Season 1 Episode 2
I’ve always wanted to tell stories. Wanted to hold court and speak to the world.
I used to imagine myself talking to large crowds, the audience hanging onto my every breath. My words carrying great meaning and significance. Speaking the truth and having something to say. Maybe something defiant, bold and brave.
As I’ve grown up, the crowds haven’t materialised and more importantly, I could never find much to say. Then I found podcasting. A platform literally built for people for people who have nothing to say! And a door appeared. A door into a world where people armed merely with a microphone and a wifi connection can actually speak to the world – propelling their voice across the seas with the help of the internet and the share button.
As someone who is keen on opening doors, at least just a crack, to see what’s inside, I’ve decided to step boldly into this unknown world. And it couldn’t have come at a better time as now, perhaps, I might actually have something interesting to say…
The internet is currently flooded, filled to the brim, with an inescapable tirade of inspirational quoting, virtual signalling, entrepreneurial, self-improving, self-promoting, best-life-living, $1-a-click gurus. Who espouse their enviable lifestyles and suck us in with an endless slew of content that makes us feel as though we are on the journey with them. Even though we remain glued to the drudgery of our everyday lives.
So what do I have to say? Hopefully something different to these gurus…
2 months ago, I decided to stop watching their videos and reading their motivational quotes, and do it for myself. To venture bravely and foolishly into the void. I decided to quit my job.
Why the hell did I do this? What on earth am I gonna do now? What are my plans, my fears my future possibilities? Why am I making the whole thing harder by starting a podcast at seemingly the worst, most stressful time?
Keep listening, and you’ll find out.
On this podcast, I will be telling my story, real time, as it unfolds, of my adventures into the world of, self-fulfilment, self-discovery and self-employment. Join me as I document, with brutal, unflinching honesty, the ups and downs of my experience, the wins and the woes, the failures and the funny side, the lessons and the learning curves.
For this venture, I’m teaming up with one of my best mates and music producer exrraodinarie, Henri Victorious Lanson, who will help me record and produce these episodes, as well writing new instrumentals and pie
Have you ever had the dawning realisation that you feel a bit… stuck? As though the world is moving around you, at a different rhythm, at a different pace than you? As though you thought, expected, that you’d be further along the path by now. Perhaps growing up, your teachers, parents and friends had filled your head with big dreams, promises and ambitions. If you’re a millennial, like me, you were probably told that you were special too many times, until you eventually started to actually believe it. You believed that you were destined for great things, so you let destiny take the wheel, and you suddenly wake up one morning, the real world hits you, and you realise that the ambitions and dreams of younger days haven’t materialised – maybe you’re not so special. You’ve start to think that you’re not the protagonist, not the main character in your own life, you’re just the extra in someone else’s. You wonder how you got here, how you arrived at a point where you feel like you aren’t really moving in the direction you think you should be. Maybe you’re not moving at all?
Perhaps the job that you once enjoyed no longer satisfies your thirst for new knowledge and new experience. You find waking up to go to work harder. You’re more tired in the morning, more exhausted after the day’s over. You find life becoming little more than the repetitive to and thro between your house and your work. to the shop and the gym on your way home, from the night out at the weekend to the following day in front of the tele – to then getting ready to do the whole thing again next week. You now spend too much time scrolling through social media, and you see people your own age, people who are just like you, even people you grew up with, reaching heights that you once dreamed of. Seeing the highlight reel of other people’s lives makes you feel worse about the unfiltered, unedited reality of your own.
Then you realise that over the last 10 years, whilst you were on autopilot merely going through the motions, others were working tirelessly towards their goals – and now they’re reaping the rewards. It could be you start to look back and wonder, was I wasting my time? And then you look towards the future, your future, and amidst endless comparisons with the lives of others, you wonder, is this it? I am alone in feeling this? is it too late for me to take control of my life? No, you’re certainly not alone, and I don’t think it’s too late…
you’ve hit what I’ll call ‘the wall’ and this is the story of how I hit my wall, and how I got over it…
Beat drops or picks up as I start the next bit
This is Episode 2 of ‘Tim Quit His Job’, the show that follows me on my journey as I quit my job and head off into the unknown. Ultimately, it’s a show for people who like to do things differently, and break away from the norm. It’s written by me, Tim Spinks, and produced by Henri Victorious. and the cool music you hear every episode? Yeah, that’s him too.
Enjoy the beat for a few my seconds, then fade out as I start the next bit
I had a tough time of it in my late teens, the transition from adolescence to adulthood was not at all pretty, and certainly not easy. It was more like a collision of the two eras, as the wide-eyed optimism of youth met with the creeping uncertainty of adulthood. I was a nightmare back then, and I made life way harder than it needed to be for myself and those around me. Luckily, from the ages of 19-21, I went on a crazy two-year redemption arc, across three different continents, on my gap years between college and university. It really turned the tables, but it’s a story I’ll tell at a later date. This journey ended up with me going to university with an almost impossible amount of confidence, determination and self-belief. Needless to say, this mix served me well, and I did better at university than anything else id ever done before in life, graduating top of my class after failing most of my A levels a few years earlier.
