Should You quit Your Job?

Seventy-two per cent of us want to change ca­reer – but what hap­pens when you do? Read on…


‘In a cli­mate where most peo­ple were try­ing to get a job, I vol­un­tar­ily gave mine up.’ Three years ago Char­lene Lav­ille, CEO of make-up com­pany Nizz Cos­met­ics, quit her job as a nurse. It was scary, it was daunt­ing, but it was some­thing she knew she had to do. Her nurs­ing job, she says, was mak­ing her unhappy. ‘The long hours, the con­stant com­mit­ment… I’d worked very hard to achieve my qual­i­fi­ca­tion and at that point in my life I felt it would be my dream job, but it wasn’t,’ she says. ‘I felt un­grate­ful to even con­sider leav­ing – it was a per­ma­nent job and I have kids – but I knew some­thing greater was await­ing me.’

It was a risk that paid off: in Oc­to­ber, Nizz will launch in Boots and the brand al­ready boasts Caroline Flack and Lit­tle Mix as fans. Her fam­ily were sup­port­ive, but her then em­ployer? Not so much. ‘Her ex­act words to me, with great con­cern, were: “What will you do if you quit nurs­ing?” I never told her my

plan,’ says Char­lene. ‘For me, her doubt was a pow­er­ful mo­ti­va­tor that made me even more de­ter­mined.’

Char­lene’s not alone, though. We all have an idea of how we want our lives to turn out, with the per­fect ca­reer mak­ing up a pretty big part of our #goals – and new re­search from Stan­dard Life has re­vealed that a mas­sive 72 per cent of peo­ple aged 24-35 want to change their ca­reers, with 57 per cent hav­ing thought of start­ing their own busi­ness. But what’s it re­ally like to step out of your com­fort zone and ac­tu­ally do it?

Char­lene ad­mits that she had reser­va­tions. ‘The big­gest worry was my fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion, es­pe­cially when you’re used to a reg­u­lar in­come,’ she says. Her epiphany came af­ter some dud beauty prod­uct choices. ‘I’m a make-up junkie and af­ter sev­eral un­sat­is­fy­ing lip­stick pur­chases I re­mem­ber try­ing one on and think­ing: “I can make some­thing bet­ter than this.” Even though it was a pass­ing thought, that was my light­bulb mo­ment. From that point, I car­ried out eight months of prod­uct and re­search de­vel­op­ment.’

Char­lene’s story isn’t a one-off. Emer Martin re­cently quit her suc­cess­ful job as a press of­fi­cer to be­come a full-time ad­ven­turer. Yes, re­ally. For Emer, things started to go awry af­ter a year as a jour­nal­ist at a top news­pa­per, a job that saw her work­ing all hours of the day. She ex­plains: ‘I looked around me af­ter a year, saw my pri­vate life was a lit­tle worse for wear and started to think about whether this was what I re­ally wanted. I needed more time to do what I love – be­ing ac­tive, run­ning, be­ing out­side. I tried to com­plete a per­sonal trainer course while I was work­ing but I missed the train­ing be­cause I was on jobs. I in­creas­ingly felt like I couldn’t trust my in­stincts.’

She took a job as a press of­fi­cer, but while she en­joyed the role it still wasn’t sat­is­fy­ing her needs. Hav­ing quit, she says: ‘I have two big goals. One is to run the West­ern States, 100 miles through Cal­i­for­nia’s Sierra Ne­vada Moun­tains; the other is to “re-wild” my­self. That means: throw out my heels, skirts and make-up, sell the tread­mill and chuck the straight­en­ers. This isn’t just a change of ca­reer – it’s about my life.’

De­spite her new plan, Emer says she wouldn’t change her pre­vi­ous jobs, as they helped her to re­alise what she re­ally wanted to do. ‘As a teenager who loved be­ing ac­tive and was cu­ri­ous, I strug­gled to com­mu­ni­cate my de­sire to travel and ex­plore. So I stopped try­ing,’ she says. ‘I fixed my­self into a ca­reer I could be “proud of ” and ba­si­cally it ruled my life. But the ad­ven­ture of re­port­ing, trav­el­ling on jobs, writ­ing sto­ries and even mi­cro-ad­ven­tures at the press of­fice all brought me here.’

If you’re feel­ing in­spired but don’t know where to start, you’re not alone. Stats have re­vealed some of the rea­sons why we don’t take the plunge, de­spite many of us be­ing unhappy in our cur­rent roles: for 11 per cent it’s valu­ing the sta­bil­ity we cur­rently have, while 10 per cent lack the con­fi­dence and a fur­ther 10 per cent just don’t know where to start. Look spoke to John Lees, ca­reer coach and au­thor of the soon to be reis­sued How To Get A Job You Love, who told us that it’s im­por­tant to take a step back when think­ing about chang­ing ca­reers – it is a big de­ci­sion. He ad­vises: ‘Talk to any­one with the in­side track on your pre­ferred ca­reer route and see if your skills and strengths match and are com­pat­i­ble.’

John con­tin­ues: ‘Next, if your dream job re­quires a new qual­i­fi­ca­tion or for you to brush up on skills you cur­rently lack, cre­ate an ac­tion plan of how you could make these hap­pen. Fi­nally, test the wa­ter: use any free time to un­der­take some work ex­pe­ri­ence or job shadow for a day to see if this would be the right ca­reer for you be­fore you make the tran­si­tion.’ Seems like sound ad­vice to us!

I need time to do what I love. It’s not just my ca­reer – it’s my life

Matte lips on point, Char­lene!

Emer has re­dis­cov­ered her teenage cu­rios­ity

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