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  • Writer's pictureElana Withnall

I quit my job with nothing to go to

Updated: Jun 26, 2020

At 25 years old.

And University masters graduate.

Living out of home, in a rental apartment.

Working full-time, as a personal trainer at a gym.

I really did love my job, don’t get me wrong.

As an athlete, educating other people about health and fitness was extremely encouraging.

It just no longer gave me the same sense of drive or enthusiasm it once did...

Six years of university studies later, working part-time, full-time and studying full time - I finally finished my degree and became a fully qualified sports journalist.

But I felt ‘stuck.’

Stuck that I wasn't utilising all my hard years of study. That I hadn't got a 'real job,' straight out of uni, like some of my classmates did. (And I couldn't help comparing myself to). I was still searching for that 'dream job,' that you jump-out-of-bed for. I felt like, deep deep down - I was somewhat living a mediocre life, from the vision I had set out for myself.

And I needed to get out of there.

There eventually became a time, where it started to affect my health.

My mental health. My relationships. And my inner peace.

I could no longer ‘pretend,’ to myself or my mates that ‘everything was rainbows and smiles.’

Day by day, I was left thinking: ‘is this how I leave my mark on the world?’

What’s was wrong with me?

I felt guilty.

I should’ve felt grateful that I had a secure job, I had a wage. I genuinely loved teaching people about health and fitness. I adored my colleagues and my clients.

It brought me food on the table, a roof over my head.

I should be counting my lucky stars I had such a job to go to...

But for whatever reason, the sad truth I didn’t want to admit to myself was:

it just doesn’t serve me anymore.

I didn’t want to ‘offend’ anyone or lose these beautiful relationships I'd developed over the years calling the gym 'my second home' (*insert people-pleasing tendencies).

So, with my partner’s push.

My friend’s honesty.

And my parent’s persistent prayers.

I took the plunge...

I quit!

With nothing to go to.

With no job prospects.

I prepared my ‘Lani essay’ length email, to my adored manager.

And I handed in my resignation the next day.

And I can tell you. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

With eyes full of tears, explaining this all to my manager and colleagues in person the next day.

I was feeling sad. Of course!

But sad for them. Sad to not see them everyday, anymore.

Although I did have many wonderful memories I will always cherish from that job. It was time for me. Time to say goodbye.

I can honestly say, throughout the uncertainty, through the sadness, throughout the massive risk: nothing I’ve done has felt more empowering, has ever given me a greater sense of peace, reassurance and weight-off-my-shoulders, as that moment.

I was finally free!

And I can tell you friends, please please please.

Don’t ever let something or someone drive you to that place of self-limiting space, angst, self doubt as that job became for me. Not because of anyone's actions, an event or an encounter.

But because it simply no longer served me.

It took three months.

Twelve weeks of searching.

Of (not all bad) filling my days, with sunny seaside walks with my puppy.

And lengthy gym sessions.

But also those weeks tested my resilience. My self-belief as to: ‘why won’t someone hire me?’

Contemplation of working for my local supermarket (or briefly, taking up an exotic dancing career) Soon passed. And I couldn’t be more thankful, that I had the strength to persevere. To not give up on all my years of hard work and study.

This was one hell of a life lesson, and true to form: God had a greater plan for me I couldn’t yet see.

That I had to be patient. And to trust.

I Believe in the power of attraction. And if you open yourself, up to opportunity: opportunity will seek you.

But you have to be in a head space to allow full Acceptance of that.

It was scary. And iffy and sometimes felt plain silly. To trust in something that you cannot see...

To trust that it would all work out, if I just keep trying. If I keep sending that resume.

If I keep opening that ‘job search page,’ That Job - will come along.

I also had to truly change my thought

Pattern from being negative. To being empowered and optimistic; that I WAS good enough, that I HAVE worked for a qualification.

I had to be ready to walk into an interview room, illuminating confidence (or the confidence to fake it ‘til we made it, anyways).

It took 78 job applications.

A handful of interviews. None successful.

Until I got a phone call one day, inviting me to apply for a new position.

Inviting me? I didn’t think that was even a thing.

My details were on file from a past (unsuccessful) application and I was first in line for a fully-fledged journalism gig, at the prestigious: Sydney Cricket Ground.

Along with this application came the self-doubt.

‘I know nothing about cricket?’ I don’t have enough experience!I bet I won’t even get an interview!

But the persisting didn’t stop there.

It took 5 interviews, due to the prestige of the role.

And quite a number of weeks of uncertainty and nothing.

But one fine day, we got THE Call.

From HR, offering me a Media and Member Communications role.

And I have been on one crazy roller coaster ride ever since. Phew!

It’s funny how worlds come to be aligned. I’m no cricket super-fan, (I Adore and appreciate all sports, stadiums, athletes) all but on the second day of employment.

Walking onto that hallowed turf, that ground which so many Greats have fought for their team.

The atmosphere. The stories told.

The memories made.

It truly gave me goosebumps.

And I was left thinking ‘is this even real?’

In my first month of employment,

I got to watch The Australian Cricket team walk into the pitch, and sing the national Anthem.. from inside the fence line.

I got to interview Athletes, coaches, fans for social media channels, attend press conferences.

I got to see the Prime Minister of the country speak, up close.

I got to write for websites, newsletters, media releases and magazines.

And, I most excitedly got to see my Grandfather’s great Australian invention, The Super Sopper, in action. The machine my father built with his own two hands.

I was, (am) just filled with gratitude.

To be a ‘Withnall.’

To God, for this crazy opportunity.

And to my friends, family & myself, for not giving up on me.

From the girl who was unsure of her purpose anymore.

Fast forward, to now have daily access, to one of the most prestigious sporting venues in the world, that I get to call ‘the office.’

Life’s funny.

So my friends, I encourage you.

No matter how pointless, hopeless or frustrating things may seem.

Make sure you persevere.

Work hard to turn those dreams into plans.

Even when you don’t think you can.

You will make those damn Lemons, into Lemonade.

And never settle for anything less than the vision you set out for yourself.

Elana interviewing NSW Waratahs rugby star, Bernard Foley

Until next time’s thoughts...

Keep Dreaming and Believing,

Xx Lani

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