The last month has seen some changes in my life. The biggest one being that I left my job of 7 years to work in retail again. Going from sitting behind a desk, to running around in heavy af shoes is taking its toll on me; I’ve never been so exhausted. However, I’m happy and that is the most important thing.
My previous job was something that I never actually wanted to do. The boyfriend and I were looking to move in together in his home town and the job I had before that was the absolute worst, so I stumbled into call centre work. The money was pretty good compared to what shop work paid and it was close to where we were then living. I jumped at the chance to get out of one crap job and into a new one, that hopefully would be better. Within three months of working there, I knew I hated it. I intended on only staying there for 6 months, until something I preferred came along, and that turned into 7 long, miserable years.
The older generations say “Don’t stay in a job you hate”, but that is easier said than done when you don’t really have a choice.
When those people were young and trying to get started in life, jobs were easy to walk into and good credit wasn’t a huge a factor as it is now. You only had to turn up at the bank to get a mortgage. I left college and entered the working world during the 2007 recession, when the economy was in the toilet and unfortunately, beggars could not be choosers. In 2009, when I started working in the call centre, things were no better and jobs were scarce, especially in small towns. There were so many overqualified and unemployed people that university was pointless for my generation, so I didn’t go. I don’t regret it one bit. Most of the people I know that went to uni are still working crap jobs, or have gone back to learn something new. Unless we had the foresight to educate ourselves within these new, prosperous areas of interest, we are resigned to being the ones in menial positions. So, whilst other generations reaped what they’d sown after years of their credit abuse ruining the economy, my generation has also suffered for their sins.
All that aside, the saying does ring true. Working a job you hate is one of the most horrible, demoralising things you can do to yourself. I went through a period where the thought of getting up and going to work everyday would have me in tears. I’d get into the building, sit at a desk, stare at the monitor and wonder what the hell I had done wrong to end up so unhappy. Yet I got up every day, put a smile on my face and kept going back. I spent my time dreading the thought of going to work and wishing my life away, desperate for rest days, or annual leave to roll around, just so I didn’t have to think about it for a little while.
It changed me. It was as if the misery took over my life and I forgot who I was. I snapped at my boyfriend, stopped doing things I used to enjoy and withdrew into myself. I was resentful of the people who were happy in their jobs because it was something I didn’t have.
By the time Mr a La Mode and I were in enough of a financially stable position that we could afford for me to lose a little money each month, I’d been there for 3 years. I started looking for new jobs but nothing ever really caught my eye. I moved around to different departments within the business and stayed with my last team for 4 years. It didn’t make any difference, in fact it only made me realise that I was never going to be happy within that working environment. Learning something new only distracted me for a while, then the dread set back in.
For the last 18 months, I went on job interviews but nothing was ever quite right, or I never got the call. Last October I thought I’d finally found something I wanted, the small company were really interested, told me that I had a job – any job – and wanted me to wait until they had confirmed with their MD about salaries and such, and then suddenly, their communication stopped. I tried to push forward but didn’t get anywhere with them. It was absolutely gutting to lose hope. After that, the interviews were always a shambles. The more rejection emails I received, the more it felt like that I was never going to find anything else. The thought of being stuck in that call centre for the rest of my life was like a weight pressing down on my chest.
It bore down on me for such a long time that I forgot what it was like to not have it. I forgot what life was like without stress, without upset and I simply thought that was how I had to live. I thought that was what being an adult was. Hating your job but going through the motions until you retire. Films like Office Space only seem to emphasise the assumptions that it was the way the world worked.
Then something happened which finally gave me the push to simply hand in my resignation. It was terrifying to potentially not have an income but honestly, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it anymore. I gave my letter into HR on the Tuesday and by the Thursday, I had another job. After all that time, I’d walked into my first post-call centre interview and nailed. Whilst it’s not really what I want to do for the rest of my life (I have no idea what it is that I actually want), its something. It’s the start of a new era.
Since I left the call centre, I feel like the old me. I’m in a good mood when I wake up in the morning. I have a smile on my face just knowing that I’ll never have to walk through those doors again. The boyfriend has told me that I seem happier in myself and I am. I’m so sorry that I wasted so many years of my life in a job I hated because of money – and it wasn’t even much! That’s the worst part of it, I think. I kept telling myself that I couldn’t leave because I needed however much disposable income but I didn’t – I don’t!
Looking back, I was afraid of going through the vetting process, finding a new job and hating it as much as I despised the call centre. That fear kept me from doing what I should have done after 6 months; leaving.
All that being said, there was one good part about the job. The people. I made some fantastic friends and for the most part, I had such supportive, amazing colleagues. I do miss them a lot, especially when I see something and think Oh, I must tell so and so on Monday and remember that I won’t see them. But that’s what Facebook is for.
So, readers, learn from my mistakes and if you truly hate your job then get out of there as soon as you feasibly can.