Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Wow. Just wow.

"Our generation has had no great war, no great depression. Our war is spiritual. Our depression is our lives." Chuck Palahniuk

It's been a while but I'm keeping on with the quotes. It brings me a sense of being anchored, of having a starting point and of knowing where I'll be next. And, while the quote says we have had no great war, I think we've seen plenty of little ones, of continuing, slow-boiling conflict and we've most certainly lived in the shadow of the second world war. I have anyway.

On a personal level I think I have always been at war and I don't think I started peace talks until the year 2015. This year was weird for a lot of people, many of us struggled, and while it has brought out the best and the worst in people to a greater degree than before it's also brought about a lot of growth.

While I was playing around with changing the look of this blog for 2016, it was high time, I stumbled across a blog post from 2011. It was a post I wrote some six months after my breakdown and while I remember that time as being incredibly difficult, anxious and depressing I was actually quite positive in my mindset. It shocked me a little bit but it also made me realize that I have the capacity to dig real deep when I have to.

It's different now though. I hauled arse out of that place on December 18 and I have no plans or desire to look back.

I'm in between. I'm well and truly in between.

I left my job after 16 years with the same company. I left the security of knowing the people I work with and what they will throw at me. I left the security of knowing the product and being damned sure about how the documentation for it should be. I left the security of being a subject matter expert without anyone to challenge me in that area. I left the security of knowing who's friend and foe in the office, and most importantly who would back me up and sit with me when the shit hits the fan.

I'm in between. I'm kind of stateless and I feel like I have a partial identity. I can no longer say I work as a technical documentation manager because theoretically I'm between jobs for three and half weeks. I'm shedding an identity I've had for 16 years and I'm a nobody in the making-a-living arena until mid January next year. I've not yet started to form an identity that has anything to do with my new job.

I'm not entirely sure about what it is I want to expect from my new job and the new workplace. I can feel the draw of being able to create a whole new me since there's not a single person that I have worked with before where I'm going (although plenty of ex colleagues have worked there in the past few years). I'm no longer going to produce manuals, or even be in charge of people who do. I'm going to manage risks and there's a big chance I'll be living in the hard to define area of managing risks for the foreseeable future. For me though it has to be more tangible than that. It's got to be about managing people and with managing I really mean lead and empower.

I don't think I'm scared and I don't think I'm excited. I don't think I feel lost and I don't think I know where I'm heading. I just am. I have just over three weeks to shed the old and to prepare for the new, or I have just over three weeks just to sit there and do nothing except get to know who I am without all the labels I had stuck on me that related to my old job, and I can tell you that it has defined me in a big way.

I change careers when I start at that company. Plot twist. I had one year old baby when I started my old job. I was newly separated after leaving an abusive relationship with an alcoholic.  I was starting a friendship with a man who was to become husband number two. I was taking a huge risk leaving the safety of a drafting job that I excelled in but was so very bored with. Everything was changing in my life at that time. I was changing but I didn't track my own changes like I have been since the nervous breakdown.

It's not too dissimilar this time around. My daughter has finished high school. I'm single but really ready to find love. I'm leaving a job that I could probably have just kept on going in but that I was over, and I'm heading into a new area where I really have no clear idea of what to expect. Everything is changing in my life at this time but I wanted it that way. There are things left behind in my old workplace that I really need to leave behind even if some of it feels a little painful. I order for me to grow I had to shed all that or I was just going to keep going in the same way. I had outgrown it and it was a poor fit, it had been for some time, and I desperately needed a new opportunity because I had lost my why.

Why was I doing what I was doing?

Why had I chosen that career?

Why was I staying in that job?

Why was I turning up everyday?

I did that thing where you write down what you enjoy and then you write down what you do. I found that not a single thing was matching any more and that set the alarm bells off in a big way.

I've been lucky in my career. There's only really been one that was a complete fail in that I had to get a job quickly after having my daughter. I ended up in a small company that was probably the most toxic place I've ever set foot in. Any place where they steal your instant coffee out of your desk has got to be the worst. I ended up being made redundant after five weeks and eventually compensated in court. All other jobs I've had have sort of landed in my lap and this was no different. When they say that you have to network they're not kidding but I loathe networking as it happens today. Building credibility by being real (or authentic - the new buzzword) goes such a long way when it comes to building a career.

This is not what I wanted to finally write something about but there it is. I will hopefully end the year with something more profound but don't go having all sorts of expectations from this job less slob now. That would be silly of you.

I'm just saying.

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