Changing my life…

Resigning from my last job was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. Leaving a job is never fun or pleasant, and this was a decision that was made after weeks/months of worrying and feeling – probably – the lowest I have ever felt (not only due to work, but multiple personal factors too).

Eventually, I took the plunge and nervously handed in my notice, but the people closest to me had reassured me that I wasn’t making a ridiculous decision. You see, the first thing friends and family asked when I said I wanted to leave my job was, ‘Do you have another job secured?’, ‘Do you think you’ll find another job?’.

The truth is, I had nothing other than this blog and a few freelance leads waiting for me after I’d worked my notice period (fortunately). Not because I had a crazy quarter-life crisis and just made an irrational decision, but because that is all I wanted to do.

Follow your heart coaster Sass & Belle

A little bit of background

 After leaving the last company I worked for last year, I had intended to take some time out and just not focus on work for a little while (it hadn’t been the easiest job/working situation and had massively run me down). However, I had zero confidence in myself this time last year, to the point of me believing I’d never find another journalism job again (drama queen, or what?!).

The reality was extremely different! I’d been offered four jobs by the time my notice period had been completed. So, following a relaxing two-month trip to London, I knew I had something to come back to.

Due to my shock at being offered one job, let alone four, I thought it was vital that I got myself back in an office again. I gradually started realising that this was definitely not what I wanted. And after an extremely turbulent few months from November onwards, my happiness began deteriorating at a rapid pace. Now, everyone who knows me has told me that they were shocked when I announced that I would be the Deputy Editor of Hospitality Business Middle East (a promotion from my previous role as Assistant Editor of BBC Good Food Middle East). Everyone – though they didn’t tell me at the time! – thought a business/trade publication was the least likely job role for me, a girl who loved lifestyle publications (my experience has mostly been on fashion, beauty, food, travel and features writing). They were right and I knew this deep down, but at the time of moving to the magazine, I knew I’d have full support from my bosses on this confusing/exciting challenge.

I took on the role, knowing absolutely nothing about the region’s hospitality industry – other than the fact that the UAE has some of the most glam, fancy and fabulous hotels, obvs – or business writing.

St. Regis Dubai

The rather glam St. Regis Dubai!

It took some time, but I gradually began getting the hang of it and worked on the title for four issues. I encountered short deadlines, a few dramas (nothing unusual in journalism) and great support – plus a whole lot of learning. Also, when I work on something, I tend to put my all into it and I’m also extremely stubborn. This is a pretty lethal combination at times, so when I was working on the magazine I felt like I could never switch off. I wouldn’t let myself go out and socialise, because though I wasn’t working every single evening when I got home, my mind was constantly worrying about the magazine. I look back and I have to say I am proud of what I achieved, I proved to myself that I wasn’t the ‘airhead’ I thought I was (I’m so lovely to myself…not!).

 However, it was not what I enjoyed writing about at all and I realised that I didn’t have to do what I didn’t enjoy if it was making me miserable (I know life isn’t a bed of roses, and sometime you have to do things you don’t want to, but there’s a limit).

What’s next for my blog and I?

I love blogging and though my blog is nowhere near as good as I want it to be yet, I feel like it’s gradually getting there. I also love having the freedom to choose what I write about freelance-wise (to an extent), and I will also hopefully be trying a new venture that I’m quite excited about.

Though I haven’t saved loads of money, I have enough to get by as I’d started saving in the months before my resignation – and fortunately, I’m not the shopaholic I once was! I don’t plan on getting another job any time soon (if I can help it), and have already had a few offers (that weren’t exactly what I was looking for) that I now have the confidence to turn down (I’m not showing off, it’s just a shock for me to see how much my self-belief has improved and realising that I am capable of getting a job if I needed one). A strange turn of events occurred when I left my job recently that also proved I had made the right decision.

I’m not saying I don’t have mornings where I wake up and think ‘what on earth have you done, Surena?!’, but fortunately the lovely people close to me remind me why I’ve made the decisions I did and that far better things are ahead of me in the future (if I put the hard work and effort in!).


