Three months ago, I started a new job. I was full of excitement and eagerly anticipated the challenge. Last week, I handed in my notice. The role wasn’t what I expected it to be, and the practices were hitting off my triggers. For lots of other reasons, which are too dull to go in to, I decided it wasn’t for me. This was an impossibly difficult decision to make. I hate walking away from anything, especially when I don’t feel like I have given it a proper try. Even though I know it’s irrational, and though I am fairly sure I am doing the right thing, I still feel like I have failed.
In all honestly, the last 12 months or so have been pretty disastrous work wise. It started going down hill this time last year, when a promotion I was promised fell through. The promotion involved spending a lot of time in the UK, so getting mentally geared up for it had been tough. But once it was decided on, I was committed to giving it my all. When it didn’t work out, I felt completely heartbroken. It was as though the rug had been pulled out from underneath me. I knew that the change of plan was just that, a business decision which had nothing to do with me personally. Nor was it a reflection of my work or my ability. Still the experience left me destabilised and unsettled. A change was needed.
The thing was, I didn’t hate my job. In fact, I quite liked it. I had genuine affection for my colleagues, so I wasn’t going to take just any old job. It had to be the “right move.” After a fairly drawn out job hunt, I found a position which seemed to tick all the boxes. It was a step up, more money, not too much of a commute and in a growing company so there would be plenty to challenge me and hold my interest. Sounds perfect, right? I thought so. I was wrong.
So what? I tried something, it didn’t work out and I moved on. No big deal. I have a new job lined up and having been completely honest with them about the reasons this one hasn’t worked out, I am hopeful not to experience the same issues. This job is even closer to home. I will have the shortest travel time I have ever had, which in itself is a reason to be happy. The role has a lot going for it and I know I should be ecstatic. 99% of me is, in fact, delighted. But the other 1% is loud, obnoxious and impossible to ignore.
It keeps reminding me that I thought I was making the right move before and I was DEAD WRONG. It whispers to me that I FAILED. It prompts me to wonder if this career path is really for me. It waits in the dark to ask me “what if the problem isn’t them, what if it’s YOUR FAULT?” No amount of rational thinking, meditation or mindfulness can quieten these fears. The inconvenient truth is that the experiences of the last year have left me doubting my own instincts. I have spent so long not knowing what to do, that it has become the default. I can’t stop thinking, what if I start in the new job and it’s even worse? Is it a case of better the devil you know?
I recognise that uncertainty and anxiety are completely normal during times of change. I understand that even though they might not admit it, everyone experiences the same range of emotions. I also know that everybody fails. The reality is, if you have never failed, you haven’t tried hard enough. If you always stay within your comfort zone and never stretch yourself, you eliminate the risk of failure. But, you also eliminate the potential for growth.
So, once more into the breach I go. Come Monday I will be taking another step into the unknown. Scared as I am, I will try my hardest to walk in there with an open mind and an open heart. To do anything less is to cheat myself. It is the same when we start a new relationship, make a new friend, or start trying to lose weight for what feels like the 219th time. Letting go of past “failures” is the most important, and often most difficult, first step to take.
I cannot tell you how excited and nervous I am. Even as I write this, I am painfully aware of how flaky and changeable I must seem. I desperately want this to work out. I need to feel settled again. So much of my identity and self worth is tied up with my professional life. It is the corner piece of my jigsaw, without it being in place I find myself unable to work on anything else. Routine is vitally important to me and in its absence it I struggle to keep my fitness, nutrition or pretty much anything else on track. Wish me luck, and be well xxx