Selling Out

In the past here on Florence Finds I’ve talked about doing what makes you happy, my career, finding balance between working and blogging, having a life plan, growing up and wanting different things.

Recently, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the future, work, money, babies… and my job has been playing a starring role in those thoughts. 12 months ago, I had just completed my final years training, become a fully fledged GP. I wasn’t ready to plan for a move into a long term job and happily that coincided with me starting Florence Finds. I worked part time locuming here and there, and filled my time creatively. Looking back it was the best thing I could have done. It gave me a much needed break. Time to look back at where I’d come from and how I got here. Sometimes we get so busy on a path working towards a goal that we don’t ever stop to think about whether it’s still the same thing we wanted when we started. Life changes, what we want and need now is often different to how we felt 5 and 10 years ago.

It has been a useful 12 months. At times I felt like I was stuck in a rut, treading water, watching my career stall and failing to progress Florence Finds. What I have come to realise is that Florence Finds is essential to my enjoyment. It represents every aspect of my life outside of work and I cherish that balance. But how do I put myself in the position to enjoy life out of work? I go out and earn money, just like the rest of you.

Image Credit: Script Gods must Die

A lot of my focus recently has been the immediate future. It’s amazing how the thought of planning a family changes your outlook on what you need. For years Pete and I have talked about moving and six and a half years later we’re still where we started. We’ve talked about saving and shamefully haven’t made much of an impact on building a positive bank balance. We’ve had a brilliant time on holidays, spent money decorating the house and lived it up while we could. It has allowed me the luxury of time to spend on Florence Finds – although it turned out to be the minority rather than the planned majority of the year, I’ve been able to work part time and concentrate on other projects.

Just recently I was offered a short term job in a place that I love and the opportunity to earn more money. The big niggle, it is more hours than I like to work and is going to throw one more ball into the mix of roles that I’m juggling. 12 months ago I might have said no to this great opportunity, but my priorities have changed and so have I. Of course I’d love to work part time on Florence Finds, but that new house isn’t going to buy itself, that potential mortgage won’t be covered if I take maternity leave without me setting aside time and financial security in the meantime.

Despite knowing all that, it feels like selling out. It feels like it’s not what I planned for, which is odd because Florence Finds was never meant to be a new job or career. I guess it relates back to my post about ambition, and how it’s not acceptable to say, I want more money, bigger things. Don’t get me wrong, day to day, that’s not a mantra – there are more important things in life. But you can’t deny that life costs money and my new dream, moving house, requires it. And if I sit here saying ‘there are more important things in life‘ for the next 5 years, I’m still going to be no better off and no closer to building a better home for my future family. It’s romantic and a great story to talk about pursuing dreams.

I wondered, have any of you realised your goals have changed recently – has it lead you to make decisions that you might not have expected your future self to make some time ago? You might be doing exactly the opposite of what I’m doing, making like I did 12 months ago and stepping back for a while. I’d love to hear your thoughts…


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19 thoughts on “Selling Out

  1. I think i’ve mentioned this before but, i joined the company I’m at now as an escape from Lehman Brothers and therefore in the middle of the financial crisis so for a year or so i was stuck here and so settled in and tucked my ambition up in bed and clung on to the stability that this role and this company provided.

    and then i planned our wedding…

    and i lost all interest in my career – it was WAY more fun to look for floral arrangements and charger plates than it was to go the extra 5 miles (it’s not just the extra mile they want out of you here!)

    and then i came home from my honeymoon, changed my pill and literally went insane for three months and planned to jack it all in and go travelling with two of my besties.

    and then i was planning on moving house… and then there are the ever changing baby plans… and then… and then…. and then….

    So all of a sudden what i thought was a blip in my ambition, I think has turned out to actually be just a complete change in mindset. I come here every day to earn a good salary in a good company that looks after me (and has a bl**dy good maternity leave policy) and in return I get to work hard focus on other things that make me happy, like travelling, and parties and seeing friends and family…

    I think about 12 months ago i realised that my goal isn’t what it was 15 years ago (to basically be Nicola Horlick) but to just be happy at work and have a job tha means i can afford to do all the things that make me happy at home, and if that means I gave up on some high flying career goals and I focussed on just being really damn good at what i do now, then that’s my goal acheived, right?

    I had to have a few chats with myself over the past three years as i felt like i was letting someone somewhere down (my parents, my director, my tutors at uni) by not being more fiercely ambitious, nor true my the personal statement I wrote on my UCAS form and subsequently every job application, but i think I’m now genuinely happy about the choices i’ve made.

