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I quit my job to go part-time and pursue more happiness.

November 9, 2017

Some big things have been happening (yeh, no, duh, thus the title).

 

My fingers have been itching to share this part of the journey with you, mysterious internet friends, but when it comes to dealing with job contracts we all know there’s a sensitivity to it that must be respected.

IE. Not just running around the streets of Oslo with a megaphone yelling “I quit my job and I sort of feel like I’m following my dreeeeaaams!” before discussing said development with your colleagues and close family (and, occasionally in the moments of crazy 3am insomnia, your cats).

 

But it’s true folks. I quit my full-time, respectable, competitive-paying, pretty cushy, career cementing job (sort of) to pursue my projects of the heart (sort of).

 

 

The privilege of having jobs that aren’t just jobs

 

Up until now every job I have ever applied for has been to pay the bills.

Since university my definition of career goals has been "Get Financial Security." It’s something that always felt really far away but completely crucial to me having a functioning life and I was willing to do pretty much whatever it takes to get it.

 

Career ladders to me were defined by barging my way on to one and climbing to the next rungs. It didn’t seem to really matter which ladder it was. All I knew was that Up meant Security (a falsehood inherited from the past and I would learn means very little today) and that’s where I wanted to be.

 

I couldn’t afford to take a career in the subject I studied at University. Let’s be clear here, I mean that literally, I could not afford to pursue work in a field where I would have to work crazy hours voluntarily whilst taking on more debt and studies.
My post-grad course was filled with middle-aged, seemingly middle-class folks who already had a career and could self fund taking this “extra interest” course which I saw was my only ticket to getting a relevant job. Period.

It doesn’t matter what subject it was. I feel like this relates to so many others today anyway. I’m not a special story.

 

So I got ANY job. Over and over again. Sometimes moving Up, sometimes moving to a new city, once or twice a new country...retail, bar work, construction company admin stuff, receptionist, more retail, mental health worker, bank account advisor, night shifts, weekend shifts, sometimes weeks or months of unemployment in between.

 

I did not lack drive.

I did not lack direction.

I did well in every job.

 

I told myself I would try and get into HR. I told myself I would get into Advertising. I told myself I would study again. I told myself I would move and start over.

 

 

I rarely asked myself what I wanted to do and when I did I had NO IDEA how to start answering that question. Where I come from success is measured by providing for your family and not by seeking self-fulfilment.
The concept you could try, and succeed, to do both was incomprehensible to me.

 

So then I moved to Oslo and I got a Good Job in Marketing. I was skilled at this job. I, at times, even enjoyed this job. I started moving up the ladder in said job and, when everything went tits up and the company made most of my colleagues and friends jobless while suffering through a cesspool of toxicity and bullshittery, I moved to a Better Job in the same field.

I have an apartment. I pay my bills. I paid off the scariest bits of my debt. I stopped comparing the prices of bread in the supermarket. I stopped being as afraid to open the mail.

I got it. I got financial security. And as I sit here now typing this out I could cry at how fucking proud I am, how fucking tired I am, how fucking privileged I am.

 

And here I am about to flip the metaphorical desk over.

Because when I reached my goal I found myself exhausted and so deeply unhappy.

 

You don’t have to get paid to do what you love

 

...but I realised I needed to make more time for it in my life.

 

By chance I stumbled across the book F**k it - Do what you love by John C. Parkin. I’m not going to lie I was partly just swayed to buy it because of the swearing and the cover art but it turned out to be just what I needed.

 

I read it in 2 days and decided there and then that I would find a new compromise between financial security and doing more of what I love (in my case, giving real time and energy to something I’ve been doing all my life anyway: writing).

 

So a couple of weeks ago I, mostly, quit my job.

 

“Mostly” because A GIRL HAS TO HUSSLE AND PAY THE BILLS, YO. I took on a part time job with Lunette, getting to utilise my Marketing and writing skills for causes I really give a shit about (yes, I’m now officially getting paid to talk about period positivity and feminism. Booya. Dream).

 

I’ll also be working other part-time and freelance projects to fund my cats’ lavish lifestyle and keep my skills fresh.

 

 

The realities...and doing it anyway

 

It will be a BIG pay cut. But my bills will still be paid.

It will mean weird work hours. But on my own terms.
It will mean no paid holidays and a bunch of other tax shit I still have to figure out. But...learning curve?

 

Crucially though:

 

I may fail. Statistically I probably will. But I’m not afraid to do so.

And when I realised this I knew I was doing the right thing.

 

I finally started writing my book this month. It’s happening. I’m really, seriously, oh LORD feeling the fear(!) and just doing it anyway.

 

 

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Ruth Rostrup 2019

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