August was largely a month of celebrations:
- I celebrated 2 years of The Mindful Gingernut;
- I moved out of central London and into my new suburban flat;
- I finally saw my family for the first time since March;
- I celebrated my 18 month anniversary with my boyfriend (no mean feat by my standards!);
- And I celebrated 5 years at my current workplace.
That’s lot’s of things to be happy about in a single month, and I love an excuse for a celebration.
All was well (despite the pandemic). Until the day after my 5 year work anniversary, when I was called into a virtual meeting only to be informed that my job was at risk of redundancy.
Boom. Almost out of nowhere. Not entirely of course, as hardly any industry has been left in one piece after covid. But naively, we never dreamt the changes would impact the senior management team.
At first there were tears. Tears of shock. Tears of disappointment. Tears of anger (my boss had literally signed the reference form for my flat just weeks before. A flat I now had a 24 month contract on!).
And then it hit me. Another epiphany. I’m getting used to these now. The scary thing is, I don’t even feel like I have much say in them. But the feelings are far too strong to ignore. They give me an energy like nothing else I’ve ever experienced, and I just know they are setting me on the right path.
Having returned from a dream trip to India in January this year, as soon as I returned to work, I pulled my boss to one side and told him I felt like my time with the company was coming to an end, and that I hoped to leave by August. A bold move as this automatically put me at risk (with or without the pandemic!). I started to think about what I wanted to do with my life and began spending time on figuring out my life purpose.
Then along came covid, throwing everyone’s plans into disarray! Whilst I was lucky not to be having to cancel holidays or weddings, this obviously changed my career plans. Yet I was at peace with the fact that with so many people out of work, that I would have to put my plans on hold until the end of the year.
Having worked within my industry for the last 14 years (basically all of my adult life!), and in the London office for 5 of those years, I knew change was needed. Moving to the London office hadn’t been easy. There had been a lot of blood, sweat and tears over the years. We had been through constant change. This was our third restructure in 5 years; we had been through 5 years of high staff turnover; 5 years of constant recruiting; 5 years of trying to turn around departments which were a shambles when I first came to the business; 5 years of working 14/15 hour days and working weekends too. I was exhausted, and completely burnt out. .
Within an hour of finding out my job was at risk, I’d made up my mind. Although I had the opportunity to apply for one or even two of the new senior management roles, without even seeing the job description, I had made up my mind. I wouldn’t be applying.
As much as it was shit timing (just 9 days before I was due to move into suburbia), I knew I was being handed the greatest opportunity of my career. Besides my flat (which thankfully I’m only renting), and my boyfriend, I had no other commitments. I literally had nothing to lose.
This was my opportunity to create change. To chase after a career which brings me a greater sense of satisfaction; a career which gives me better work life balance; a career which makes me feel more like me; a career with less unsociable hours; a career which wouldn’t drag me down and burn me out; a career which would be better for my mental wellbeing.
Thankfully, my company have been great about my decision. Whilst I’m slightly disappointed they didn’t try to convince me to stay, and the redundancy pay is no more than statutory, they have provided me with a 3 month notice period, which takes me nicely into December.
Whilst I have no idea what the next few months will hold, one thing I know for sure, is that come December, I plan on taking some time out before returning to some sort of employment in the new year.
Yesterday, I caught up with an old friend on the phone. He has helped me through a number of difficult periods in my life. When I told him my news, he was full of pride. He said that if this had happened to the old Becky 5 years ago, it would’ve completely rocked my world. The fact that here I am, 5 years on, excited by the prospect the challenge ahead, and only seeing this slightly bizarre situation as a positive one and not a negative one, goes to show just how much I’ve grown over the last few years. He wasn’t wrong. 5 years ago, I would’ve been writing a very different post. Yet here I am, at 36 years old, taking one of the biggest career risks of my life, and feeling nothing but a sense of excitement.
I probably should be more worried than I am. Financially, if I don’t find employment early in the new year, life could get tricky, but for now, I’m just seeing it as the exciting opportunity that it is. And worse case scenario? I’d be more than happy to pick up shifts in my local supermarket, after all, that’s where I started my working life.
For now, it’s time to re-focus on my life purpose, and to put myself back out there. As much as part of me thinks the right job will come to me, that doesn’t mean I can rest on my laurels. After all, how will the right job find me if I shy away from putting myself back out there?