Three years ago I landed my dream job designing kitchens and bathrooms for one of the biggest retailers in the UK. When I received my name badge with the title Design Consultant written on it, I suddenly felt like I had ‘made it’ and that finally all those job changes led to that very moment. My perspective was that I was finally going to be happy. Three and a half years of studying my degree part time whilst working full time was going to pay off. At around the same time I was a couple of months into my Masters degree which I was offered a scholarship for.
I began the job and was very successful. I was designing lovely kitchens, selling more than colleagues in my first few months who had been doing the job for years, decades even. I received recognition from the big wigs and a reward at a regional conference. I was earning double the money I had ever earned before.
With the role, came travel. It was one hour twenty minutes each way to work. I would leave home in the morning at 7:30 and depending on home visits I would normally get home at 9 pm. I would have my tea on the table ready for me, a bubble bath already ran and then I would study before going to bed and doing it all again the next day. I was buzzing, or so I thought I was. With earning this money I was able to pay my mum back for the money I borrowed to pay for my car and my Masters degree quite quickly. I would transfer over £1000 a month, have enough to cover mortgage and bills then frivolously spend the rest on whatever I wanted. I wasn’t saving any money because I felt like I deserved to spend it. My then-partner didn’t really question it either. I was also losing weight, I got down to my ‘dream weight’ which I strived towards for years without even having to try.
After doing this for six months I suddenly crashed. Quite literally. I had a car accident on my way to work, speeding as the novelty of getting up early to do the hour plus commute was wearing thin. I was exhausted but also late. Very silly mistake, but luckily was I fine, just very shaken. The honeymoon period of my work was settling down and I was getting my teeth into the Masters degree which was proving more difficult than I anticipated. I was working six days a week and remember enjoying my first day off where I had plans with my then-boyfriend. The first time in months. My manager text me demanding I go into work because of a customer complaint. I just broke down as that was the moment I actually realised things weren’t working in all aspects of my life. My relationships with the people around me, my work and my studying. I realised I had changed as a person and not necessarily for the better. I lost sight of the important things and wasn’t at all happy. My employer did support me to work part time at a store closer to home to complete my studies.
Last night I received my mark for my second to last module of my Masters and I received a distinction. Yay me! I have also just handed in my notice at work because this chapter of my life has poetically come to an end. I have got a job for a local company who design and make their own home furniture, furnishings and lighting. The job does come with a pay cut and is full time hours but I am excited at the prospect of working a lot closer to home, in a more ethical way. My ethics have been questionable working in sales where management is pressuring you to hit targets and “put as much money through as you can”. Yes, it is the way of the world, but I am intentionally choosing not to make this a way of my world anymore. I have worked weekends for years, every single bank holiday and I’m making the effort to not do this anymore. A job should not encourage you to change your values. This Christmas however, I am excited to be able to spend with my partner’s parents in Florida.
Since discovering minimalism I have realised I do not ‘need’ to be earning silly money to sustain my simple lifestyle. By living more intentionally, I am much happier, focused and also creative.
This is a very honest post I wanted to write to get closure on this period of my life. The next chapter is going to have its ups and downs and I’m fully prepared for that, excited even for it.