22 September 2007
What a difference a year makes
I am sitting here, just before 4am on a Saturday morning, with the car half packed for our annual September trip to a great seaside town in southern New South Wales. I'm not meant to be awake and blogging, but The Little Guy is so excited that he can't sleep so I have to be up to supervise him, and let the Hubster sleep (one of us has to sleep because we've got an all day drive ahead of us).
Not the best start to our holiday, but I know that it will be a great week away anyway. A large part of this is because it's now a year since my life went pear-shaped. I am in a completely different place than I was a year ago.
This time last year I was subject to some really horrible office politics. I discovered that some people I trusted had a completely different agenda to me, and I went away feeling awful. I spent several days of our holiday with severe neck pain; this was the beginning of a stress-induced journey which ended up in some strange physical sensations earlier this year. I had to face the fact that I was in a toxic work situation that was causing me harm, and the only way to look after myself was to get out.
I've learnt some really important lessons in all of this. One is not to be quite as trusting in a professional situation; this was a hard one to learn, because basically it is my wont to think well of the people around me.
Another lesson is that sometimes triumph is in the form of surrender. I left a permanent well-paid position in a major global company - and I didn't have anything to go to. After a much-needed rest for a couple of months, I took a five week contract on significantly less money. I'm still there four months later and they want me to stay at least until early next year. And a few weeks ago, a recruitment agency called me with a lead for another long term contract for well-paid, very interesting, part-time position with an employer I really want to work for. I had the interview this week, and it's looking very hopeful.
This time last year, I thought that my career was over. I had let some other people's opinions be my truth. These days I'm working with people who are really appreciative of what I'm doing, and I've realised that there's still plenty I want to do in my professional life. I got my mojo back!
There are two other big lessons I learnt this past year.
Your job should only be part of life - not the be all and end all, and not what defines who you are. I like it much better this way. It is a great gift not to be waking up in the middle of the night worrying about office politics, or feeling that I have to jump on an 11pm global conference call. (Now I'm just waking up in the middle of the night because my five year old son is too excited to sleep.)
And most of all, it's really important that I look after me. Life goes by far too quickly. I am bringing up three children; I have a husband, extended family and a lot of friends I love dearly; and I have a home to run and many interests to pursue. I like going to work three days a week and being part of a team. I'm truely enjoying all this a lot more now I am feeling physically well and happy again. I am as fit as a fiddle, and ready to have a great week away.
Just as soon as I have a good sleep in the car.