“Change is painful, but nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong”
New years eve, end of the year, start of the next one and traditionally the time when most of us reflect upon the past and make resolutions to do things differently. You know, those things we keep saying we’ll do, but put off, or ann opportunity to make a promise to ourselves, to stop dwelling on the past and move on.
It’s good, it’s healthy and thinking about it fills that lull between Christmas and New Years Eve. That bit where no one really knows what day it is or what’s going on and everyone’s fed up of eating and watching made for TV movies.
Having a goal is positive, I won’t knock it, but I’ve always believed that if you’re not happy, why wait? It doesn’t have to be NYE for you to make a change. Change things when you need to make a change! Don’t wait.
New year resolutions cover a multitude of sins, diet, exercise, relationships, work. We’ve all made that mistake of putting things off or outstaying our welcome. Often, it’s something we know we should have started or left behind a long time ago, but why do we wait? We do it with friendships, relationships and work.
This brings me to my point and a confession; I’m not sure who this is for – you, or me? I enjoyed 2019, I can’t complain, it’s been a massive learning opportunity and I would do it all again given the chance. But I wasn’t always so optimistic. I was at a strange cross roads which I hadn’t experienced before, it could have gone either way. Someone mentioned journaling to me, but a blog was a good way for me to get thoughts out of my head and onto paper, on those nights where I wanted to sleep, but my brain won’t let me.
I started NYE 2018 into 2019 like everyone else. A beer in my hand a pool cue in the other and absolutely no idea what I was going to do! The thing was, 6 weeks before Christmas last year I handed my notice in. With no job to go to, a mortgage to pay and car to run. My parents didn’t know, they would have freaked. That experience kicked off a series of events I couldn’t have expected and led me to a path I wouldn’t have found. I’m thankful for the courage of my convictions.
At the time, only my closest friends knew what i was planning, and their advice “stick it out until you’ve found something else, don’t walk.” The problem was, they knew what I was planning, but they weren’t experiencing what I was experiencing. Their first reaction, “…its risky” believe it or not, I told them “…life’s risky, none of us are getting out alive!” (I stole that from Jim Rohn.) It seemed apt at the time and I still believe that now.
On paper I had everything I wanted. In the summer I’d taken a new role closer to home, paying a higher salary and thought I’d cracked it. On paper it had looked perfect, their marketing was top notch. As the saying goes, all that glitters isn’t not gold. It was far from gold!
I don’t want to dwell on it too much; it was what it was, but needless to say when a family emergency came a long, 65 hrs + a week, working evenings and weekend and no social life suddenly didn’t seem that important. It will come as no surprise that it wasn’t sustainable.
When members of HR team start leaving, because in their own words, they are being bullied out, it was clear there were too many red flags. This place was broken and it would take everyone down with it, if you let it. In a relatively short space of time, I was already feeling it take its toll.
The irony was, it was only after leaving, that it really made sense and I could see it for what it was. While I was in this place, I was pointing the finger at myself, feeling guilty about being ill, falling asleep at meals in the evening, missing out on socials and never feeling like I’d finish anything. I’d been questioning my own abilities and wondering what was wrong with me. I was seriously questioning if I had the longest running case of impostor syndrome in history, had I been a fraud for the last 10 years of my career?
I don’t know if this is the best analogy, but alcoholics talk about having a moment of clarity, I had that. Although, it took taking a kicking, a shock to the system and then life to throw a proverbial curve ball, and family had to come first. When it’s all said and done, there was more to life. Thinking about it though, it was the best decision I’ve ever made.
The strange thing, it was a relief to leave almost straight away. Despite the magnitude of what I’d just done and the massive potential down side, it was literal weight off of my mind almost instantly, I was happy about what I’d done. I’d work the rest of it out later.
So 2019 started, I dusted off my CV, sending it out and preparing for interviews in January when Christmas was over. I needed to take stock of my finances and work out how long I was able to run for without having to switch my tact on the job front, where I would need to consider taking something outside of my field that would cover the bills until I was back in the game. I figured I had 12 months if things went badly.
I also needed to be organised, have a project to give me focus while I worked on finding a new job. Something that meant I maintained a sense of being productive and didn’t hit a slump. I figured I had time on my hands and I worked renovating the kitchen into my budget, assuming I did most of the labour and made good use of my time. I also made a point of doing all those little jobs around the house that had been neglected.
Gym membership wasn’t in the budget, but I’m surrounded by open space and a combination of walking the dog, working on the house and going for a run or two helped keep me level and stay focused. It was great, it was the most time I had to myself in the bets part of 20 years so, I was making the most of it.
Things started to fall into place, I wont lie, I did burn through savings a little quicker than I expected, but it was under control. The process of having to work through finances, made me approach money differently. Rather than just spending and not think thinking about it. I learnt a bit of discipline. (That cant be a bad thing.)
As the new year settled in I started going to interviews, sifted the wheat from the chaff and at the same time I was a little more considered in selecting my next role. Rather than me jumping at the first offer I got out of desperation. In fact, I found a great role and a great team, it was actually the last interview I had and by time I met with them, I already had another offer on the table, which I was able to use to leverage my T&C’s. I was glad I held out.
What’s more it gave me a rare opportunity to set up a new team from scratch. I’ve been nominated for “Manager of The Year” in one of the national awards for 2019 (I’ll find out in March if I get through to finals.) My own year end appraisal read “John is the Glue that holds the rest of the team together” and off the record and after copious amount of alcohol, I was even told I was someone’s hero at the Christmas party this year. I couldn’t ask for more. The end of 2019, was a stark contrast to how it started. It also proved a valuable lesson.
Change is hard, you won’t have all the answers, you will doubt yourself, but stay the course. You don’t know what’s out there until you go looking. My friends thought I was crazy. But, in doing it I found something I wouldn’t have otherwise discovered. I learnt about myself. You don’t have to follow the same path as everyone else, you can create your own. You just have to take a leap of faith.
Say Hi to your families, tell them you love them and Happy New Year! Write your own story in 2020. For now, it’s goodnight JonBoi.