Coping with uncertainty

I wrote this blog a good few weeks ago now, but it’s sat in drafts until I’ve plucked up the courage to post it. Here goes.

So I said I was going to keep this impersonal until I was sorted. I’m not quite – actually I’m nowhere near – sorted but thought I’d share anyway, after all, it’s likely to be a long journey and this blog’s meant to be about me sharing my experiences, however uncomfortable they might be at times. And things are pretty uncomfortable right now.

I did resign from my job, 4ish weeks ago now. And I finished yesterday. I’m excited about the possibilities and opportunities, accepting of the fact I may well have to take an ‘it pays the bills’ job for a while, but also just a little bit terrified that I won’t be able to maintain my wavering levels of positivity. I still haven’t decided whether it was a ‘bad’ or ‘good’ choice, I have ups and downs, but that’s irrelevant now.

I left, two months earlier than planned, for a number of reasons:

  1. Waiting for another job first (the ‘sensible’ thing to do) would mean continuing to feel completely inauthentic, and even dishonest – I felt so much relief in simply telling my boss that I don’t want to be there and it’s not for me.
  2. I had a very honest conversation with my boss, which highlighted how misaligned the opportunities for growth at the company are with how I want to grow professionally and personally.
  3. While some people could say I made a rash and very much emotionally driven choice (I wouldn’t argue with you on the emotion front, but I do know it was from an authentic place), I want to be the person who takes risks, the person who is proactive and makes things happen.

I really struggled with this decision after I’d first made it. While some people lose their jobs, are made redundant, and face difficult circumstances that are completely out of their hands, I actively made this choice. This was all down to me – there’s nowhere to hide.

And in that moment I had a choice to make. To depair, to cry, to beg to keep my job after all, to grab the first menial job I could get my hands on, to explain my decision to others warily and with doubt. Or to embrace that choice. To share it with enthusiasm and happiness, to remain calm in the knowledge I have enough savings to give me time to work this out, to keep smiling, keep meeting people, to stay positive.

If I could go back to that day I spoke to my boss, would I change the conversation? Would I hold back? Would I let logic and expectation and ‘sensible’ hold me back? Or would I hold on to my authenticity, my self-respect and faith that I can make this work?

So what can I share from this experience? Well here’s how I’ve stayed positive despite overwhelming uncertainty:

  • Great quotes and inspirational TED talks. My personal favourite is Steve Jobs’ commencement speech, and I continue to read some of these quotes every single day. But a new quote I’m particularly fond of is: Above all, be true to yourself, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it. – Hardy D Jackson.
  • Music. I never used to listen to music at work. An office culture of headphones and skype/email conversations with colleagues is my idea of hell, but knowing I was leaving I gave up trying to fight it. For my last weeks of repetitive routine tasks, I used music as a distraction and focus to get me through. And it did a pretty good job.
  • Meeting people. During this period of uncertainty there have been times when I’ve felt like I couldn’t face anyone for fear of disapproval. But instead of sitting at home in despair (as I might well have done in similar situations in the past), I’ve dragged myself out. I’ve spent time with friends, family, complete strangers, recent acquaintances. And I’ve been open and enthusiastic with as many of these as I feel I can. I’ve found that most of the time, if you speak with enthusiasm and conviction, that’s exactly what people around you will reflect back. How great is that?

positivity-text

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4 comments on “Coping with uncertainty

  1. Lauren says:

    Inspired.

    You are awesome. Taking that leap is scary, but find comfort in the fact that it’ll make you a happier & better person in the long run. I was saying “yes, yes!” to the lack of growth opportunities because that was a huge reason for me leaving my old job. No one wants to feel stuck. It takes a wise person to know that not everywhere is like that; some people accept it as how things are! I’ve been at my new job for 2 weeks and it’s night and day compared to the old place – it’s a culture of advancement and development – I just feel good being there. Like I’m finally in the right place. Can’t wait to hear about you having that sigh of relief.

    Also, I love TED talks; and the only way I survived my last few months was with headphones lol Good luck, sending positive thoughts your way

    • Thanks so much Lauren, really appreciate your support. And so pleased to hear your new job’s going really well :) I love the thought of finding somewhere/something that just feels right. And knowing there are people like you who’ve found that gives me hope that it’s out there for me too!

      TED talks are the best!

  2. An honest post! Not an easy decision to make, I know. That said, I have to commend you for your willingness to embrace happenstance and uncertainty. That’s a really important quality in this day and age.

    I can’t help but think of a book that you might like – and I know you don’t mind reading the odd “career advice” book – called “The Unplanned Career” by Kathleen Mitchell. It’s all about being uncertain and taking advantage of unplanned events. Check it out! http://www.amazon.com/The-Unplanned-Career-Curiosity-Opportunity/dp/0811835960

    Best of “luck” with everything!

    • Haven’t heard from you in a while :) I’ve actually been meeting lots of good contacts through happenstance recently, and definitely trying to make the most of it in finding my next job – will have a look at that book. Thanks for stopping by!

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