How do you know it's time to end a relationship?
If you're not being treated with respect then it's probably time to call time
As Matt Hancock and Gina Coladangelo have some difficult conversations with their respective spouses, I too have been having some tough conversations this week. While my love life is absolutely faultless, my professional life has been plagued with difficult decision-making over the last fortnight.
For the last seven months, I’ve been working my marketing and communications job from my parents’ house here in Sheffield. I moved up to Sheffield last November after breaking up with my partner, with whom I rented a one-bed flat in Oxford. This relocation happened with the full support of my boss — who has repeatedly told me that she sees no reason for me to need to come into the office to do my job and is very happy with my output.
I’ve definitely reaped the benefits of remote work: I have enjoyed living at home with family, eating home-cooked food, saving money for a deposit so that I can buy my own house. I’ve liked having more free time to focus on my freelance writing career because I don’t have to spend two hours a day travelling (I don’t drive so I relied on public transport to get to work before). My quality of life has drastically improved: I get more sleep, I spend more time with my brother and parents, I have more disposable income to do nice things.
But, I was conscious that remote work might not be a permanent arrangement, and so I pressed my boss and the director of marketing for an agreement that when life goes back to normal I can continue working from Sheffield most of the time, with occasional travel to our Liverpool campus. I had a verbal agreement from them on a Zoom call that this would be fine and so I thought I was in the clear.
But then the rug was pulled out from under my feet in a separate Zoom call two weeks ago. I was told that I needed to return to Oxford — where I was originally employed — immediately. The general manager wants everyone to be based in the office four days a week.
I calmly explained why that wasn’t financially viable for me — a quick look on Rightmove shows that one-bed flats in Oxford cost £900+ PCM, without bills or council tax factored in. I can’t afford that on my salary — case in point: I was splitting the cost of a one-bed with my ex and even that was eating up the majority of my paycheck. The director of marketing (who is earning somewhere around the £70,000 mark) joked that he wouldn’t be able to afford to live in Oxford by himself either.
I said I would be happy to spend 1-2 days a week in Liverpool, an increase from our original agreement where my boss had suggested going to Liverpool a couple of times a month. But no, the message was clear. I needed to uproot my life — again — and drastically decrease my quality of living by moving into a houseshare with strangers in Oxford, in order to continue to do my job. A job that I’ve done perfectly well from home in Sheffield over the last seven months.
So, after sleeping on things over the weekend, I handed in my resignation letter last week. HR asked me to return to Oxford to work my notice, but as I can’t afford to do this, they agreed to waive my three-month notice period. So, as of this coming Wednesday, I’ll be unemployed. Gulp.
I’ve gone through the whole spectrum of emotions over the last fortnight: I’ve been angry (it seems like such a U-turn for the business), frustrated (because the agreement was verbal I have no evidence that my boss said I could work from Sheffield indefinitely), sad (because I genuinely did love my job and the people I work with), worried (who wants to be job hunting in the middle of a pandemic?), and finally, optimistic (because I know that I’m great at my job and that I’ll find something else eventually).
So why am I telling you all this? Well, because whether you’re employed as staff or a freelancer, it’s really important that the professional relationships you have are mutually fulfilling — in the same way that a romantic relationship should be. If you find yourself at a point where you feel like your work is not appreciated, or where your client or employer is being too demanding or inflexible, then it’s alright to start looking elsewhere for new business or a new opportunity. Life is far too short to let work — something you dedicate the majority of each week to — stress you out.
Choose clients and employers who recognise the value add you bring, and reward you for that — whether that’s with financial compensation or the flexibility to do your role on terms that work for you.
… in editing
I’ve taken a step back from The Indiependent while I figure out my day job situation, so I’ve not done a lot of editing this week. However, I thought this piece by Matt Taylor on ‘How ‘The Father’ helped my grieving process’ was great.
… in writing
Pitches: 3 (3 follow-ups)
I got one ‘no’, and one ‘maybe’ that I need to follow up on next week.
Articles written: 0
Articles published: 0
… in listening/watching
My parents are on holiday so my boyfriend has basically moved in for the week, which has been really lovely given the aforementioned shitshow with work. I made him watch Scott Pilgrim as he’d never seen it — a truly incredible film. We’ve also been working our way through Season 1 of The Sopranos, and the rest of Inside No. 9.
… in reading
Anna Codrea-Rado’s You’re The Business: How To Build A Successful Career When You Strike Out Alone is still on my bedside table
Ellen Scott asking the important questions here with this Metro piece: ‘Why won’t Domino’s let you order a Half and Half pizza over a year into the Covid-19 pandemic?’
Another big question — ‘Why is central London suddenly full of American sweetshops?’ — brilliantly unpicked in TimeOut by Amelia Tait
Also by Amelia Tait, I loved this Refinery29 piece on ‘TikTok’s ‘What I eat in a day’ & our obsession with what other people eat’
This New Statesman feature by Sarah Manavis is very thought-provoking: ‘How “millenial money management” sells young people the illusion of financial control’
Mollie Quirk’s Cosmopolitan piece was really brave: ‘“I’ve tried to come off Sertraline three times, but I’m stronger on medication and that’s okay”’
This New York Times piece on ‘50 Reasons to love Joni Mitchell’s ‘Blue’’ says it all
Annie Lord’s Vogue piece ‘Sometimes a terrible date is actually a real blessing’ made me chuckle with how on-the-nose it was
On 12 July at 8.00pm, former The Guardian foreign correspondent Hella Pick will be talking to Emma Graham-Harrison about her extraordinary life and career — get tickets here.
Anywhere (remote): Reach PLC is hiring a sports content editor to work on the nationals
Edinburgh: PA Media is hiring a multimedia journalist
Harrogate: Techbuyer is looking for a content writer
Manchester: There’s a social editor role with UNILAD here