The next steps are sometimes the hardest

So imagine you’re sitting in an office, in a comfortable job surrounded by lovely people and the relaxed hum of work. Everyone’s busy, except you. Instead you’re bored stiff trying to find something to occupy your mind before you decide to run around screaming with a gun to your head. The work you do is menial and completely soul destroying, but everything else, the perks of the job, the money, the commute and the colleagues, they’re all lovely. There’s just one catch – the work is utter crap with no challenge or hint or progression. How long do you think it will take before you go insane? For me, it took 1 year and 4 months counting down the days and wondering when I would get off my arse and find something else. But everything was just so convenient. I didn’t need to take the busy packed tubes, I could take the trains which were less packed and quite reliable. If I was ill, I would be sent home to recover, if I took holidays, it would be okay because at least I actually had paid holidays on a fixed term contract. When I did get sent out the office it was to a flashy all paid for conference once a year. How could you possibly complain? Champagne on Fridays, treats and sweets practically every day and the knowledge of your hopeful departure to another country if you’re successful. So how long do you think it would take you? It’s easier to stay believe me and I didn’t have as many responsibilities as most people such as children to consider and balancing family life. But I decided to leave. When I handed in my resignation I was euphoric, but then after a week or so, I was distraught. What the hell did I do messing up a perfectly good job just because I was bored? All I had to do was stick it out for a few months, but here I was giving up a great company, great benefits and excellent colleagues. Ironic that the joke was on me.

On my last day, I was terribly sad because I was giving up so much. The week before I left I found out the company was merging and therefore increasing the opportunities within the firm to learn new software and meet new people. I was terribly annoyed to discover that this was the worst kept secret which was concealed from me from every person I asked who knew, when it was quite blatant everyone in the company knew except me. I was unfortunately the last person to find out and by that time I had already handed in my resignation. It was too late, a replacement had been found, my new job was waiting for me and yet I felt cheated somehow. I couldn’t turn back time, but I lost a lot. If I knew, perhaps I would have reconsidered and stayed, but then I would have had to say no to this new opportunity. I cried when they did the leaving speech, but my dear colleagues promised they would see me for my leaving drinks the following week. So I left with a heavy heart, but little did I know that business is simply business and I was just a meaningless person in that company. But did you know? I was like a dog within the company – the lowest of the low. I knew something was going on, but no-one trusted me to tell me. While everyone knew and gloated about that knowledge, I was left in the dark. I was never privy to news because I was junior.

I arrived to my leaving drinks and I waited. I waited and waited painfully aware that one by one the colleagues I thought were friends palmed excuse after excuse and I was left standing alone in a packed bar. Only two people attended, though I only really count one of them. The first to arrive was my lovely replacement who only stayed for less than hour, but I was embarrassed to find only one other colleague who I worked closely with came along soon after. The two of us went along to another bar and while she regaled me with all the new treats they were being given, I felt a stab of envy burn brightly. Trips to abroad for a conference, fancy parties at London hotels, new Ipads for every staff member not to mention at least 2 bonuses in store. Well you can imagine how much I wanted to kick myself. Until I walked away and I thought. No one really cared I left. I thought I had so many friends, but in the end I had only one. I was clearly living on another planet. It hurt. Have you ever had one person turn up to your leaving drinks? It really hurt, if it wasn’t for that one person I would have felt so alone. But you learn fast and boy did I learn. Business is business. Colleagues are not friends, they are colleagues. Work is work and that is the way of the world. Don’t get too emotional, don’t get too sentimental. All the false promises of keeping in touch – everything it wasn’t true. Don’t hide beneath those rose-tinted glasses. Don’t expect to see those people again, because expectation will only seek to disappoint. I am missing out on so much and yet I am not. I have moved on to a new job at an international excellent firm with new challenges. My colleagues so far are very nice and the work is different and new with room to progress and develop and opportunities to shine. I am moving forwards and the lesson that I will bring to the new place? To make sure I stand out and shine like I did in my first job. There will not always be people who want to push you and make you do better. You have to push yourself. If you’re bored you should consider leaving because even though materially it sounds amazing, its not worth it if you’re writing a book as well as working.

