Quitting the 9 to 5 in Pursuit of Happiness: Part One

by Alison Quine on January 3, 2011

For my first post I would like to share with you, the story of the last few years of my life and my reason for starting this blog.

Firstly let me introduce myself, My name is Alison Quine, I’m 37 years old and I live in Chania, a small town in Crete, which is the largest of the Greek islands.  I rent a lovely 2 bedroom apartment with views to the sea, with my boyfriend Theo and our cat, Smidge.

Now we need to step back in time a little to understand how I ended up in Crete.  I was born in a small village close to Manchester in the Uk and spent the first 29 years of my life there.

Shortly after my 29th birthday, I had an early mid-life crisis.  I had a good job, which paid well compared to most of my friends.  I had a brand new car (with monthly payments), gym membership, mobile phone contract, boyfriend who had a good job with a company car (BMW) blah, blah.  All the usual things that are meant to make you happy apparently.

One day, I was sitting in the office at work, listening to my colleagues complaining about the usual things. The daily grind, our miserable weather, which brand of anti depressants they were taking etc and I suddenly said out loud, “That’s it!  There is no way I’m spending my 30th Birthday in this country!”

They all turned to glare at me and said “yeah, right.”

The seed was already planted though and the next month I had a random meeting with Katie, a friend I used to work with.  She had spent the past two summer seasons working for a holiday company on the Greek Island of Kos.  In the winter she would come back to the Uk and occasionally we’d catch up for lunch.

One day we met at a local pub for lunch and although I’m generally a positive kind of person, I really was totally fed up with everything and told her so.  Little did I know that the next ten words to come out of her mouth were about to change my life in ways I could never have imagined.

“Why don’t you come to work with me in Greece?” She asked.

I thought about it for a few seconds before coming up with a list of reasons why this was not a good idea. For every single one of my negative responses, she simply provided the solution.  Our conversation went a little like this:

Me: “I have a good job that pays good money”

Katie: “And how do you spend that money?”

Me: “On my monthy car payments, insurance, tax, Gym membership, mobile phone contract, rent, eating out etc.”

Katie: “Mmm, So that probably takes up over half of your monthly wage then?”

Me: “Er, well yes I guess so.”

Katie: “So, why don’t you sell your car, quit your gym and buy a cheap pay as you go phone.”

Me: “I suppose I could do that.  But I don’t want to be a holiday rep, it’s my worst nightmare!”

Katie: “I know a company who needs an admin person. They will pay for a return flight, your accommodation and bills and pay you a monthly wage.”

Me: Slightly more intrigued now “Well, when would I need to leave?”

Katie: “The start of the tourist season, so around April.”

Me: “So that means I need to hand in my notice at work next month?”

Katie: “Yes but you’re going to love it. Trust me.”

And so I trusted her.  She arranged an interview.  They hired me. I handed in my notice the next month, much to the surprise of my manager.  He was secretly envious though and quietly said “Good on you!  Sounds excellent.”

I said goodbye to my family and friends and started my adventure into the unknown…..

Have you quit a 9 to 5 job in pursuit of happiness or would you like to?  Leave me a comment, I’d love to hear your story!

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

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