Why I have quit my dream job

February 16, 2016

This feels like a break-up, and even though I’m the one ending it, I’m still heart-broken.

Three years ago I was about to launch a magazine, working long hours fine tuning everything from how the page numbers would look, to our very first cover feature, pouring years of publishing experience into a project that would have my face in the front. I was, in short, doing what every aspiring journalist dreams of – creating a title that I would run.

A lot has changed in those three years, but there have been some constants; I have adored my dedicated, passionate team who have shared my vision throughout, I have stood by the editorial integrity of the magazine and its unique voice, and I have loved meeting so many wonderful people, whether interviewing international experts, or a chance encounter with someone starting up that we could help.

And deciding to leave hasn’t been easy – it would have been a lot easier, in fact, if I was working on a title that meant nothing to me, if I hated my boss or was made to work endless hours with little reward. None of those are true.

What is true, however, is that I need more flexibility in my schedule to fit in with having a one-year-old daughter, and it’s pretty darn hard to edit a magazine unless you’re all in. As I discussed in a previous post, having a baby has made me better at my job, making me more efficient and focused, and amping up my ambition – a surprise side effect – but I feel like I need a new adventure. That sounds like such a cliché…

Resigning was horrible. Truly. I cried. Deeply unprofessional, but a real reflection on what a wrench it will be to leave a company where I have worked for six and a half years, alongside really REALLY awesome people, and had a blast. Seriously, from interviewing my heroes to reviewing hotels in the Maldives, it has been a dream gig. But it’s not enough. After years of being attached and associated with the same role, I’ve been blinkered to other prospects, and I suspect have been overlooked too. It’s only when I thought about leaving my job did I recognise the myriad of opportunities that are (hopefully) awaiting me.

I’ve missed learning and challenging myself, so it’s time to go it alone for a while. Well, that’s not strictly true – I’ve been asked to stay on part-time at the magazine for a few months, working from the office one day per week, which suits me perfectly. In that time I’ll be working hard to build up freelance writing, editing and radio work, as well as putting more time into The Mothership. Please keep reading! And I’m hugely grateful to the company for this flexible approach – something many UAE businesses need to improve on to better accommodate working parents.

I’d be lying if I said that being a mother hasn’t changed my outlook on work, and the balance all working mums are trying to achieve. I’m very lucky in that I’m in an industry where I can freelance, do project-based work and be productive from home, whereas some people (air traffic controllers, for example…) are very much tied to their desks and other peoples’ schedules.

Phoebe is at an awesome age, where every day something changes or develops, and I don’t want to miss out – and let’s face it, I’m probably going to be toiling away until I’m old and grey(er), so taking a non-traditional approach to work (eg not aldeskso 9 to 5) for a few years might make a lot of sense. I could tell you about how heart-breaking it is to say goodbye to her in the mornings – especially now she blows kisses as I leave – or how I sit in the car outside the house when I get home, dealing with emails so I don’t have to do that when I’m on mum duty, but every working mother knows what that’s like. It’s rough.


The morning goodbye ritual

I’ll still be a ‘working mum’ (I love what I do, and nappies aren’t cheap), but I’ll be working in a different way that allows more time with our daughter, plus I write better at night.

Who knows? Maybe within a few months I’ll be desperate for routine, missing the camaraderie of my colleagues and the security of a regular paycheque, but for now I just need to explore the alternative.

Wish me luck x

13 responses to “Why I have quit my dream job”

  1. tara rogers-ellis says:

    May success follow you wherever you go, and may you embrace all the opportunities the universe is going to be guiding your way.????

  2. Jessica Robinson says:

    Good luck Helen! You’re an amazing woman and have achieved an incredible amount at Good magazine. Thank you for letting me be part of it and for promoting my work in Dubai. Any big decision is scary and comes with risks but I have every faith in you, you’ve bossed being an editor, you’re bossing being a Mama and now you’ll boss being a freelancer and marching to the beat of your own drum. As my Dad always says ‘knock em dead kiddo!’ Lots of love xxx

    • Helen Farmer says:

      Thanks my love! Really do appreciate it – you’re an absolute star and a creative inspiration. And your dad sounds awesome xxx

  3. Kate Bell says:

    This makes me happy and sad in equal measure, you’ve done a stellar job with Good, but am enjoying The Mothership because you don’t pull punches, and do it with humour and grace. Wherever the road leads you, may it stay steady under your feet

    • Helen Farmer says:

      Thanks Kate – I still have a huge amount of love for good, and hope to still be involved in some capacity. As for The Mothership, I’m still finding my feet – but really enjoying it! Really appreciate your kind words, h

  4. Kathryn Louw Hawkes says:

    I’m really excited for you, Helen. I am certain that big things await you and I look forward to watching your new journey unfold. Best of luck. Kath x

  5. Camilla Way says:

    Wow big decision! and Congrats! Guess the only constant in life is change! I’m also preggers ..super excited but anxious about all the change…Best of luck to you lovely lady xx

  6. Wiebke Katsoudas says:

    All the very, very best Helen!! I was going through a similar emotional roller coaster when I had my baby and decided to leave the company I helped to build and shape for more than 10 years. Testing my wings and starting a business that I am truly passionate about was the BEST thing ever. Am I still scared? Hell yeah, every day. But that does not stop me any minute from doing what I’m doing. Lots of love and steady winds behind your sails!!

    • Helen Farmer says:

      Thanks Wiebke!!! It’s an exciting but scary time, but I have faith it’s the right decision. Eeek. Looking forward to being open to new opportunities, spending time with the little one, and getting healthy. H x

  7. Elissar_m says:

    Sometimes life forces us to make hard decisions. Keep yourself up and good luck in your future endeavors!

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