“Tenure is great, but not at the expense of building a more diverse skill set” — Kyle Kensing
I’ve always been a job hopper. It’s what I’m known for and I take pride in it. I like to say it’s because I don’t settle for anything less than what I deserve, but really, it’s because I get bored easily — and I actually find job applications pretty fun.
Building my skill set
I graduated with a Law Degree back in 2012 and went travelling for a few months before entering the job market. If I had the money, I would have travelled for longer.
When I came home, I moved straight down to London. It seemed like the right thing to do, to get a ‘big girl’ job in the City. Unfortunately, I was not a ‘big girl’ and didn’t do too well in my first job which lasted a painful 4 months and then a second which lasted just 2 weeks. Long story short, after a little under a year and a half, I left London with my then boyfriend to work a season abroad in Greece. Naturally.
One break up and 6-month contract later, I moved back to my hometown and worked for a deaf-blind guy for a few months, cooking his meals and taking him out for walks. This was all going well until I realised he was a sexual predator, but that’s another story.
Luckily for me, I’d been applying to join the Police Force as a 999-call operator, and I got the job. Wahoo, finally a ‘big girl’ job that I could settle into. Whilst it was a personal record, I only made it to the one-year point before I threw in the towel and decided I should maybe make use of my Law Degree.
I’d hated my degree and had almost switched to another course but couldn’t be bothered with the rig moral of having to start from the beginning when I was already a year in. So why did I want to pursue the legal route? I still don’t know the answer to this myself. I suppose I knew I was capable of it and wanted to make people proud — but shouldn’t it have been about me?
I took a low paying job in a factory law firm because I was told there would be ‘good prospects’. There were not. I left after 6 months.
I moved onto a very small law firm, in a PA role, that was much more up my street. After a couple of years there enjoying the admin side of things, I decided to try my hand at gaining some more legal qualifications — which I did — and it was then I realised; what was I doing? I’d been there almost 3 years and the natural step was to progress into a legal role — but I didn’t want it. We won’t mention that I was working with a horror of a colleague that I couldn’t possibly stay there any longer.
So I quit
I handed in my notice with no job to go to. Funnily enough, this is actually one of my proudest moments. It scared the shit out of me at the time, but I pretended it didn’t so that my husband didn’t freak out anymore than he already was. I was excited to apply for a new role (as I always was) but I had no idea what to do, and I was desperate to work from home.
It was getting closer and closer to the end of my notice period and I nervously giggled whenever I was asked, “so what are you going to do next?” I still didn’t have a clue.
It was then I stumbled upon the concept of being a Virtual Assistant. It was everything I had been doing for the last few years in my legal job as a PA, but from the comfort of my own home.
I applied to some salaried roles and after a few awkward zoom calls, I was no closer to being employed. So, I joined an agency. And voila, I got my first client! It was a scramble to organise my insurance and set myself up as self-employed, but I did it, and I’d taken the leap. Each month, I’d gain another couple of clients, managing their diaries, organising meetings and writing their social media or blog posts.
Now, I have little income streams coming in all over the place. I have no fixed hours, no travel to work, and sometimes I work in my Onesie. It’s not for everyone but it can be whatever you make it.
“The only really committed artist is he who, without refusing to take part in combat, at least refuses to join the regular armies and remains a freelance” — Albert Camus
If someone had told me a year ago, that I’d pack my well-paid full-time job in and go freelance, I would have laughed in their face. It still seems crazy to me now. But I’m doing it, and no-one could convince me to go back now I have this renewed sense of freedom. Every day is my own. My time is my own. And every new client is a new job. Genius.