STYLE

Not Happy? Take A Year Out

14/08/2014 16:34 | Updated 22 May 2015

When I was 27 I quit my job, social life and trendy warehouse flat in London to live in Suffolk with my boyfriend of four months.

I'd moved to the capital from Scotland when I was 21 because I always thought this was the answer. The solution - the way to get places. Stuff happened in London. All the jobs were there. That Topshop on Oxford Street was supposed to be brilliant.

Not Happy? Take A Year Out

Here, I spent six years working nine jobs at once but getting nowhere and dating completely ridiculous men. And I don't mean in a fun way, either. One boyfriend wolf-whistled at another girl while holding my hand. Another insisted he could only really enjoy sex if he pretended I was a prostitute. I mean, Jesus Christ.

Yet within a year of moving to East Anglia, I got my dream job (first ever digital editor at Tatler - yep, back in London) and said boyfriend - lovely, no prostitute fetishes - put a ring on it.

Now, don't get me wrong, my year out wasn't all Eat, Pray, Love. I went from working at a nice fashion magazine to reporting for a regional newspaper where I covered court cases, primary school events and pensioners turning 100.

In chasing interviews, I got doors slammed in my face a lot and, on one occasion, I was kicked in the face by a baby goat.

And I missed going out every night. I'd traded parties and late nights for watching telly and getting eight hours kip.

But, for the first time since I was 18, I had a really clear head. I think it was all the fresh air and the absence of a permanent hangover.

I realised I'd been working every hour in London because I thought it would take me somewhere - anywhere - if I just kept trying. In truth, I didn't have any defined goals.

My career and love life had been static for years because my approach was so completely "head down and get on with it".

So here's what I'd say to anyone else in the same position...

1. If you want to leave London or whatever city you're in, do it. You can always come back. I hated living in London for a long time and considering it didn't have a hugely positive effect on my career or love life, I don't know why I did it.

2. If your job is making you miserable/unfulfilled/static don't just keep plugging away in the hope that someone will notice you or something will change. You've got to have strategy, a path and awareness of where your skills lie.

3. If you're dating a guy who's a total idiot, dump him. He's a waste of your time and no amount of optimism on your part will make him Prince Charming.

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