Today is the day I mark as the anniversary of the day I became self employed.

It was actually about a week ago that I walked out on the job from hell but today was the first entry on my accounting spreadsheet, so it’s the day I count as “officially self employed”.

So to celebrate, I shall share with you a cheeky little new outfit from Collectif, because OMG, it’s a ROLLER DERBY CARDIGAN!

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β™₯ Skirt and Cardigan c/o Collectif β™₯ Beret – eBay β™₯ Shoes – Chie Mihara*β™₯

Traditionally on this day, I get a little soppy. Everyone has had a hideous job at some point in their lives, and after I graduated from university I had some pretty soul destroying jobs. I worked in telesales *shudder* and I worked for a company at which we were over worked and under appreciated and where I earnt almost half of the male employees doing the same job as me. Then, at the end of 2006, I was unemployed and took a job working as a Reception Manager for a local company.

The fact that I was asked at the interview by my (female) boss about whether I planned to have children and how my husband would feel if I was late home from work and got home after him should probably have rung some alarm bells, but it was a lovely looking office and everyone seemed friendly, so I took the job, like I had much choice! I won’t go into details about specific incidences, because it’s hard to remember them all to be honest, but I’ve never worked for such an appalling boss. Imagine Meryl Streep in the Devil Wears Prada, but with less shoes. After 3 months I handed in my notice, mentally crushed and with all the spirit knocked out of me. Instead I was asked by another department in the same company to move there, where I would have less direct contact with her. So I did, all positive about learning new skills which never really transpired, until 8 months later I was dragged into a disciplinary meeting over some ridiculous made up issues (they really were, but it would take up far too much dull space to tell you about it. Email me if you’re desperately nosey!) and I decided I just didn’t need to let this woman have this much control over my life anymore and handed in my notice.

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So, in November 2007 I found myself unemployed again, feeling pretty down on myself after months of constant criticism, bullying, and being treated like like a personal slave. Christmas was coming, I had a cheque for my final salary and no idea where any money was coming from after that, so I decided to have a dabble in something I’d done a bit in the past, buying and selling second hand and vintage clothing on eBay.

I taught myself some basic HTML skills and set up a website to sell off. I learnt about social media and blogging to promote the shop, and I remembered the things that I was good at and enjoyed. One of my favourite parts was always writing the descriptions for my eBay items (packing them up and going to the post office, not so much) and 5 months later I set up a blog and started writing.

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It took me a long time to get my confidence back, a very, long time, and like anyone I still have days of doubt, but it’s been worth it.

7 years later I run 2 pretty successful blogs, have set up local networks and events like the Vintage Norwich Awards and Norwich Cocktail Week, been invited to speak at conferences, got a qualification as a make up artist and run workshops, taught myself to set up websites and lots about social media, worked with brands and companies I would never have dreamt of, written for publications I admire, contributed to a published book and had opportunities I would never have thought possible.

I hear a lot of people wishing they could be self employed, and they’re always waiting for that perfect time. Being self employed is terrifying, the lack of a regular and predictable pay packet is not easy, and honestly, without the support of my family I’d have had to go back to something like temping to keep going, at least initially.

I still don’t earn as much as I earnt in that awful job, and my sporadic income still sometimes gives me stress, but I earn enough to get by, and sometimes enough to even do nice things, but the most important thing is I’m in control.

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I really believe that if you give yourself time, and persevere, you will find your own path. We get so caught up as adults in how things “should” be. When I was in jobs that made me miserable I would torture myself with the idea that I should be doing something that was somehow more worthwhile. I looked into retraining as a Doctor, a Lawyer, a Midwife, going back to Nursing or becoming a Social Worker, but I think I would very likely have hated every single one of them. When I was a little girl I always wanted to be a writer, or a Princess, and I think that I’ve managed to make a career out of being both. I get to wear pretty frocks and write about things I love and I honestly couldn’t imagine a job that would suit me better. It might not be the most worthwhile job in the world, but it’s me.

Self employment isn’t for everyone, and I’m not suggesting everyone should just walk out on their job because they’re bored. It can be tough and, particularly if you have a family, sometimes there are sacrifices that just can’t be made. That doesn’t mean you need to resign yourself to a life of misery. Always remember, your job does not define you, it is simply the way you make money to live your life, and if your job is affecting your life that negatively, then it’s time to make changes. Whether those are to your, job, or your life.

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It makes me sad when I hear people saying they genuinely hate their jobs, but can’t get out. You only have one life and spending it miserable just so you can afford to live in a bigger house, or buy shoes that don’t even make you happy anyway is a sad way to spend it.

When you were little what were your dreams? Did you take your toys to pieces and put them back together? Did you love spending time with animals, record “radio” shows or write newspapers for your friends? You might not be able to make it your job, but the beauty of modern life and the power of the internet is that you can make it part of your life, and you never know, maybe one day it will be a bigger part of your life, or maybe it will become your career.

You don’t need to know where you’re going straight away, there might be many twists and turns on your path, but thinking about the things you love, and you are passionate about is a good start.

As it turns out, I’m passionate about shoes, Roller Derby and lipstick, and these days that’s my job. So this is the perfect outfit to wear to celebrate. I’ll leave you with my new pose. Still working it, is it a keeper?

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P.S If you love this Collectif outfit, then keep an eye out for the Advent Calendar Giveaway in December!