Where to start? Well, I suppose an introduction is in order.
My name is Annabel, and I’m a recovering a… I’m a recovering a… auditor. Yes, it’s hard to admit it, but there it is. I’ve been like this for two and a half years. Every so often I try quitting, but it’s hard.
You want to know how I fell into this mess? Like a drug addict or alcoholic, my circumstances were partly to blame. Graduating in 2010, the world’s economic recession was in full flow, and job opportunities were looking scarce. It was no time to be entering into the world sans emploi. Nor was it the time to be thinking about a job with a speck of creativity or in any industry that could be felled by the recessionary axe.
No, late 2010 was the moment to join a profession, to get a job that would pay a respectable, reliable, regular salary. The time to enter a (relatively) recession-proof world.
It wasn’t just the economy, stupid. Spoken or unspoken, I felt the pressure, from family, friends, society, to get a “good” job. That meant getting a place on a corporate graduate scheme on leaving university. Getting paid well, and working my way up the greasy commercial pole, higher and higher and higher.
While we’re here, in confessional mode, I should accept my own share of responsibility. Just a tiny bit, mind you. To be frank, I was scared. It wasn’t just my parents and grandparents who thought I should get a steady, well-paid career.
As a child, I lived in a mould-covered, icy-cold flat, above a Chinese restaurant. I’d worn second-hand clothes donated by family friends. Bills were paid on the final reminder notice, just before the bailiffs knocked. As an adult, I didn’t want to go back there.
To my mind, that meant taking a job, any job, that would provide a clean and warm home, the money to buy new clothes and the ability to pay my bills by direct debit. Doing something ‘creative’ or, God forbid, freelance, was anathema to me.
So that’s the story of how I ended up here. ‘Here’ being… in a bit of a pickle.
After two and a half years of hard work, embittered, growing more resentful day-by-day, I can tell you with no scrap of a shred of doubt that this is not for me. It’s not that I haven’t given it a shot. I’ve worked early mornings, through my lunch hour and late nights. I’ve spent five days a week hating my job, followed by two days of studying dull, difficult subject matter. Week after week, month after month, year after year.
If you try telling me I haven’t given it enough time, or effort, or anything else, you can prepare yourself for a slap. Because I have.
Maybe you’re reading this thinking: “Just quit”.
Maybe I would. But here’s the rub. To get out of my contract early, my employer demands £4,500. Dear reader, this is the story of what happens next. I hope you’ll join me for the ride.