I can remember the exact moment – the fork in the road if you will – when I knew I had to do something. Something else.
Working as I had in London for over 20 years for one of top global insurance brokers, I’d progressed from being an enthusiastic secretary/EA at 17 years old to a Divisional Director in one of the most successful and dynamic Divisions of the company.
Deciding to switch from the non-business side of things to the ‘sharp end’ of broking global property risks had been quite a ride.
I’d gone from being fairly carefree and relaxed about my working day to being in a highly demanding role, which stretched me both mentally and physically – and learning how to deal with a number of prima donna characters. But where I was, they were mainly male.
Before I moved to the broking side, I felt like I was spinning my wheels and just going through the motions everyday. It’s soul destroying isn’t it?
If you take pride in what you do and know you’re capable of so much more, just showing up and waiting for the time you can leave eats away at you.
The learning curve was steep and the rewards and demands were high.
Long hours, BIG personalities with short tempers, fairly foul language, early morning meetings and long lunches, business trips with weekend working, cancelling social events and gym classes and an expectation that you worked hard first before you had any chance of playing hard.
I loved it.
For a good few years, I loved it. Until, I didn’t. Until I thought I was going to scream…
As the constant pressure started to wear me down and the personalities I’d thought were so inspiring started to really grate on my nerves and well-being, I knew I was stuck.
Frustrated, bad-tempered, bored and stuck.
The pivotal – fork in the road – point happened one morning, at about 7.30am when I arrived at the office.
A couple of our team members were by the desk of my colleague, Martin, who hadn’t yet arrived. Martin was going to be 40 years old that day and they were tying balloons with ‘The Big 40’ written on them on to the back of his chair.
I looked at those helium balloons bobbing about above the desk and could feel my pulse racing and my head screaming.
“You can’t be sitting here Kay in three years when you’re about to be 40, feeling like this, behaving like this and wanting to scream. You’ve got to do something.”
And here’s where you come in to this story.
The ‘something’ I did was to resign.
I had 3 months notice, 6 months of money ‘saved’ and needed the headspace to work out ‘what next’.
If I hadn’t done that and taken that huge leap of faith, I wouldn’t be writing to you now.
These forks in the road need to be heeded.
If you’re having a ‘moment’ knowing something has to change, try not to dampen it down.
Explore it. Ask yourself some searching questions.
Maybe invite someone different to as you searching questions.
I have 4 spots for a complimentary – no strings attached for me OR for you – Career Strategy Session.
Let’s see what might happen for you with some careful thinking and different questions…
In other news…
It was International Women’s Day last Wednesday. I saw this go by and thought of you, of me and all the other brilliant – and often underestimated – women I know..