06 September, 2013

A Little Secret and a Big Thank You x

I am going to let you into a little secret. I have spent the summer quite overwhelmingly unemployed. I could write you thousands and thousands of heartfelt words about my experiences, so intense an experience it has been, but that’s for another blogpost, which I did actually write a few weeks ago, when I was at the very pinnacle (or should I say pit) of my despair.

You wouldn’t have known it, right? I know. As I explain in this post, I so desperately wanted to channel my experience into my blog, not least because of the therapy it would have given me, but I couldn’t do anything to jeopardise my chances of securing a new role. So instead I wrote this post to myself, and saved it for a rainy day. Ironically, today it is hammering it down outside. You might want to read about my experiences here before you read this as it explains a lot about how I got to that point.


The wait before the excitement!

Today I woke up knowing my life was about to change. I had reached stage 3 of a rather rigorous interview process and had all but been offered the job verbally. 48 hours ago I gave a presentation which I had spent no less than 6 solid days working on and the waiting since then has been unbearable. I haven’t slept properly, I couldn’t stomach much food and it was all I could do not to check my phone and my emails every 60 seconds. That’s how bad I wanted it, and that’s how much pressure has built up in my system over this past 6 months.

Being unemployed this summer has been the most soul destroying experience of my life. Why had my career been so difficult? Why didn’t anyone want me? What was I missing? It was so hard putting energy into job applications (circa 100), interviews (circa 20), and presentations (7 in total) when I didn’t know what it would lead to and when my confidence was so low. It was so hard feeling so isolated from the world every day, never being able to properly rest, not being able to make plans or look forward to anything because ‘we don’t know what’s going to happen’, trying to be strong and brave for Gareth and him trying to be strong and  brave for me. But throughout it all I held onto what I knew deep deep deep down – that the universe had other plans for me. It really is written in the stars, that’s something I learnt a long time ago and it helped me through these past few months.

What I do know is the timing of my unemployment was destined. I think the world knew I was due a break of some sort, in my 5 years of working I have barely had more than a week off at a time and in the past few years I haven’t had a proper holiday. I can’t call these past few months a ‘holiday’ but it was a break from the treadmill. I am so fortunate because had this happened 2 years ago i would have had to pack up my entire life in Sheffield and start again somewhere. But now i had my supportive partner and am so so fortunate that I was able to remain unemployed for nearly 2 months and not have to give up much but my spending money.

My advice to anyone who finds themselves in this situation for no good reason, who like me does everything right but still finds nothing is working out – my advice to you is BELIEVE that something right is around the corner, and it may be even better than you dared dream. My other bit of advice is make the best of it – yes, I have found it devastatingly tough being unemployed, standing in line to sign on and feeling as though I had lost my ‘place’ in the system. But I can’t be accused of not making the very best of it. Every day I got up at 6 or 7am, I did something positive and productive, I stuck to a routine, I took a break to go see my family and his family, I exercised a lot, I made lots of mini social plans like meeting people for coffee, I went for walks to clear my head and keep things in perspective, I set up on my own and freelanced – a project I will be forever grateful for as it has given me so much confidence in my professional abilities. I focused on little projects and doing nice things for other people. Yes I cried, but not that much considering how I felt inside and considering that I am a huge cryer!

I can hand on heart say I am so proud of how I have dealt with what’s been the most soul destroying 6 months of my life, I am so proud of my own strength that I want to shout it from the rooftops. Hannah a few years ago would not have had the same grace, positivity or certainty that it would be okay. I also know I am one of the lucky ones, not only in that my unemployment has been relatively brief, but in that I had the exact support network I needed to get me through. I have never had any doubt about how god damn lucky I am where Gareth, my friends and my family are concerned, but man they have excelled themselves during this. So this post more than anything is a big fat thank you to all of them.

Whether you picked up the tab, answered my desperate call on a bleak Wednesday, messaged me from the other side of the world to give me a confidence boost, wiped my tears when I’d had one too many lemon cellos and the despair came flooding out, reassured me whilst I cried in the toilets at work, or just listened to me, told me it was shit, but that you still believed in me. Your belief fed into mine and got me to this point. Thank you so so so much to all of you who played such a big part in keeping me a float. I owe a few drinks to say the least! And not to mention, as always, my Gareth. He has been nothing short of a hero. Even with me ALWAYS being in the house, taking up all the space, making a desk for myself in the dining room day in day out, hogging his laptop when mine died in my last week of work (I know right), not having so much time to clean the and the like (oops!) and having a few mood swings, he has been nothing but incredible. And to say we have been living in each other’s actual pockets for the past 7 weeks, we have barely even bickered! WHAT a team.

This morning my life did change, I received an absolutely amazing job offer, I accepted and I just know this one was always meant to be. It’s the role I have imagined myself in for a long, long time. Unlike other roles I have accepted, here there is not a single misgiving, everything about it is right for me and better.

The change I have been through in my career is really quite something, you can’t accuse of me of having chosen an orthodox career path. But this is the one I want to stick and do you know what? I wouldn’t change a thing. I have learnt so much about myself (not all of it good, but I have learnt from it), I have met some really very inspiring people, I have doubled my salary in 2 years and I feel like finally my hard work and heartfelt challenges are paying off – I am nothing if not a fighter! The first thing I did when I found out the good news (after bashing my shin on my bike whilst dancing around the dining room) was put my wellies on and set out for a long walk, to feel the real rain on my cheeks and make sure I wasn’t dreaming. And the next thing I did was call everyone who I owed a huge thank you to, and then buy a load of thank you cards.

The first thing I did...

Now I am going to unsubscribe from ALL the job sites (thank GOD!), write my thank you cards, have a glass of wine tonight (my first in 4 weeks) and enjoy the next little while until I start work again, because for the first time in a very long time I have TIME to spare and a job at the end of it. And its mine.

Wish me luck..


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