Some people wanted to be a vet when they were younger.
Some people wanted to be a police officer or a teacher, or a pilot.
I've had many different answers for the question 'What do you want to be when you grow up?' From a young age I knew I didn't want my career to rule my life, unless it was something I absolutely loved doing. As most people are probably aware, it's not that easy getting the income you want doing a job you really love.
I've been quite fortunate in that I've had many good experiences with work throughout my life. It all began around 5 years ago at a little Yankee Candle shop next to a garden centre. I worked there part time during college and loved every minute of it.
I then went to work for John Lewis for a bit over the Christmas period. Leaving Yankee Candle was one of my biggest regrets. I missed the close-knit feel of the team there, and coming home with hair smelling like candles each day. John Lewis wasn't the same, and the Christmas rush made me feel more like a little worker bee rather than an individual who's work is appreciated.
After I finished at John Lewis, I got a job at Boots Opticians. I remember going in for my interview and feeling the excitement bubble inside of me. You know all those fancy machines they use before you see the optometrist? I got to use those on a daily basis for two years. The novelty never really wore off, it was an exciting job, and such a huge range of people to deal with each day. All ages, all walks of life. I learned quite a lot about optics during my time there - something I'd never really given a second thought about previously. At one point I wanted to continue my training to become an optician specialising in contact lenses. I guess you never know where life will lead you!
This time last year, a Yankee Candle shop was due to open up in a large city near my hometown. I applied immediately. I got an interview, and got the position as a supervisor. (I know this all sounds very dramatic, but this was such a big moment for me. A chance to work for my favourite company again and relive the memories from my first ever job!)
Then I quit.
I handed in my resignation, holding back tears as I did so.
I miss my old co-workers so much. I've never felt so 'at home' at work. In a good way - I cared about the store such a lot, and never found myself waking up thinking 'urgh, work again.' There was always something to look forward to. I feel as though I really (don't laugh) found myself whilst working there. My confidence grew and grew, and I learned so many valuable life lessons. Big shout out to Bailey for being a super manager and supporting me through some really tough times!
I was quite possibly having the best time I may ever have at work (umm, but let's be optimistic here..!) but I decided it was time for a change.
I had decided to move to Devon, over a hundred miles away from the house I'd lived in since I was born. Just shy of 22 years under the same roof. I made a slightly risky decision to leave before securing work in my new hometown, and in hindsight I would have probably got my skates on a little earlier and stood my feet on more solid ground. However - it all worked out, and I think I'm almost out the other side.
I got a new job. I haven't started yet, but I'm very excited.
I'm going to be a postwoman!
Just the other day I re-discovered an old book of mine from around 2011: 'My Future Listography - All I Hope To Do In Lists.' On a page titled 'List your dream jobs'.. fifth row down, just underneath 'Manager of a Yankee Candle shop..' there it was. Written in pencil 5 years ago. 'Postwoman in the West Country.'
What do I want to be when I 'grow up?' I'm not sure, but the freedom I found in starting afresh puts my mind at rest about ever possibly feeling 'trapped' in a job. You are never truly trapped, just lacking the drive, bravery.. or perhaps the right motivation to make a change. It's scary, and yes it's risky - but I had my fingers crossed that it'll all work out, and it did.