art and design,  Personal

Two Months of Freedom

Recap: I worked for nine years at a discount variety retail chain. I began at the company as a cashier and worked my way up the ladder into store management. It was a salaried position with a requirement of 50 hours a week, 60 during 6 weeks of the holiday season. The catch was that you worked whatever the business needed and you were not eligible for overtime or any of the fun benefits given to hourly workers. In reality I was working something more like 65-70 hours many weeks. I was lucky to get out at 50 most of the time. I tried to do under whenever possible just to make up for a bad week and save some sanity. At one point I worked 16 days without a day off. I worked 32 hours in a row once, about four hours inbetween to drive home for 20 minutes, sleep a little, drive back for 20 minutes and go in.

I went almost six months without drawing. I barely wrote anything. I did nothing with websites. I made nothing. I was nothing outside of my job.

January 2017. First thing I drew in 6 months.

I developed anxiety. I was really depressed. I hadn’t seen my friends or family. I barely saw my husband in passing. I started hiring people who had similar interests or around my age that I felt like I could click with (and also who I felt would be a decent worker) just so that I could have someone to talk to.

At the end of March 2018, I put in my notice. I gave a long enough notice to train a replacement. I also wanted time to get enough pay saved up.

As of today, it’s been two months since I left. I will never work a salaried job like this ever again. I don’t mind putting in countless hours, losing sleep and sanity for projects that I’m passionate about, be it my own project or working with a company in the future. I’m not passionate about cheap products sold for pennies on the dollar with as high a margin as possible.

The anxiety and depression issues have subsided a great deal. I feel much better, happier, and in a better state of mind.

It feels sort of strange in a way. Almost everything I involved my time in fell to the wayside when I began that job. I’m coming back to everything now realizing that nearly a decade has been lost. It’s been almost that amount of time since I delved into webdesign deeply. I’ve toyed around with it here and there and created some stuff for myself. Yet, I feel really out of the loop. Ten years ago, most people accessed the internet on desktop or laptop computers not on smartphones.

I was offered a job right off the bat doing design work. I’d offered my services to this company off and on throughout my time working in retail. I did the work and I was paid. Now I’m on the payroll, which is great. It’s not a whole lot, but it’s enough for now until I can get my own things going.

I think leaving that job was the best decision of my adult life (aside moving out and living with my then, boyfriend now husband). Don’t get me wrong, I learned a great deal from working there. I never knew I had it in me to manage a store and worked as hard as I had. I miss my coworkers and the times we had together. It was time to leave a chapter of my life behind me.

So two months out, I’m standing at what will hopefully be the beginning of some of the best parts of my story.

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