If you don’t leave you’ll never leave. If you stay, you’ll be missing out on all the new things you could have learned, all the new people you could have met. Sometimes I still wonder, but I reckon if I turned my current opportunity down, I would have regretted and played the what if game then too. It was one of the most difficult learning curves of my life, but necessary. I will continue to fight for my dreams and I will not let anyone put me in a box again. Don’t let fear get in the way because that is exactly what I am letting prevent me from my future by holding onto my past. But I am trying to let go. Every day is a new reality check. Every day is a battle.

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Change is harder than people think….

“A great writer reveals the truth even when he or she does not wish to.” Tom Bissell- This quote popped up after I published this article and I just had to include it because it was very true for this story of mine. So without further ado here is some of my ugly truth.

So I recently successfully completed a telephone interview and I have an assessment day on Wednesday but I am very scared, but  I don’t really know why. I suppose it is because of the failures of my last interviews and I am afraid of how people perceive me. But the truth is I am trying to find myself and this day is for a job in sales. Everyone says that people should follow their dreams, but this is not my dream and I know in my heart that this job is not the right one for me. I want to run and not take part. I want to ring up and say I am not interested but that is the coward in me who doesn’t want to bother with the effort or the research. I hate presentations and I don’t want to do it so I want to run. But there is always something in me which stops me from quitting- which makes me face the things I hate. Because if I don’t face them I’ll always be scared and run away. If I don’t try I’ll never know. That is the part of me I love and hate at the same time. If I give up now there’s no point because I didn’t even try. Even though I don’t want the job, the experience of the interview is good. But another part of me says what’s the point? I should save myself the humiliation! Well who knows I could meet some very nice people. I could actually learn something. I could stop running from my fears. No I don’t really want this job, but I do want to try and experience things. For me jumping out of a plane or para-sailing is far more exciting, but it is also a lot more dangerous.

That day I answered the call- I didn’t care I just went for it because I knew I had nothing to lose and I didn’t really care. But now, now that I have passed the interview I do care. Or perhaps it is that I care about how I look in front of top business people. I don’t want to make a fool of myself in front of them. I don’t want to fail. I just want to get this over and done with but at the same time I want to run in the other direction and not face this day.

Recently I have been fearing the future. I don’t know why but it was my graduation last week and I was not looking forward to the stress, seeing people, the fear of tripping over my heels. But on the day during they ceremony I felt blessed. I felt so happy- going up for my certificate I had no time to be scared because I was happy. This was what I worked 3 years for. All my hard work paid off. So why didn’t I want to face the day? Can you imagine what would have happened if I missed it? I would have missed out on such much! On such a momentous and important day for me. Granted there was a lot of people I didn’t want to see and didn’t want to talk to and I didn’t really talk to them because who says you have to? University is over. All that matters is what you achieved and who you are.

After America over the summer I have not been the same. I thought I hadn’t changed which I disliked because I wished to change- I wanted to be more confident but the truth is I had changed. I had become worse, more fearful, more reserved and quiet! I came to hate myself. Such a shame just as I was coming out of my shell after all the good uni had done! Even after these few months I hated me. I wanted to forget. I wanted to forget when people hurt me. I wanted to forget everything. I was ashamed. Why? Because I did not like me. Why did I care so much what people think? I don’t know. When I spoke to someone they said why would you want to change? You’re fine the way you are! Well I think I do need to change some things but I am fine. I’ll take that!

The problem is I let my insecurities rule me and I let fear control me. I hate it and I am trying to change it. I am trying to change me for the better. But it is no easy process. Things happen for a reason. The other day someone asked me what my dream job would be and I thought and in my head I had absolutely no idea! But because I needed an answer I said I would like to have been an author. Truthfully I don’t think I would have! I like writing stories- but for myself and for my friends. Perhaps I would have liked to have been a doctor. No maybe I would have liked to have worked for a charity. I still could- I like helping people so I could work for a charity. Maybe I will try it. It’s not impossible and completely out of my reach unlike medicine where I actually need a medical degree.

Nothing is impossible! I just have to keep telling myself that. I need to change. I need to wake up and be positive. I need to get back to where I began. When I was a baby I had no care in the world and was not affected by any external judgements. So I can’t get back that far. But I can shield myself from criticism. I can choose not to let things affect me. It is hard to change, but I must do it. I must be the change I want to be. But most importantly I must learn to love myself.

At least I know that some people love me, my family, friends and most importantly God. That’s right me and the man upstairs are changing the rules. I will not fail. And if I do that’s ok I’ll just get right back up and start again.