I gave up my salary so as not to be a slave to work

In 2017, the journalist Federica Balestrieri announced that she had resigned from Rai. Today she tells Fanpage.it her new life about her: “I am no longer a slave to someone who tells me what to do, when I have to do it, who gives me days off according to the mood of the day. I escaped from these dynamics of power “.

The journalist Federica Balestrieri for 23 years she was a Rai face. She took care of Formula 1, she ran the program Pole Position earning the nickname of “woman of motors”, then the transition to TG1 where for 7 years she has been involved in fashion, costume and society. In January 2017, you announced that you had resigned from Rai. You felt the need to give up everything and change your life:

“I didn’t want to be a slave to work anymore. I said enough and I quit. After all, what are you going to make money with if you don’t have time to spend it and are you always stressed?”

Initially she dedicated herself to volunteering (which is still an integral part of her life today), then during a trip to India she found her way. Federica Balestrieri told her story to Fanpage.it.

You spent twenty-three years in Rai, seven of which on TG1. What’s left of your “previous life”?

It was thrilling. I had the opportunity to do the job I dreamed of, the sports journalist. I was talking about Formula 1, then for seven years I conducted Pole Position, Rai’s flagship program on engines. I have met so many different people and worlds. I had gained great popularity, they called me the woman of motors. Then, I chose to go to TG1, to try my hand at another type of journalism. I talked about fashion, I took care of the specials. At a certain point, I realized that I had done everything I could have done in Rai.

So you made the decision to drop everything.

I felt that if I stayed any longer, I would waste precious time. There was too much world to see, too many things to do, I felt tied to a fixed position, to fixed commitments, to a boss who told me what to do. I said enough and I quit. I was 47 years old.

But I guess it wasn’t an easy decision to make.

I cried whole nights, months of anguish. It was a huge psychological pain. I sought the approval of my husband Fabio Parisi. I needed him to tell me: “Yes, do it, I’ll be close to you”. But nothing, he didn’t want to take this responsibility. He was convinced that I would repent and blame him for giving me bad advice. It was a choice with no return.

Did you even think about a plan B?

No, in fact I won’t tell you how many told me I was crazy. My father got very angry. I left because I wanted to take back my life. Being free, relaxed, no longer a slave to work. So I said to myself, I give up a lot of money but I buy autonomy that is essential for me to be serene. Otherwise you are a slave, perhaps a luxury because you earn so much, but what do you do with money, if you don’t have time to spend it and you are always stressed?

Haven’t you felt the fear of losing the security of a fixed salary?

Honestly no. I left with a severance pay. I worked in Rai for 23 years, I gained 21 years of contributions, which is the minimum to have a pension, once I reach the right age. But for 47 years, I had to reach 65. I was aware that I would never earn as much as in Rai. I had put my heart in peace. I would have led a freer life, but with many sacrifices.

What was the first thing you did once you took back your days?

At first I dedicated myself to the non-profit organization I had founded, Riscatti. Then, I left for India alone, without a precise idea of ​​what to do. I had a vague idea of ​​producing something. I bought some fabrics, took them to a tailor and we made pants, a skirt, a jacket and a dress. Four heads, multiplied by fifty pieces in all. When I returned to Italy, I invited some friends and sold them in one afternoon. I realized they liked them and from there I started my business, navigating in sight day by day. I started selling clothes in flea markets, then e-commerce arrived.

Were there any difficult moments?

I must say that everything went smoothly. Let’s face it, you have to work. It happens the day I am closed in the warehouse to open the garments, price them, upload photos on the site. Others where I work on the beach. This is the beauty of having an e-commerce. But it is my passion, even sacrifices I do not consider them sacrifices. I happen to be tired, but the stress, the negativity, the anxiety that a job brings with it, are gone.

Live more with less has become your philosophy, what does it consist of?

I started living this philosophy, a while before I got rid of that golden cage I was working in. It means living more but with less, not so much with less money, but with less power. Letting go of even the good things like fame and success, because they often have a downside. They come at a cost in terms of stress and fatigue, which from my point of view is not worth it. It is subjective of course.

What advice do you have for those who would like to break away from their permanent position and reinvent themselves?

Not to be afraid to act. We need to break the delay, because time passes. And then follow your passions and build your business in that perimeter. This is how you don’t feel the burden of work. Even start small. For example, I talked about myself on Instagram and created a community. The goal should not be to have as many likes as possible, but to show yourself as you are. Then things come by themselves. The fact of being authentic, genuine, people like it a lot.

It is also true, however, that leaving work can be an unsustainable choice for those with children.

I have no children. I want to be honest, if I had, I probably wouldn’t have quit, because I would have felt a responsibility towards them. When you are accountable only to yourself, you are freer to make even such drastic choices. When I quit my job, I said to myself: if I turn badly, I won’t be an idiot, I’ll even be able to do something (laughs, editor’s note).

What is the biggest advantage you feel you have gained by firing yourself?

I am not a slave to someone who tells me what to do, when I have to do it, who gives me the days off according to the mood of the day. I have escaped certain dynamics of power, I have the freedom to organize my time. To manage it according to my rules, my needs, my needs. For me this is wonderful.

Did your husband make the same choice as you?

My husband has been a footballers’ agent for many years. He has managed five Golden Balls, has worked at a high level in the world of football. Now he no longer manages the players directly. He got involved, moving to Miami with me at the age of 61. But he remained in his sector, he didn’t change jobs like I did. But he is also a freelancer, he does not have a fixed salary.

How is your life today?

The Dress more with less e-commerce, which I opened in September 2019, exploded during the pandemic. I could hardly handle customer inquiries anymore. I could sell my clothes wholesale. I have a lot of requests from many boutiques, I could also distribute them in the United States. I have many opportunities for growth, but I say no to everyone, because I don’t want to rebuild that golden cage, that prison where I am a hamster on the wheel.

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