  2. Wise words and it’s certainly not selling out.

    It’s what you’ve always wanted to do (if you’re anything like me – although for your sake perhaps it’s better if you’re not). You have worked so hard to get where you are and you deserve some recompense for that.

    Yes money isn’t everything but it is still very important.

  3. p.s. do you actually have mind reading powers?!?! Every day i log on and you’ve written something, like it’s an answer to a question i asked in my head only that morning…

    “What shall i do about my career goals” – FF knows!

    “Am I ready ot have a baby?” – FF has it covered!

    “Shall i buy that dress from Ted Baker/Warehouse/etc” – FF says yes!

    “Will grey look nice on my hallway walls?” – FF proves that it does!

    Rebecca – are you actually a Marvel character? Doctor by day, lifestyle issue solver by night. I can see the superhero uniform now…. 🙂

  4. I don’t think that you’re at all selling out – selling out would be giving up FF completely. Money IS important – and so is maternity leave – and Florence will continue to flourish. Things may change slightly in the future but I have no doubt the blog is going to grow with you x

  5. Hi Rebecca,

    I’m in a similar position to you, and have had a very similar past year out from hospital medicine in research, trying to figure out where I’m going next. I recognised last year that trying to climb the career ladder was overloading my life, and I needed some time out. Research has been probably as intense work wise, but much more flexible, and one year on I realise that, although I really am quite career oriented, I do need to focus on my out-of-work life a bit. Probably the opposite to you, but I don’t have a lovely husband to come home to!

    I think it’s hard to strike the right balance, but ultimately it sounds like you’re doing the right thing. It’s easy to live in the moment and enjoy what you’re doing, but sometimes you have to take a step back and look at what you’re going to want in the future. I don’t want to turn around at 40 and realise that, as much as I love my job, I’ve completely lost the chance to have a family and a work life balance. Living in the moment only gets you so far, and investing into something so you can have a better life in the future is so much better. I do think rewards are sweeter if you know you’ve really worked and waited for them.

    I’m sure you’ll find this job has real plus points, and maybe it’ll turn into something better than you expected. There’s no doubt that good colleagues make for a much nicer job. I don’t know where I’m going yet, but taking control of my life for the first time rather than just walking the treadmill feels fantastic. It’s slightly scary, but hopefully it will have big rewards, and with any luck I’ll meet someone nice along the way!

    Hope you can manage Florence finds alongside this! But best of luck!


  6. My husband has always dreamed of setting up his own business and finally he has done it. This means, pre revenue, I am the sole bread winner. Since I have known that I am going to be for quite a while, I have stayed with the same company for much longer than I would have if it were just me. The work is not exciting but the job is demanding and I have to force myself to do it properly, but the people are nice and it pays well. Most importantly, my husband’s dream is coming true and to see him happy and fulfilled is fantastic. (But you can be sure I will call on him to support me in the same way when he can!). So although for me this is not what I personally dreamed of, it’s great to work as a team towards something better. It’d be wonderful if what I did during the week was something I loved, but it does feel fun to work on the bigger picture.

  7. I’ve spent many hours pondering this as well. I’ve come to the conclusion that we have to do what is right for ourselves at that point in time. But – and this was the truth hard learned – you have to be brutally honest about what it is that you want.

    I spent years convinced that a PhD and academia was my true calling. I finally realised that whilst I loved my subject I just didn’t have the va-va-voom to make it work. We lived abroad for several years and other career tracks seemed the way to go. I obsessively researched and channeled my energies into these other avenues only to eventually come to the same realisation that I’d once again talked myself into doing something I didn’t 100% want to do.

    Now I find myself with ME and for the first time in my life have had to be brutally honest with myself both about what I’m physically capable of doing and also what I consider worth expending those valuable energies.

    We have this uncanny knack of convincing ourselves to follow through with ideas that we may have long outgrown, and I think it can be hard to let go of some of these ideas especially when so often so much blood, sweat, tears and hard cash have been invested.

    Sometimes though I think you just have to give yourself a quick slap in the face and be brutally, brutally honest.

    All this to say, Rebecca, don’t beat yourself up! If you’re basing decisions on what you thought you’d think you’ll only end up going round and round in circles!

