Off-Topic: Ramblings on Careers, Self-Confidence and the Future

This is a personal post mostly about me. If you’ve no interest in me or what I do for a living, come back another time!

It’s been a wild week ever since resigning my current position as HR business partner last Friday. I took it on myself to tell all of my close clients personally, because the relationships I have established over my time here deserved no less. The feedback was overwhelming and both motivating and emotionally difficult. I’m not used to such an amount of sympathy or people in leadership positions becoming misty eyed at the prospect of my departure. Then again, I have also never before worked anywhere with the same degree of personal commitment; it’s true that you need to invest yourself in order to get something back. All that said life goes on of course, in business there’s no such thing as being irreplaceable. I like that about it, it’s honest about the facts of life.

That leaves me with returning to the open road and hunting my next prospect, as I always have. I am leaving a stable, safe environment and good relationships behind not because I am not content but I am no longer motivated (a difference that is best explained by Herzberg’s two-factor theory on motivation). What I do for a living has stopped being just a job, what I seek is challenge and fulfilment. I spend a great deal of time working and expect a high performance of myself – but not for free. And free is not just about salaries, it’s the whole package. It’s like the difference between a great MMORPG and a lacklustre one: you can have fun with the second for a time but in the end, you’re left wanting for the more well-rounded world. And as long as we have the means, why should we content ourselves with anything less?

I am incredibly grateful for the last few years. They have been fruitful in so many ways, not just because they advanced me but because I have learned such a great deal about myself. I’ve learned what I do not want anymore. And I’ve learned that there’s a place for someone like me, with my skillset and personality which is not as naturally accepted in women as it is in men. Time and time again I had to fight for my voice, especially a frank and dissenting one sometimes, one that challenges those your peers don’t dare challenge. Here’s a secret: they love it when you do, they find it so refreshing. It took a moment to gain people’s trust but once I had, they appreciated and respected me for how I am. I didn’t need to play a part and maybe for the first time ever, I feel completely confident in myself. Love it or leave it, this destroyer of worlds is embracing herself. And say what you want about other people’s judgement, it feels damn nice to have them in your corner!

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Unfortunately or luckily, I can’t stay anywhere when there are no new targets and old routine sets in. I’ve known this for a while, that I require a vision of my future, a next step or goal lest I become very unwell. After I finished my University degree, I fell into a deep hole. Before I decided to switch careers four years ago, I was in existential crisis. Where do I go from here – what am I hunting next? It doesn’t even matter what the dream is, just have one and work your ass off. I don’t always stick to the course but I need a sense of direction, forward forward always forward. Most of us need to earn their passage and just hang in there, climb up a little at a time and be bold when switching jobs. A new position shouldn’t be all about what you already know and can do, it should contain things you’ve yet to learn. I’ve recruited qualified staff for a while now for different branches, and one comment by our head of IT stuck with me when one day, he told me about his findings concerning female candidates (which are rare still in IT): “The difference is that men boldly apply for a job even if they can’t fully do it yet, whereas women wait a long time and think they have to be perfect before they apply for the job.” Such unexpected insight.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”

The next three months will be about vetting different positions not for other people but for myself. Being a major geek, I am hoping to land back in the IT world which is among the more progressive and dynamic environments. I’ve not given up hope to work with people someday that are at least a little nerdy and into tech. I also look forward to using my English skills again and maybe work more project-based, specializing further. Further further…..but first, I’ll take a month off to travel! I am after all, also an explorer at heart and it’s the open, undestined road that keeps me sane in MMOs too. Such a contradiction or maybe just a complementary necessity? I seem to exist best at extreme ends of a spectrum and already as a child, boredom was my nemesis. I grew up performing under constant stress that was none of my choosing, I learned how to escape but I still need the stress even today – pressure, challenge and overcoming fear are what I know. It’s a sobering analyzis that one, how I was made but each of us has their own genesis. Understanding mine has helped me accept what I need. Once you can do that, it frees up energy for other things and you’ll likely make better choices for yourself. What we need and what we want blah. Life is messy!

Fingers crossed.

2 comments

  1. It takes a lot of courage to take that step. Though it also seems like you certainly have the right mindset. I share a lot of that feeling, the self motivational drive. I’ve written myself out of more jobs than I can count because I can’t stand routine work. It isn’t about the next big thing but just that feeling inside that you’re pushing yourself and giving good quality. A heck of a drug.

    Good luck in the future and have a fun time off!

    1. Thanks! :D Yeah it’s as you say, pushing yourself is a thrill in itself. And of course it feels good to be successful – but first you have to do it and take heart, like the old latin proverb says ‘audaces fortuna iuvat’. What’s for certain is that nothing ever changes if you change nothing yourself.

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