A change in direction for my career goals
Following my heart not my head, I’ve found myself in a position that I thought would be years into my career. Going freelance was never the goal “before kids” it was the end goal.
The goal become freelance, when I felt I had sought out all of the opportunities I could in full time positions and sucked out as much as I could learn from every experience.
In my last position, though, I learnt a lot about myself.
This is a really hard blog to write, I’ve been thinking about writing it for a really long time – please respect where this is coming from, it quite literally has kept me up at night thinking how I can write this eloquently.
Last year I moved jobs, from a job I had loved, people I loved and still call friends into a new position, a new industry and a different department.
Why did I make so many changes, I was looking for my “next challenge”. Seeking something extra in my previous role, and applying for everything I could that would fill that creative hole.
I actually applied for a role earlier last year in this company and then a little further into the year they contacted me about a different position.
I had a couple of “interviews” they weren’t all that formal, but from what I was asking and looking for it seemed a challenge right up my street.
I started my new role at the end of October. I started springing up new goals for myself, silly things like keep a separate wardrobe for work and home, get up early, always wear smart workwear, make sure you wear makeup and always have (wait for it) your sh*t together.
Well, actually what I was trying to do here, was shoehorn myself into someone I am not, I started a job just as the clocks were changing, I am not a morning person and with long hours and a long commute it was quickly proving I was not cut out for my own “ideals”, my own Pinterest thoughts of how to be perfect in my new role.
What actually happened when moving into this role, was that I lost sight of what was important. I was being subjected to speech that essentially said I wasn’t good enough, that I wasn’t doing what was expected of me; and well as a person with anxiety focussed always on how I could disappoint managers, my family, my partner. This kind of language took me into a bit of a spiral.
We had New York to look forward to in December and that was my goal. We had worked hard for our holiday and by hell or high water we were going to enjoy it.
Anyway, after New York it was a whirlwind of, let’s be honest, psychological bullying; mind games, extra work, pressured overtime, and not a lot of “Laura time”. The late working hours and additonal pressure kept piling, which meant less time to do the things I enjoyed, the things that help you recharge and be your best self at work. I was exhausted, physically and mentally, my business was starting to suffer, albeit it was only my “side hustle” but it meant a lot to me. And more importantly my family and friends began to suffer. I was stressed beyond repair.
In February, I held my hands up and admitted defeat, I couldn’t go on like this anymore. I was honest with myself and with Jamie, my anxiety was taking over. We were actually on a weekend break in Edinburgh when it all came to a head. Returning to work I explained how I felt to my line managers and they initiated a stress risk assessment. I then contacted the doctors.
Between the time I contacted the doctors and started CBT, the pandemic had reached the UK and we were going into lockdown. Just before I started CBT, I was furloughed; this terrified me, I was already sick with worry and now it felt like I was losing my job, and incoming floods of financial anxiety set in.
So, during lockdown and furlough I went through a CBT over the phone course with Sunderland IAPT. It was free and I received 1-2-1 help and tools to ensure I wouldn’t get in the position I was in before.
Then while furloughed I focussed my energy on my business, it was a lifeline, I couldn’t go from working to nothing. It really kept my head above water.
Fast forward to now, my role in that business was taken out of the structure, and I got made redundant. There was an offer for a lower salary position in my team, but I declined.
Why you may ask, when you’re worried about money… well what I learned about myself is that, that business wasn’t right for me, I just didn’t “fit”. I know this self employed journey is going to be hard don’t get me wrong; but I am in charge here – I have full control of the people I work with and the work I take on.
Honestly, it took so much for me to personally admit that I was struggling to myself never mind to those around me, but that was the changing point. And I’m so glad I have took myself on this journey this year, without being made furlough, I may not have had the opportunity to really take some time for myself without going on this sick from work. I’ve learnt a lot about myself this year and I’m looking after number one, no-one can shoot me down.
I’m very open to talk about this with anyone who may need someone to listen.