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quit my london corporate job to travel


4 min read

Apr 19



In July 2022, I resigned from my corporate job in London, England. I was in very a well paid job; Head of 3 teams for a well established Trading company of just shy of 2,000 people globally. So why did I quit?

Dreams change.

And probably not in the way you’re thinking.

Let me introduce myself. My name’s Kayleigh, I’m 31 (yiks!) years old, my husband and I have been together for just over 10 years and we have a fur baby, Oscar. We live in a lovely detached, two bedroom house in a small hamlet just outside of Chelmsford, Essex. We are perfectly surrounded by fields, pitch black skies at night with no more than a 20min drive to any of our close family members. Perfect.

I’ve always been fairly academic, I believe that’s how my family would describe me if I were to ever ask. I first went to the University of Bedfordshire in 2011 to study Primary Education (for those outside the UK, this is between 4 and 11 years old). It was always my dream to be a teacher, but dreams change (part 1). After around 9 months of doing this course, I couldn’t take it any longer. Primary Education…. NOT for me. I seriously take my hat off to all those heros who can teach primary age.

Side story - the day I realised I couldn’t teach Primary Ed anymore…... I was a teaching assistant in a Year 1 class (5-6 year olds). It was independent reading time where we take children 1-by-1 off by themselves to hear and help them read. Now, Bedfordshire is ~50miles north of London, so you get a mixture of accents. For those who aren’t familiar with the UK accent, I believe (for the land mass) it’s one of the most diverse accent ranges in the world. And if it’s not, it’s nice to be dramatic to emphasis a point! I have a southern accent, I say B-AR-TH (haha, good lord!) but when you’re teaching phonics, children easily mispronounce bath as B-A-TH…. But is it misprouncing if their parents are northern? Am I teaching accents now? Will their parents be mad if I correct them? How can I logically explain to a 5 year old that I know it says “B-A-TH” but I say “B-AR-TH”?!

That was it - I was done.

I did not feel that I would ever be qualified enough to have that conversation and I fully believe we should teach children correctly every time. So I quit.

I quit with a new(ish) realisation about myself. I like logic too much. I explain things logically, anything not logical I would simply never be able to teach. I say “new-ish” because my favourite subject at school (aside from music) was Maths, and they’re both very logical.

I started Brighton University the next year, studying Mathematics. My intention was, after completing my degree, convert to a Post Graduate for Higher Education. Teaching 11-18 year olds the subject which felt actually teachable made so much sense.

During my 3 years at Brighton University, I always taught. Whether that was holding a study group for 1st years to help them adjust into uni life or spending one day a week volunteering my time in a local school maths classes. I just loved explaining stuff. And I’m pretty sure that comes from my love of learning.

Then something happened which changed the course of the next decade of my life.

I started my first job at the age of 14 working at a rugby club, serving sweets and soft drinks. I worked there every weekend and even when I came back from uni for the weekend, I grabbed a few shifts. I met a lot of people there, a lot of them had big fancy high up jobs in the city. One day, my mum texts me saying that one of the guys from the rugby club has said I can apply for a summer internship at his firm. Perfect! A 9-5 job would be much better than working 3 part-time jobs, working unsocial hours getting in the way of parting at the weekends with my rugby friends.

I went up to London for my interview, it was a group interview with about 10 nervous applicants in the room. We were there for the best part of the day, spliting into various activities and interviews with numerous Heads of Departments and Executive Directors.

There were 3 positions, and I got one.

After spending 3 months working for this Trading company, I realise I could earn wayyyy more than I’d ever earn being a teacher. So by the end of my internship, when I was offered a permanent position once I finished my degree, it was a no brainer.

I had been working for the Trading company for 8 years permanently, and I’m always someone that has to strive for more. After 18months in the operations department, I became a Trader. After 2.5 years of Trading, I wanted to learn to code so I became a Quant. After 2 years of being a Quant, I wanted to be a manager so I moved back to Operations heading up my old team. My final role at the Trading company grew bigger. I knew one day I wanted to be C-suite and all my energy went into what I needed to learn in order to one day get there.

The years went on and being a female senior manager has it’s challenges anyways, but the opportunities narrowed. The Deputy CEO was my mentor, I gained an insanely incredible female network. I had the opportunity visit our offices globally for 3months. Canada, Singapore, Australia..

I think that big trip and in a combination with the Covid pandemic made my realise that my dreams changed.

Of course I still want to be C-suite. And I will one day.

But it cannot be in the UK.

So, where’s my home?


4 min read

Apr 19



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