At the end of May 2016, I walked out of the office (and the civil service) for the last time, with no job lined up – and no intention of getting one anytime soon.
I never set out to be a civil servant when I started working for a government agency in 2005; I wanted to work in comms. 11 years later and I’d done various comms jobs, before moving on to HR and ending up working on open government policy. After the Tory victory in the 2015 election though, I knew I needed out. This was not the world for me.
When the opportunity of redundancy arrived in December 2015, I knew I’d be applying. Yes I had doubts – what would I do next? Would taking redundancy mean I was a quitter and had failed? Would the grass really be greener on the other side? All that aside, I knew I needed to follow my heart rather than my head for once and see what would be.
Waking up that first weekday morning knowing I didn’t have to go to work was weird – but I got used to it. Being able to go with the flow and do what I felt like doing each day made such a change from the 9-5 routine I was so used to. I had a long awaited trip to Copenhagen to look forward to; a trip to Paris with my mother; and I was planning a whole heap of other adventures.
I’ve enjoyed being able to spontaneously say “yes” to meeting up for drinks, lunch, dinner; jump on a train to the seaside at a whim; book a (for me) last minute long weekend in New York for my birthday without having to plan time off work or just spend the day mooching around London. I’ve enjoyed being able to say “no” to the world, and stay curled up at home watching films and cross stitching. It hasn’t all been easy though. I’ve learnt a lot about myself and my need for structure in my life, and it can be lonely during most the week when most of your friends are at work, but it’s given me the break I needed to focus on me for once.
I always said I’d go back to work in January – and that time is now here. I’m not back at work yet (though the search is underway and I’m hoping to find something soon) but my attitude to work is different now and I know that whatever job I start 2017, I’ll be in a better place.