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