I was quite excited when I got home this evening and my husband told me I’d received a postcard in today’s mail. How exciting…Who could it be from? Which one of my friends or family is in an exotic location having a fabulous time? And who took the effort to send an actual postcard rather than simply Instagramming it?
Alas, the postcard was in fact, from me. While exciting in a different context, I found myself quickly reigning in daydreams of tropical sunsets and exotic cocktails and casting my mind back to the Women 1st conference, where I made a pledge to myself and wrote it down on a postcard. Seven weeks later, that reminder has popped into my postbox. Seven weeks? Where has that time gone? Time flies when you’re having fun, goes the old cliché…could it be that I’ve been having that much fun?
I haven’t taken a summer holiday this year, which might have been the obvious explanation (though now I’m tempted as I can’t totally shake the cocktails-at-sunset image that’s lurking at the back of my mind). What I have been doing, however, is immersing myself in a brand new job role. I am still working within the same fabulous team, but after months of supporting one part of the business, I am now responsible for an entirely different one.
It has been quite nerve-wracking, challenging and frustrating at times – mostly when I find myself not knowing where to get information from, who to ask, or even simply even where to start on some things. But that frustration has quickly returned to a realisation that there is so much more to learn. While on the one hand that is a bit of a scary prospect, on the other, it’s quite refreshing. Despite having worked for Sodexo for twelve years, I’m discovering aspects of the business that I either took for granted, or didn’t even give consideration to. I can truly say that each day provides a lesson for me about something totally new, and being given the chance to do this has been tremendously rewarding.
By the end of last year, I had become incredibly comfortable in a series of quite similar roles, well and truly inert in a comfort zone that soon became uncomfortable. Up to then, I thought my career was following a logical sequence and I took on roles that seemed the obvious next step. But it became blindingly clear that this “obvious” sequence of career steps which made so much sense on paper, just didn’t work out in practice. The clarity certainly wasn’t there immediately – I went through many sleepless nights and anxious days worried about my failures, wondering how my career had veered so far off path and my ambition had so nearly been extinguished.
I was lucky enough that my support network, both within Sodexo and outside of it, helped me to realise that sometimes that’s just what happens. In spite of all the subsequent what-ifs and if-only’s, the truth is that sometimes things just don’t fit the way you expect them to, even when there is no explicit reason for it.
So what I’ve learnt is that it’s ok when things don’t work out. And it’s ok to try something so new that you feel like you are starting at the very beginning. The opportunity to learn something that seemed completely foreign was petrifying at first, and I still feel like I am swimming in a big ocean of all things new. But for the first time in a long time , I have a renewed sense of purpose, secure in the realisation that I don’t have all the answers, but it’s going to be quite a journey trying to find them.