Have you ever had the feeling that your career was just about to go down the toilet?
It was June 2012 and after being on maternity leave for about six months, I was on my way to meet my new team at my new job.
Being a new mum, I learnt early on that if I was ever going to be on time again, I needed to start an hour early to what I usually would, which I made sure I did. The baby was ready, the bag was ready and off we went to my mum’s where I happily dropped both off and was now on my way to my new job.
Since being on maternity leave my company, which I absolutely loved, merged with another company forming what was supposed to be a new company. I had made my way to my new building and while waiting at reception I continued to be quite positive about it all.
Before starting maternity leave I’d experienced the best year of my life, career wise. That, too, was a new job that I started in January 2011, and I was thrown in all sorts of directions and came out with flying colours. So open to the possibility that this could continue, staying positive at this point wasn’t hard at all.
However, upon making my first step into that meeting room where my new team were waiting for me, I instantly got a reality check.
Not only had things changed, but they went backwards. It was like I had stepped in a time machine and without any need to exchange words with my new team, I knew where I’d come.
I’d worked at this place before. I’d worked with these people before. Now, not exactly the same people, not exactly the same place, but the same type.
Here were a group of people that were there for a meet and greet with me and there to make me feel welcome and it was almost like they were unsure why they were there themselves.
The room was full of blank stares, a lack of emotion, which translated to me as a lack of interest in meeting me. After a meet and greet that was quite stiff and fairly standard protocol, I went home to my husband and said, “It’s over! The job I had is gone.”
It was at my first visit that I knew that not only had I lost the job that I loved, but more importantly, the work culture that I had grown use to for the past year, which was a big reason why I loved my job, was gone. With little to no chance of ever getting it back.
Why I stayed as long as I did?
I ended up staying at this job, for a total of two years and three months.
So, you may be thinking why did I stay at this job for so long?
• Reason #1 – The crippling thought of “Of course I can’t leave without finding another job.”
After having my first child, I returned to work as a part-timer. Living in Adelaide, Australia, it can be quite challenging finding a worthwhile full-time job in marketing, let alone a part-time job that isn’t dumbed down.
Once I officially returned to work, I vowed to my family that I wouldn’t be there for more than a year. One year came and went and not only did I not find another job, but I didn’t even see a part-time job that I was interested in applying for. That’s how scarce worthwhile part-time jobs are in Adelaide.
At this point in my career, having worked in nine jobs and experienced countless interviews, I had become good at sensing what the job was going to be like from the job ad, company, interview, etc and thus, applying the theory of “give it a go as it may be good” would be like me choosing to not see something that was very obvious to me. The biggest thing holding me back at this point was the thought that I couldn’t leave without finding another job. Even though I was financially comfortable.
• Reason #2 – Baby #2
September 2013 I fell pregnant with my second child and it seemed ridiculous to leave as I’d soon be on mat leave. It was amazing how many people said to me something along the lines of “Don’t worry about it. Soon you’ll be on maternity leave.” Too bad it wasn’t my mission in life to find a job that pays maternity leave, I would’ve really felt fulfilled (lol).
• Reason #3 – My environment
The people that I surrounded myself with thought it’s a decent permanent part-time job that I should be lucky to have, so why leave?
• Reason #4 – What… another new manager?
There were quite a few changes in management, so hope of maybe something changing kept me lingering on. It never did.
So, yes. After having almost two years off on maternity leave I returned once again. As once again there had been a change in management. After feeling completely humiliated and embarrassed with the jobs given to me I finally came to the decision that I needed to get the hell out of there before I died inside as a person. But now there was something else holding me back.
• Reason #5 – The loan
I was in the middle of getting a loan approved for the new home that I was building and boy did this drag on. Probably about three months more than I expected. It was a case of any day now we’d get the loan approved and I’d be out of there. And every week I’d go through a emotional roller coaster of starting the week with “I can’t believe I’m still here!”
Mid week my mood would improve with hope that I’d hear something from my broker by the end of the week and then when that didn’t happen I’d have a moment of “Oh my god. It feels like I’m never going to be able to leave.” My mood swings would start again, only comforted by the fact that it was a case of any day now.
And then something even better happened. I was made redundant! Thank you god!!
The absolute best possible case scenario that could’ve happened. Not only was I finally leaving a job I hated, but I was getting paid to leave.
As I was being told the news I really had to control myself from smiling and laughing all the way through it. It was the best meeting I ever had in that place.
Without even looking at the package that was being handed to me all I needed to know was I could leave in that instant and that was exactly what I did. With a final high-five to one of my colleagues I left and it was finally over. And, just in case your curious, yes, I also got the loan approved a week and half later.
And then came 10 Years & 9 Jobs
During this time I became fascinated with what develops an effective work culture. And, why some companies got it right whereas others didn’t.
When I verbally tried to explain what I had at job #8 I was amazed at how many people just didn’t get it! In fact got a totally different picture to what I had experienced.
Not only were the words I was using painting a different picture, but I found it hard to describe it. I knew it was fantastic, but when asked why, it was almost like I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. This then pushed me to read and read and read… and really get a good understanding on why job #8 was so fantastic.
And, finally it was time for me to tell my story – 10 Years & 9 Jobs. Join me as I share my experience, thoughts and opinions on what contributes to building an amazing work culture and what simply doesn’t work.