  8. I don’t think you are selling out at all Rebecca! I think you are looking to the future and prepared to change what you thought you wanted to what actually works. A couple of years ago I got very ill. I have an inherited blood disorder which took a turn for the worse. At the time I was earning good money in a senior marketing position, but I was killing myself. I was zombie, heavily medicated just to do the simplest of tasks that most people take for granted. I was newly married but for those first six months I didn’t do anything remotely ‘newleywed’. I was just too ill and slowly losing the will to live.
    Then it happened…redundancies. And for some reason I went, voluntarily, for my health, my husband and my sanity. I had all these plans career wise but suddenly they seemed insignificant. I took year out, got better and focused on my marriage. 12 months on and I haven’t looked back! I got new job with part time hours so I can balance everything, and we are thinking about starting a family.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is goals and wishes and dreams are ever evolving, nothing stays the same forever and life sends you curve balls so you have to adapt just to survive and feel happy in that moment xx

  9. You have obviously struck a chord with lots of lovely ladies here! Myself included! It’s not selling out, it’s doing what is right for you – right now. And that is the biggest “what’s right – right now”. Things change, people change and priorities change.

    I’ve thought long and hard about my very crazy work life recently. I know I could get a job paying a lot more money for probably less stress (because I’ve interviewed for the job and turned it down)…but wanting to start a family is holding me back from moving on. What if I fall pregnant the day I start my new job? What if they don’t have a good maternity package? What if, what if and what if.

    The truth is, 3 years ago I would’ve jumped at a new role. But my priorities have changed and I have to do not only what is right for me but right for my family too.

    It’s all about the what feels right – right now for me, along with my slightly shifted goals!!! 🙂

  10. Doing what you can to secure yourself financially and planning ahead for the future to provide for your family is NEVER selling out! Goals, priorities and ambitions will always change and you should never feel guilty for wanting more/bigger/better.

    Two years ago I was living the young, free and (almost!) single life in London, working 60 hours a week in a law firm. Then I discovered I was pregnant and everything changed! I’m now back at the same law firm, but part time and from next week I will have quit completely as I just can’t keep doing that job and spend enough time with my little girl. To afford this we are packing up and moving to the country, a major change for us all but especially for my fiance as he has lived in London his entire life.

    I guess what I am trying to say is your priorities will always evolve and change, either at your own instigation or as a result of circumstance. Whatever the reason for the change is, just try our gut instinct and go for it. FF is fantastic and the community you have built up will stick by you no matter what your decision.


  11. I have been with the company I work for now for 9 years. I started as a temp for a 3 month vacancy and never left (but worked my way up a little during that time). I’ve never been hugely career focussed and part of me has never felt able to as my (now) husband is in the military – we’ve spent 10 years not knowing where his next posting would be etc so I’ve never wanted to get engrossed in a job I love only to have to leave it when a far off posting comes up. Seems a bit daft as in those 10 years I have stayed firmly put in the city I grew up in while he has lived on base and we have had a weekend releationship. But I love my job, I enjoy working and at home I’m close to family. All this is about to change though, big time! We’re moving to Germany for his work, we will be living together, and I won’t be working to start off with. Not sure what I’ll be like as a housewife but I’m willing to give it a go – adapting for our new life together. I think it’s important to be flexible. By all means plan what you want to do or be, set yourself goals, but be flexible enough for when life throws something at you out of the blue that changes your whole perception of life.

    And I don’t think you’re selling out, unless you win the lottery you still need money! 🙂


  12. Loved this post. Just before the wedding i had a choice of taking a promotion (more money, but long hours and alot more work) or staying in my current role (okay commute, nice team and long contract ) I chose my current role but slightly beating myself up about whether i will regret it long term even though i know in my heart that for now (and for where i am in my life) that is better… Also constantly feel the pressure to build up the blog into bigger and better things even though i struggle with juggling everything. Its a tough one and there is so much pressure (mostly from myself!) to have it all !

    Dont feel guilty – you have to do whats best for yourself and your family at in the end thats what is the most important xx

  13. It kills me that these decisions are so hard to make, and I find myself swinging wildly from one extreme to the other. 
    Since qualifying, I’ve been fiercely protective of my work-life balance, and compromised with less-than-perfect job satisfaction. Last week, I surprised myself by accepting a job that represents more work, but also more opportunity to have a significant impact. Maybe I have more ambition than I thought!
    I’m impressed you’ve made a decision- that’s the hardest part- and it sounds just right for you.  Meanwhile, I’m sure you’ll continue to tap into our psyches with these perfect posts!

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