterranean/Sahara Desert.”.  You then sit at your desk for four weeks refusing to do any work, hoarding a bit of stationery, taking longer coffee breaks and increasing your googling skills without concern.  On your last day, you walk out and breathe a sigh of relief.  You’ve made it.

 

And then….and then… then what? Oh, crap.

 

The real challenge begins the second you step outside the company door.

 

For years you have focused most of your energy on your career – whether working on it or working out why you hate it and what you would change.  For better or for worse, it provided a framework for your life.  A reason to get up in the morning.  A benchmark to which you compare all other aspects of life.  So when you take it away,  you’re left with a gaping void of uncertainty, which could have you running back to that career faster than you can say “I’m sorry, I was wrong, I do enjoy spending my life at a desk.  A UV light tan isn’t that bad after all.”

 

This is what I have just been through.

In December last year, I left my job at a big bank for a number of reasons, mostly because I was unhappy and unfulfilled.  I had been working on a small business in the background and wanted to dedicate more time to it, and I wanted more control of how I spent my time.
It is coming up on six months since that fateful day, and I have managed to sketch out the framework of a new lifestyle and career, but it has been a roller coaster ride of emotions, during which I had very real thoughts about going back to my old career.  This is an honest account of what I experienced during those six months.
Month 1
I’m on top of the world. I could not be happier to be out of that “prison”.  I have high aspirations and am happy to tell anyone who will listen that I have escaped.  Take a brief break to clear my head and enjoy the freedom.
Month 2
Time to get things really rolling.  Launch my online business (RunGazella.co.uk) after several months of work and make my first sale.  This is going to be good.

 

Month 3
Still sitting on one sale and reality starts to hit when I look at my bank account.  That pile of savings is slowly diminishing.  Uncertainty and self-doubt creeps in.

 

Month 4
Still no further sales, the bank account is dropping further, and I realise that this career change is going to be harder than I thought.  I avoid questions about my job and my business. I have several discussions with my boyfriend about going back to my old career, but he thankfully points out what a bad idea this is.  Feel lost, uncertain and have lost confidence in myself.  Watch lots of Tvs.

 

Month 5
Fed up with Charmed and 90210 re-runs, I start fighting back.  Look into other options for earning money that allow me to run my business on the side.  Apply for all part-time and flexible jobs and investigate the potential to become a personal trainer.  Start working on my business again, trying to grow it organically.
Month 6
Am offered some part-time and flexible finance work with an old colleague (perfect!).  Thanks to the work I put into the business, I’ve made a few more sales.  Working on managing my time so I can also do that personal training course.  The new lifestyle is starting to take shape.
Conclusion
As you can see, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing, and after six months I am still working things out.  However, I can say, that I am now happier than I have ever been.  I feel real achievement and ownership in my work, which are two things that were severely lacking in my previous career.
I believe your career is a marathon, not a sprint and that it is better to build a lifestyle that you aren’t continuously trying to escape from.  Keeping this at the forefront of my mind has been vital in staying on the path to finding meaningful and fulfilling work… and keeping me out of those big banks with their tempting piles of cash, gym facilities, in-house medical centres, hamster wheels…

 

Talented Heads LogoHere at Talented Heads, we have gone through this painstaking process ourselves in the past. We’re here to help you if you get stuck. If you have any questions, or to keep the conversation going, feel free to get in touch with me: https://twitter.com/daria_taylor