Starting a new job, is like the first day at school. There’s some nerves. A struggle to sleep the night before. Apprehension.
Will I fit in? Will I make friends? Will I be successful?
And then, joy.
Please let this be the reason for me to buy new stationary… Ok, maybe that’s me.
Last night I felt all this and more. This would be the first job in a while that hasn’t been a short term contract. It’s the first job in a while where I haven’t been brought in for a specific purpose, with a specific end. It’s all encompassing. It’s at the centre of the business. It’s in my happy place of my expertise with driven, clever people who make things happen. Could I hold my own being there?!
Bring on a new day
Today I woke up and shunned my nerves. I’ll be who I am and just see how things go.
As soon as I met my boss I realised the learning curve was about to start, all over again. I got told things about projects, politics and people; history, holidays and (mild) hysteria; I laughed with my team, chatted to new faces and figured out how to set up my laptop and phone. Essential things.
But there’s something I can’t articulate…
Tonight, as I ride the train home, I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am.
Have you ever had a moment of clarity where you just sit and think, thank fuck I did this? That’s me right now, on this train. Every risk I took in taking this role suddenly makes sense. I had to do it.
Everything feels right despite the list of reasons it shouldn’t:
- I took a pay cut. In the charity sector I’m not going to make that up money anytime soon. And given the nature of the role, I’ll be working harder, for less
- I walked away from a pending promotion – from a job I hated, but still, a promotion!
- I mentally put on hold life goals, like buying a home
- Did I mention the pay-cut?! Seriously, what was I thinking?
But none of this worries me, today.
What’s the narrative?
I had to choose a new path that could make me happy. And I did. It scared me, there were compromises, but I took the risk, even when I wasn’t sure, and did it.
It was so clear my company wasn’t right for me. But I started to kid myself it could be. If I could just…
- Find someone to speak to, I’ll be ok
- Take pleasure from not being challenged, this could be a sweet deal I have
- Put up with bad leadership, demotivating managers and ridged bureaucracy, I could get that promotion
- Accept that management wanted to keep me in a box and not stretch me, but pay me more money to do it, all would be just fine and dandy
Really? What a load of bull.
Let’s call out what these things are. Excuses, softeners maybe, a narrative I wanted to buy into to survive my day to day. But you know what? It didn’t work. I made that narrative and knew deep down I disbelieved it.
I knew because I felt terror in my tummy on the way to work, anxiety rising through my throat into my eyes every time I walked into a building where I felt trapped. Not physically maybe, but I started to believe I couldn’t get out, that I was better with the devil I knew than taking a risk playing with the devil I didn’t.
Choosing a path
My new job has made me realise that we often make excuses for staying on a path that we know, we’re not happy on. Maybe it’s too hard to challenge. Maybe we drown that whispered gut feeling with busyness. Or maybe we just kid ourselves into believing all will be fine, if we just do X, Y, Z. That will shut that little voice up at the back of my head. And my gut. And my friends.
But there is choice. There is always choice. Even when you think you’re trapped, you’re not. I urge you right now to reassess anything you feel trapped in. Assess the risk you might have to take to try a new way… and then… do it. Or at least, do something towards it.
Because you know what? No one else can do that for you. It’s your path for a reason. Make it count.