Life lessons…

This post had three points, and though I’ve rambled a lot (well done if you’ve got this far) I feel like it’s helped me to understand everything a lot better myself.

Firstly, I’ve learnt through everything that your happiness is one of the most important things in your life. Not to be morbid, but you have no idea what could happen to you tomorrow and we have no guarantee of how long we’ll be around for. I’m soon turning 25, so I don’t want to look back to my twenties when I’m 30+ and think, ‘Wow, I spent a lot of time being upset, anxious and miserable!’. I also don’t want to regret not putting my happiness first, when I had the chance to.


The second thing I’ve learnt and would recommend to everyone is (and this is disgustingly cliché): follow your heart, and take the plunge! Everything has a weird way of working out and you aren’t trapped doing anything you don’t want to do, there is almost always an alternative out there for you. If you love something, why not try to turn it into a job or at least an opportunity on the side?

Finally, believe in yourself! I haven’t ever really believed in myself and to be honest, I’m not exactly 100% there yet. However my confidence is gradually improving. I’ve realised I’m my own harshest critic (if I knew that someone I loved thought of themselves the way I think about myself, I’d be pretty disappointed in them and they’d definitely get a telling off!). I’m not very nice about myself, but through multiple people telling me otherwise, I’m slowly learning that I’m capable at far more than I give myself credit for and you probably are too!

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. I haven’t done a very personal blog post in a long time, because life’s been a little bit of a rollercoaster lately and to be honest, I’ve had no idea how to convey all of my thoughts and feelings – I don’t think I’ve done the best job, but at least it’s an attempt!

I’d love to hear about your experiences and whether you’ve made any life-changing decisions that you’re glad you did in hindsight, so feel free to share them below :). It’s been just over a month since I left my job and I still think that it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and though I have no idea if things will change within the next few months/years, I’m feeling positive!

Thanks for reading (if you’ve made it to the end)!

Surena x

P.s. Excuse the random pictures, there was a lot of writing so I thought I’d break the post up a bit with some snaps I’ve taken!



  1. 26th April 2016 / 4:19 PM

    Ahhhh how exciting for you!! I am literally in the SAME boat as I quit my job at the beginning of April to become a full time freelance personal trainer! It’s so exciting and scary and I haven’t got round to writing the blog post yet because I wasn’t quite sure how to put it but reading this has really helped :-)

    You’re going to do great and I’m looking forward to reading loads more on your blog! Xxx

    • surenasays
      26th April 2016 / 4:44 PM

      Oh wow what a brilliant move! I can tell you’re going to be amazing at it, your own transformation would massively convince me to train with you too :). Congratulations lovely, I can’t wait to read your blog post about it!
      That means a lot, because I feel like I’ve just rambled and made no sense in this blog post so if it’s helped you I can’t have done too badly haha.
      Thank you so much lovely, it means a lot and I really appreciate you reading my blog! Xxx

  2. 26th April 2016 / 7:00 PM

    As your last ‘boss’, I knew you could do it! Congratulations, well done and now shock the socks off us! We take ability for granted in this business so what makes the difference is passion… My number one piece of advice is to grab, read and analyse every magazine you can get hold of. Best case scenario is a magazine aimed at an audience you have nothing in common with… Look at it carefully. Does it work. Who is it aimed at? What would you do differently? Too many people in our profession only consider the titles relevant to them and forget that what we’re doing is creating a weekly or monthly package that works. Analyse that. What would you have done differently? What lessons can you draw? The turning point in my career was buying an issue of National Lampoon some xxxxx years ago. The cover image was a dog looking fearfully at a revolver pointed at its head. The cover line? “Buy this magazine or we shoot the dog…” Can you deliver a cover that someone will remember half a lifetime later…

    • surenasays
      27th April 2016 / 6:36 AM

      Thank you Dave, that’s very kind of you! I always appreciate and value your advice, which is spot on. It is very easy getting into a cycle of churning out content and a product that works in a template, but there is always room for improvement and the opportunity to change the formula.

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