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I’ve worked for the retailer John Lewis for over 30 years, almost all of it in IT: designing, building and supporting the many computer systems needed to keep a retailer of this size functioning smoothly and profitably.

For the last four years, I’ve effectively had two jobs – the IT one and the writing one. It’s been hard to fit writing around the day job, and I’m fed up with the juggling act. Time to drop one job and focus on the other.

Three weeks ago I handed in my notice, and I am due to leave in mid-February. Valentine’s Day, to be precise, will be my last day. I’m not old enough (quite) to take my pension so will live off savings, writing income and then in a couple of year’s time, my SIPP.

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Today I told the team I work with about my decision. They’re pleased for me, some are shocked and sad I’m going, some are excited for my future, some are figuring out how to persuade me to stay (6 months paid holiday every year and a 100% pay rise might tempt me…)

It’s a big move. A big change. I’ve been a Partner, as JL employees are known, for well over half my life. I’ve been to an extent defined by my job. On applications for credit cards, mortgages etc under Occupation I’ve put ‘IT Professional’ or ‘IT Technical Analyst’ for so many years.

But next time, I’ll write ‘Novelist’, and I will so enjoy that moment.  (Yeah yeah I get that it means I might not qualify for the credit card or loan or whatever due to the unpredictable income but hey.)

I’m planning to spend the next 30 years writing novels, to balance the time I spent in IT.  Wish me luck!

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