Whilst I was at university, I got heavily involved in charity projects, events and volunteering. I’m not really sure why, I think it was because of all the free food, basically the only thing I cared about back then. This led to me and my coursemate, Aden, setting up our own charity during our second year, and throughout the rest of our time at uni we ran projects and events designed to help refugees and asylum seekers arriving to Leeds. Because of the experience and network I gained as a result of this, I was given an amazing opportunity to get a good job at a local charity straight out of university – I was spared from the terrifying post-uni job search.
After being thrown in at the deep end at my new job, and given lots of responsibility and freedom, I thrived. Learning and experiencing more than I could have imagined, it was a lot of pressure, and a lot of fun. I had great colleagues and great bosses. As the dust settled though, I began to realise that whilst I had been handed an amazing start, straight out of uni, it ultimately wasn’t the path that I wanted to go down myself. Was this really what I wanted to do with the small amount of time I have in this life? I’m not getting any younger…
I had realised that in my rush to figure out life in the adult world, I had already begun surrendering some of the dreams I had internalised from a young age. I had dreamed about travelling the world, shaking hands, crackin’ jokes and making a difference – and I was no longer moving towards that dream. I had become too… comfortable. I started sliding down the slippery slope of comparing myself to others. I no longer felt pride in telling people what I did, nor could I still explain, to myself and others, why I no longer seemed to be on the path to becoming the self-starting adventurer that I had dreamed of becoming. The days, weeks and moths became shorter and shorter. I started to drift through life on autopilot. I became less and less motivated, less disciplined, less optimistic, less enthusiastic – less everything. I needed a change.
The wall was looming.
Despite the negativity of finding myself in a situation where I felt trapped and stuck. Something that I know many people relate to. I found that things started to change, when I was able to swap my pessimism, for gratitude. At a time when I was harbouring so much negativity towards where I was at, and what I was doing, the thing that really helped me, that led to me summoning the courage to climb over the wall, was not allowing myself to become more bitter, but learning to have more gratitude. To appreciate the things I actually had. Appreciate where I was, the things I’d already done, the good turns of luck, the achievements along the way. The pivotal change in confidence and optimism that led to me being able to take the risks I knew needed to be taken, came when I was finally able to remove the overbearing negative thoughts I had, and instead use a healthy outlook to make a risky but level-headed decision.
A key change in my thinking on this came from my friend Aden, my coursemate who I mentioned I started a charity with. Aden’s from Somalia and is an esteemed member of the Ogadeni clan, a traditionally nomadic people who for centuries have herded camels and goats across large swathes of desert in the Horn of Africa. The Ogadeni have a rich oral history, passed down through countless generations, their history codified in memory. As a result, they are great storytellers, and the ability to tell a good story is highly regarded. Aden epitomises this classic Ogadeni trait, speaking as though he is reciting poetry to a large paying audience. Dramatic pauses, eccentric metaphors, musical rhythm, even when talking about everyday mundane things. Anyone who knows him will know, that once he starts talking, it’s difficult to get him to stop. And yet, it was his shortest answer that had the biggest impact. We met up one day when I was feeling particularly disgruntled about things, and I sounded off a list of complaints longer than my arm about work, life, achievement, fulfilment, money… He sat quietly and patiently, just listening, pondering, analysing. When I had finished, he simply said.
“Tim, in the Koran it says, if you were to count the number of gifts god has given you, you would never even be able to number them”
He pauses. Despite listening to my tirade of negativity, his response was that I should have more appreciation for my lot in life, and not dwell on the things that im lacking
He continued: “In order to get more in life, you must first be thankful of what you already have”
I had spent so long lamenting the circumstances in which I had found myself, that I had become blinded to the overwhelming amounts of positives I was lucky enough to have in my life. I was so unable to count my blessings that Aden, usually a man of a thousand words, was reduced to one simple, yet poetic statement that so accurately summed up the fundamental thing that I was currently lacking, gratitude, and how obtaining it could help me move forward.
It helped me realise that feeling stuck wasn’t a symptom of a negative mindset, but instead an expression of a desire to forge for myself a positive future. To write my own story in the way that I wanted it to be written. Hitting the wall was not a realisation of how bad things were, but instead a realisation of how good things could be. I drew a line in the sand, and stepped over it, determined to once again be the star character in my own life story, not just the extra in someone elses.
I quit my job, and made a change.
I didn’t quit my job out of anger or bitterness, I did so with a smile on my face, with good grace, bridges unburned, and an optimism about the future.
Slowly fade in music
I would like to say that the rest is history… But it isn’t, the rest is today, and tomorrow, as I try and forge a life for myself in the crazy unpredictable world outside of the 9-5.
And how’s it going so far?
Find out, in two weeks time, on the next episode.
Thanks for listening.