As I approach 30 I can safely say I have worked in many different businesses (which I'm sure anyone my age can admit). I have been told by some I am ‘flakey’ or ‘irresponsible’ with my career; however, despite whatever they think, every job had its purpose in guiding me to create Lost Sols.
When I reflect upon it, the day I quit my Product Developer job was satisfying for two reasons.
Firstly, I was miserable. My anxiety had overtaken my whole life and I felt like I couldn't share with the world how I was feeling. I would scream with relief as I jumped in my car every Friday afternoon, but I would also think to myself "I have two days to fix this mess". I would dread the weekends, as I would scroll through Seek, trying to find a way out of this conundrum I had created.
Secondly, I was surrounded by people who didn't share my sustainable values and even though they were talented at their jobs, I quickly became aware that surrounding myself with like-minded people was so important if I wanted to make any changes in this industry.
Fast fashion is one of the biggest contributors to pollution. Not to sound like a broken record, but globally we consume 80 million pieces of clothing every year and from this in-take, 935kg of clothing is dumped into landfill every minute.
So, that Monday I walked into the office with a resignation letter in my bag, I sat down and pretended it was a normal day. I gave myself a couple of hours to see if I was being rational about my decision (I definitely was). After sorting through yet another influx of confusing emails. I should note here, when you work in a fast fashion company you are working on four different collections at a time, it is a very fast paced industry, and a quick turn-around of samples was essential, as everything was "urgent".
I called my manager from across the room and asked to talk to her privately. We walked down stairs to the boardroom and as soon as the door shut, I burst into tears. At this point I had never expressed to any of my colleagues how I was feeling and in that moment I did feel like I blindsided her. I explained to her how I was worried about our impact on the world, how our concern for design is based on money rather than environment, and how disposable we are as a society. Simple put, our planet can't afford us to design clothes from new resources that add a strain to our ecosystems.
To be honest, I don't think my emotional breakdown triggered any change, and why would it? They had hundreds of jobs they needed to worry about. However, as I walked out of the office concerned about my finances and thinking I had hit rock bottom, I could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Now the light wasn't clear and I needed to take some time to manifest my big idea for change, but when I finally said those words aloud "I will change how we manufacture footwear in this country" I knew I needed to take the first steps to prove it.