I tried a full-time job, retired. Never again why?

In the summer of 2019, I finished my sports coaching degree on a Friday afternoon and started full-time work on a Monday morning. It was one of the worst decisions of my life. I jest, it wasn’t that bad, but it definitely wasn’t a good one.

What was the job, and why did I take it?
The job was a full time climbing centre instructor, which developed into a duty manager role. Throughout my university career, I had worked as a freelance climbing instructor at climbing centres under my personal brand LKS and loved it. I was coming to the end of my final year of university, and with everyone else, I was looking at ‘careers’ (I have much hatred for this word). The climbing industry looked like a great way to find a starting block into some career. I just wasn’t sure what that career should be. So I used my contacts and personal network and asked for a job at one of the best climbing centres I know, and with that, I woke up on Monday morning and went to work.

It wasn’t all downhill.
In the first few weeks of work, I was turning up early, doing all the extra little things, and loving working there. I was left to my own devices, and I thought I was settling in well. They left me to learn the ropes and see where I landed. I did not land on my feet. The day to day work of being a climbing instructor was not quite what I had expected it to be. It was less play and more like boredom. The prospect of doing this 9–5 all year round soon got me down.

At this stage, I started to not turn up early, I had less motivation to work and stopped doing the extra little things. The management noticed this and started to intervene, which unfortunately really didn’t help.

The problem was that I walked into the job because I felt like it was expected, yet this really wasn’t the case. I went for a job which I thought I would like, which I thought would provide me with a career. How wrong I was. The job was not what I expected. Hey, I made some cash, but that really didn’t help. I did not like working for someone else, being micromanaged, and worst of all, I felt no purpose in the work I was doing.

At this point, I snapped my ACL (which is a crucial ligament in your knee). I was climbing after a long workday. I was pushing myself beyond my ability, looking for purpose and reward from my climbing, due to lacking it in my work life. You would have expected that I would be resting my knee and not be back at work anytime soon. Oh, how it was very different from that.

I took the day after off and then was expected back at work. It is worth noting that we did not know that it was a snapped ACL at the time. Never the less I was on crutches; the last thing you would expect a duty manager, first aider and outdoor instructor to be. I did not get an off work ticket from A&E because I thought, ‘these are friendly people they will understand that I can’t work and give me time off’. Again I was wrong. I was very naive.

I was messaged and asked to back at work the next day and was given desk-based tasks for about a week after my accident. After a week, I was expected to run sessions such as archery. Shortly after, I became a duty manager (managing aspects such as first aid and centre safety in the evening). All the time being on crutches. I personally did not feel that a first aider could be on crutches. Over time the tasks I was asked to do were becoming more and more physically intensive. It got to the point where, whilst still on crutches, I was asked to help put up a massive circus-style tent. At this point, I came in the next day and said NO, I am done.

But why did it take me so long?
By the time I said no, I had been injured and on crutches, unable to work for over a month. Yet I had done nothing about it. I had not complained once and just kept going. I was asked at times to ‘lose the crutches’ as they looked ‘unprofessional’. My mental health hit rock bottom, and I knew it. I was losing weight and really had no energy or want to do anything. But yet I pushed through the mental and physical pain. For what, to keep the job, to keep people happy, to do what society expects…?

To this day, I am not sure why I pushed through the pain and accepted it, but it is safe to say I am now retired from that full-time work and love my current lifestyle. I intend to write more about how you can get to that stage of loving your lifestyle. If you want to see more of my lifestyle, check out my daily vlog here:

The question is does my experience from one job really mean I am going to hate every other single one?

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Product Photographer + Videographer + ADHD lover

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Liam Kilsby-Steele

Liam Kilsby-Steele

Product Photographer + Videographer + ADHD lover

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