The One Where I Loved My Job

I get asked lots of questions about why I do what I do. Or how I “got here”. To be honest, they’re my favourite kind of questions because I just love hearing people’s stories myself. I love hearing how the dots all make sense looking backwards. I love hearing the different “choose your own adventure” pathways that people take and the mix of life that comes together to bring them to this moment right now.

This post is the first of a series where I’m sharing my journey in response to these Qs. I’m giving a little insight into my own adventure. And a flavour for why I’m where I am right now. And, how I got to be “here”.

My intention is that by reading about my journey something sparks in you to feel like your adventure is just as fun. Or you see a shiny light and feel like you might want to follow it too.

I bet you’re expecting me to say I hated my job. The people were awful and I was constantly stressed and highly strung. And that’s why I quit and started my coaching.

Simply not true.

Although part of it was. The stress part. And possibly even the highly-strung bit. Although you’d have to talk to my partner to get the full picture there. ?

Truth is I actually really loved my old job. The people were lovely. I worked with some of the most incredible managers I’ve ever had. Many of the lessons I learnt in those years under their leadership still ring true for me today.

And, I wouldn’t take any of it back either.

I studied Economics at university and when I landed a graduate role with a government department I felt like I’d made it! I worked across a range of policy issues, from providing economic updates to ministers during a downturn, through to analysing a new carbon pricing policy. I worked on small business, energy and environment policies and felt like I really got a broad overview of big issues. And I loved it even more when new team members would arrive and I’d get to mentor and impart what I’d learnt to them.

The thing is what started to crumble around me is that I was the “always on” girl. I said yes to everything, feeling like if I could just prove to everyone that I “got it under control” they’d see how awesome I was.

That if I could tackle that project and still rock up to Friday night drinks I’d be seen as not just being “cool”, I’d also be seen as smart, intelligent, and good at my job.

And that’s really what I wanted. I craved to be seen as achieving great things. What it meant though is that I took on too much. I was working really hard, socialising lots, had just moved in with my partner and decided to take up studying my masters part-time.

Sounds pretty smart huh?!

Naturally, in hindsight, it makes sense that things started to crumble. But honestly, I didn’t really pin it all to me saying yes to others all the time. I thought there must be something wrong with me (I kept getting stomach cramps) or that perhaps I wasn’t eating right (the migraines kicked in) or that maybe I just needed to learn more (I felt like everyone in the office was so brainy and just “got” things and I was trailing behind).

My biggest lesson from this “dot” when I look back is that I was pinning my next moves on other people’s expectations. I was saying yes to others instead of myself. And that’s when the cracks started to appear.