The grass is always greener on the other side

So as you know from my last post, I recently left my old job and after the consequences finally sunk in and I was devastated and fell into a kind of deep regretfulness. When I spoke to my best friend, she said something which didn’t strike me until now.

The grass is always greener on the other side but it doesn’t actually mean that it is necessarily better.

She’s right. It’s like admiring something from a shop window and wishing you had the money to buy it, day by day you watch it entranced, the want becoming more like a need. The tension builds up for months on end until one day you have the means to buy it for yourself. Now that you’ve got it, you realise that it wasn’t actually that important; you no longer want it after a while because we always forget and move on. Because in the end you will forget, you misplace something and you forget and move on. You might be reminded of it sometimes, you might visit the item again, but ultimately it doesn’t matter so much in the grand scheme of things. This is exactly the same feeling, day by day I feel the control and hurt lessen. It’s been more than a month since I left and I can honestly say I don’t regret my decision anymore, not for one second. Why? My life has changed, my eyes have been opened. I’ve met so many different people – if I didn’t leave I wouldn’t have met some lovely and genuinely nice people. I wouldn’t have challenged myself – I would have been stuck in a rut constantly unhappy and constantly moaning to the ones I love. If I hadn’t left I wouldn’t have been challenged socially – I would have stayed insecure and scared. But part of my job requires the confidence to know what you are doing since you are in control and if you screw up, you’re directly responsible and you have a lot of people to answer to.

The company has opened so many doors for me and already within the month I’ve experienced a lot. I’ve learnt so much and I genuinely do believe I am working for a fantastic company and I’m actually very lucky I was hired. The interview was a complete fluke and they must have been desperate since I was supposed to go for a second interview, but they just offered the job immediately after I hesitated. Wow the power is always in your hands whether you realise it or not and I didn’t realise it at the time. We make our own decisions. I met up with my friend from the old company and he was telling me about how they were being sent to Venice for a conference for 2 days, they were having parties thrown, 2 bonuses etc. he went on about all the amazing new things happening and it sounded wonderful – I’m not that high up on my horse that I couldn’t see it and disregard it all. But at the same time, I felt nothing and that was when I realised that I was over it. When I went to meet him at the company I felt nothing. In fact my first thought was “Oh gosh it’s tiny compared to my new office.” It felt small and slightly suffocating and that was when I just knew I am okay – I am over it. I was so unhappy in my last job, I had forgotten how miserable I was, how unchallenged and bored I was. All those feelings went out the window when I lost it all, when I felt ‘cheated’ and now I remember all the bad times as well as the good. The grass looks greener, but in fact it’s not. I just built it up in my mind and refused to move on. But I have now and I feel free.

I feel happier in all aspects and now it’s just time to wait. I don’t know what the future holds, but I won’t give up and I will try not to lose sight. I am questioning whether I actually want to work in Marketing anymore. The thing is I get bored easily and I don’t know, I just feel like it’s not really for me. I don’t know what exactly is for me but working in this job makes you realise things you like and things you don’t like. You might have a lot of regrets, you might wish you took a chance, but never fear because another different chance will always appear. In life, I think about all the chances I let go, but there are also all the chances I grabbed. If you want something grab it, if you don’t know, don’t worry because there are so many opportunities its overwhelming. All I know right now is that I like helping people. I would like to do some volunteering work one day, I would like to travel, I would like to try my hand at different jobs. This corporate role right now is just a means to an end to achieve those goals and I will try not to get stuck in it. I don’t think it will happen. You never know though, but this I am sure about. My self-esteem is not great, my confidence and belief in myself is also weak, but day by day I am learning to accept myself. I am learning more of what I like, what I’m comfortable with – I like gossip I am human, but I don’t like when it turns vulgar and becomes cruel. I am learning what I should do and how I should act in the future – don’t let people push you into things, don’t let people bully you – sometimes it’s good to be pushed because I was quite literally pushed into this job by my agency which I resented them for and still begrudgingly still do, but don’t let people push you unless they force your hand, just remember it is always your choice and you have to live with the consequences, not them – YOU.

Everything has a way of circling on itself and working out for the best. Funny enough I met a colleague in my department who applied for a job at my previous company and turns out it was the same job I had applied for one and a half years ago. I got it and she didn’t. I got the chance and she got another opportunity at a different company before joining this current company 6 months ago. It’s funny how life works!

A dream is not always better than reality. The other side might look perfect after you’ve left, but take off those rose-tinted glasses and you’ll see the truth. Reality hits hard. Not everything is as great as is perceived. Perception can be deceptive just as my Philosophy lectures taught me 3 years ago.

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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.