Why I Quit My High-End Job to Risk it All
Sometimes you don’t know what’s destined for you until you dare to face it.
I moved out of home in my early twenties. Fell in love — with both a man and the city — and found my future in it. There was something about the abundance of activity and endless suits roaming the streets that made me feel like I was really where I should be. You find your calling in among the high-rises and laneway coffee, inspired by the whispers around you and the hustle of CEOs that talk business as they stride up the sidewalks. That’s where — and how — I fell in love with working, living, and breathing the city life.
For context, that ‘city living’ is in Melbourne, Australia; it’s no New York and definitely not the City that Never Sleeps. But it’s got that air about it that makes you truly believe that everyone you come across on your daily commute is just out there to hit their goals and make ‘the big time’.
The thing about being a writer is that the ‘big time’ is sometimes simply landing a job in general. You’re astronomically lucky if you find yourself on coffee tables across the globe — and truly, I applaud you, if that is you. But sometimes success as a writer just means finally having someone acknowledge that you can make art out of words, some way or another.
I found that sense of accomplishment when I was sitting in my apartment — shared with my partner at the time — and desperately applying for copywriting jobs. I’d been on several interviews and done a good enough job, but nothing had landed. I had years of ‘unpaid’ experience under my belt, plenty of published pieces and a go-getter attitude that you only seem to get out of a fresh university graduate with an arts degree.
Sometimes success as a writer just means finally having someone acknowledge that you can make art out of words, some way or another.
Nonetheless, the call came eventually and I soon enough found myself working in one of Australia’s leading digital marketing agencies. From there, I was able to cultivate a skill set that I cannot thank the company enough for today. It’s given me an armoury of powerful abilities that I use each and every day, and more to the point, it’s given me the pathway to being a business owner myself.
That was back in 2014. After almost three years, I had moved my way up the chain of being a junior copywriter and into being the Head of Content. But I didn’t entirely feel like my hunger for success had been filled. Something was missing and I wasn’t really sure what it was. At least not until I was contacted by an agency in the field of journalism and content marketing.
Lesson #1: Trust Your Childhood Dreams
If you ask my family, my addiction to the written word and journalism came when I was still wearing pink gumboots, running around with that six-year-old innocence on my grandparents’ farm. And I don’t think I was able to satisfy that longing for it until I sat across from a former news reporter, interviewing for the role of Managing Editor.
I had worked in marketing and run a team of copywriters, but found myself suddenly in the realm of journalism again. “Finally,” I thought to myself, “I am home.”
The hunger still burned, though. It crept through my veins, making me argue with my mind time and time again about what I really wanted out of this journey. I was working in a field I had dreamed about since I was a child; one that I had studied and gained multiple degrees for. I still didn’t feel satisfied and eventually, I became frustrated with myself for not knowing what was missing.
It wasn’t until after a couple of years of liaising with journalists as my daily job that what was truly missing was a combination of my former role in digital marketing (heavily reliant on SEO) and journalism at the same time. But more so, I wanted to sit on the throne and know what it felt like to drive my own journey — to feel completely and utterly in control of my success on a level that you just don’t get when you work for The Man.
I remember thinking on a mild spring morning that I was done. I was going to go into the office and I wasn’t going to come out of it employed. I loved my colleagues, the job was not all that bad and I had learned so much — but it wasn’t enough. If you were to ask me how to quit your job, well I’d say do it in a way that feels right — and to me, that right way was going with my instincts.
Lesson #2: Nothing Good Comes Without Experiencing the Unknown
Grabbing my daily almond milk latte at the high-rise across the road from our headquarters, I stood staring up at the former Channel 10 building across the intersection. I thought about all the people that have whirled around those streets and made lives of their own, taking risks and plunging themselves into the unknown to make something incredibly remarkable out of the mess.
What I came to realise is that you cannot ever achieve 100% happiness and satisfaction with your own path until you’ve taken enough risks to squeeze more out of the journey entirely. I couldn't sit idle and just ‘content’ with where I was any longer, even if I was only 27 at the time. I seem to get uncomfortable in the silence and the sense of being stagnant.
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” — Hellen Keller
That same day, I told my former partner I was quitting my job. He didn’t question me and instead supported me. And by 5 pm, I had done the deed and found my freedom. Is quitting your job without another job lined up a good idea? Probably not. But nothing good comes without risk; playing it safe won’t land you your dreams.
Lesson #3: Believe in Yourself and Nothing (Not Even 2020) Can Stop You
Fast-forward three-odd years and my business is flourishing — a content and copywriting business where I’ve been able to foster and nourish my own little team of creators, marketers, and writers who are all out to make masterpieces out of their journeys, too.
It’s 2020 and my little ‘agency’ — Words Are Louder — has survived a pandemic, two lockdowns, a breakup, a relocation, and uncertainties to the highest level. I’ve been so incredibly fortunate and lucky enough to partner with some of the most brilliant minds in the digital marketing field (you know who you are) and that’s given me something I can never, ever be too thankful for — gratitude.
I am grateful that I pushed harder. I am grateful that I found my way when I wasn’t sure that I had chosen the right path. I am grateful that I trusted my gut when others didn’t, and most of all, I am grateful to those that helped me get here. From my former bosses and colleagues to the people in my team today: I have you to thank for my ability to get up in the morning and pave my own path.
To the writers who are ready to take the leap but don’t know when the right time to jump is: no moment is better than another, but that moment is now. Take those risks, chug a shot of espresso, and dream big.
And most importantly, move worlds with your words.
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