Updated: Jun 11, 2020
Transitions: They can be so difficult while you’re in them but when you’re out the other side it’s such a beautiful process to look back on. I’m in the middle of a transition right now, and today is quite an important day because it’s my last day working within a corporate environment working for an advertising agency.
I’ve got a 20 year career behind me going all the way from joining as a graduate to a senior position that I’m in today, and although the career, at the beginning, gave me some pleasure, and it called to my sense of achievement and felt like the appropriate job to take having left university with a strong degree and having high expectations of myself to climb the corporate ladder, make some significant money, and have the success and status that many of us are trained to believe will bring us happiness.
And here I am 20 years later, having spent probably at least the last decade wondering whether I’ve missed my calling, whether I should be doing something different, and how I can go about that. And at this point of transition, I have to be honest that I’m scared and wondering how am I going to take the step from being this corporate, alpha and driven, masculine-energy woman into the space that really have become my passion over the last few years which is really about serving, helping people, being softer, gentler with myself, being engaged and present with my children, and owning my own business, having that self-determination over my time and where I put my energy and focus…being accountable only to myself.
So, I’m at that point where I will be closing my laptop at the end of the day and wondering what to do next. A good friend of mine asked me ‘what will you do on Monday morning?’ and this is such a good question as my vision goes far in to the distance and I know what I will be doing in a year, and I can picture myself in 3 years’ time, but what will you do Monday morning?
And as I exit my corporate job, I’m not doing it through just my own choice. We’re in the coronavirus period right now and many businesses are going through difficult times and the advertising industry is no exception. And many people within the industry are concerned about their jobs. In my case I’m being laid off or being made redundant as we say in the UK. But truthfully, as hurtful as it is to be made redundant, there is so much positive that is coming out of this for me personally that I’m trying to focus on. At this moment of transition, it is hard to feel that positivity, and one of the reasons I’m writing this is to give myself a moment to feel and reflect on the reality of being pushed out of a role; one that you have worked for for many years, made relationships and connections, all your experience seems to lay in that area and yet here I am, on the precipice of something new.
Something interesting though, certainly for me and maybe for many of us, is that there’s always this burning desire to do something different that’s on the back burner, something you’re dabbling with in your own time. And it’s true for me that over the last year I’ve been thinking so hard about taking a first step in to helping parents who feel that the skills they have naturally, mothers particularly, are so driven and alpha-dominated that dealing with their children can sometimes be a real challenge to soften, to be engaged and be present, when the focus is always on the ‘to-do’ list, on the daily achievements.
Something that I’ve experienced so much in my life as a mum, and something that I feel is often unsaid, that people are afraid to talk about how hard it can be to enjoy being a mum because of course we’re all supposed to be so natural at it, to have such happy home lives, that’s what social media makes us all think when we look at other people. So, I’ve been thinking about this for some time and working away often early in the morning to see how I can really create this person within myself.
And suddenly, here I am. I have the opportunity to do that. Would I have done that on my own, taken the leap, left my job and just gone out on a limb? Tony Robbins says that sometimes you just have to burn the boats when you reach the island as that’s the only way you’re going to achieve what you want to achieve, and whilst you have the safety net you’re always going to hold something back. And I think there’s a massive element of truth in that – certainly for me I don’t think that I was really leaning into my passion with the intensity that I could have.
Not least because of what’s been going on within my employment during coronavirus. And this is something that I don’t think is spoken about enough by the media or on social media, the conversations have been so focused on people that have been furloughed, people who are bored and need support because they are lonely, they are having a hard time adjusting to being at home and the quiet, not being in their roles doing their jobs. Now for me, and so many of my friends and colleagues, it’s been the opposite experience. We’ve moved into the coronavirus period with our firms pushing us harder than ever, and instead of doing less work there’s more because the business is desperate to lean into any revenue that they can.
As a parent who obviously has their children at home and has responsibility for home schooling and childcare, doing that full time job plus, has been an immense challenge, being expected to make up the hours in the evening in order to make sure we are delivering to the same high standards we were doing before – and obviously in fear of losing your job in many cases, people are pushing themselves and putting their children on screens all day so they can sit on back to back video conference calls – which puts an immense stress on our lives.
I cannot say that I am unhappy about leaving that behind, and today I am able to know that when I wake up on Monday morning and ask myself what will I be doing today, the answer finally after 10 weeks of lockdown, won’t be that I’ll be turning my video conferencing on and setting my kids up on a tablet and feeling tension as I start another day trying to be everything to everybody. And that’s a real positive. So, the transition seems to be a real game of two halves. On one hand you’ve got the fear and lack of status that comes with losing your job, and on the other side there’s the stress and tension that are reduced and the opportunity that arises.
I just want to take a moment to talk about fear, because for me this is coming up so powerfully at the moment. I’m in the middle of this transition, and I love the word metamorphosis, because that’s what I’m going through – that’s what we all go through when changes are either thrust on us or we step into them from our own power. The metamorphosis is what I desire, and deep within my heart I know that it’s coming. But today I’m fearful, that I’m not good enough, that I won’t be able to do what I have in my dreams, that other people have already done it, other people have already done it better, why would anybody want to hear what I have to say? Why would anybody invest in me and my message?
But here I am, walking in the most stunning woodlands in London, and the sun is shining and I’m just doing it, putting one step in front of the other, and asking myself ‘what will you do Monday morning?’, and I’m looking forward to finding out.