About one year ago, I was having a bad day at work. You might have been too. We all have good days and bad days at work – but I’d been having bad day upon bad day since I’d returned from maternity leave and I knew it wouldn’t take many more of these bad days to bring on some kind of breakdown.
So what was so bad?
To be honest, I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t work an office job and be a full-time mum. Because you know when you go back to work… it doesn’t mean you stop being a mum. You’re not a part-time mum. You’re still a mum all of the time.
When I first found out I was pregnant, I made a promise to myself that I would still do everything I wanted and I wouldn’t let having a baby affect my life negatively at all. But yet there I was crying at my desk daily, spending my entire lunch times sat in a toilet cubicle expressing milk for an hour only to end up with a few ounces, becoming rubbish at a job that I was previously brilliant at (if I do say so myself), suffering from extreme memory loss and stress, and spending hours and hours every day on the M4 to take Luna to childcare in one direction then off to work in the other direction. And the worst bit? I was actually paying for this misery. After nursery fees, petrol, and train fares (along with the standard mortgage, bills, food and living costs) I was left with less money than I started with. So what was the point?
On the day I quit, something probably quite trivial had annoyed me. I can’t even remember what it was. I had a pile of work sat in front of me, and I wasn’t passionate about any of it! My usual positive, hard-working, get-the-job-done-no-matter-what attitude had vanished and instead, my mind was filled with thoughts of playing with Luna. Add milk-full boobs to the mix from breastfeeding a six month old and I was literally ready to explode!
At the time, I had just ONE freelance job that had lasted a month and paid me £500. I was helping a friend of a friend but the spare cash was nice. And then it clicked. If I had just this one freelance job, I’d be better off than my 4 day a week job. I’d have no nursery fees saving me £52 a day! I’d have no train fare saving my over £200 a month, my petrol costs would be minimal as I could work from home. AND i’d get to be with Luna and work around her when it suited me.
I’d actually already written out my notice in the back of my notebook a few weeks earlier to see how it felt, after another one of these constant ‘bad days’. But then the other girl in the Cardiff office got in there fist and left for Australia so I decided to wait a little bit before jumping on the ‘I quit’ bandwagon.
So there I was, sat in the office on my own. I’d had my appraisal a few days earlier but hadn’t mentioned how I was feeling. And then something annoyed me and I send my managers an email.
“Hi, could we have a catch up soon please”
My manager called me straight away from the other office as he obviously knew I had more to say that I hadn’t said in my appraisal. Just hearing “Hi Fran” was enough to set me off and I exploded into hysterical tears. If you ever stumble upon this, Rich – sorry, I know crying girls are well out of your comfort zone but you were a massive help. I ended up dumping all these thoughts I had been carrying with me for months on my boss, and basically telling him I didn’t care about checking and proofing the copy for the client’s new website, or putting together a list of media recommendations for another client’s advert. The passion I’d put into the job for 3 and a half years had gone. I told him I wanted to pick up some digital freelance jobs as I could earn more money from home. And I told him I just couldn’t be the mum I wanted to be and be away from my daughter for 10-12 hours a day!
He gave me the weekend to think about it properly, but come Monday my mind was even more firmly made up. I had a chat with my other manager, followed by the MD, and that was it. I worked six weeks notice to take me neatly up to the end of the tax year and it was over – my life of employment was behind me… forever.