We’re now in a moment in time where there are many people facing the fact that they are now left without a job, or on temporary leave. Even if you’re employed at this time and working from home, on your own, you might be questioning whether this is the career path you want to be on. Wherever you are, if this is you, if you feel uncertain about your career trajectory, I want to connect, as I’m with you.
I left a 20 year career in entertainment on February 25th this year. I left after 12 years in a leadership position heading up a publicity department for a studio, travelling the world, leading a team, making decisions, living a well supported, dependable working life. I left only because it was time for a change personally. As well as a 20year year career in communications I also recently trained as a career coach. This training helped give me tools to help make and then work through the decision to make the pivot in my professional path.
Although all of this was my choice it didn’t make the adapting period any easier to walk through. No one prepares you for day one after you leave and the phone is silent and there’s zero in the inbox. The irrelevance you feel in that moment is overwhelming. I can only speak from my own experience where I was crippled with doubt, feeling like I’d made the biggest mistake and there was no turning back.
So I had to find ways to cope. I had to do a lot of work on me as I let myself be defined by what I did and where, rather than let that feed who I wanted to be. I had to look at my boundaries and priorities as certain stressors have gone and others have emerged. I’ve had to get comfortable with the slowing down I longed for.
So with that I tapped into some familiar territory. I quickly created a routine, a schedule to stick to so that my days had a purpose. I scheduled workouts like they were meetings, likewise I scheduled my meditation practise, my meal times, my walks to the supermarket and so on. I needed to keep to a routine that would keep my mind active, and it helped keep me focused without a daily set of “work” responsibilities. Basically I had to find new things I considered responsibilities to transition much more kindly – I couldn’t go from 100 to zero quickly.
As time has passed I’ve been less restrictive on my diary, but I keep to my diary, and I find it helps bring structure to my day. I schedule admin tasks, and workouts still, and I also keep a day or two completely free to see if that creatively serves me. Sometimes it does, sometimes I get lost in the time, and whatever the result I’ve learned to just let that be. What’s clear is that there are no rule books to navigate this change – whether it’s simply a change of routine for you, or navigating this “new normal” that we are all experiencing.
This “letting be” has served me really well – both with structuring my days but also with my mindset. I’ve been navigating through this for six weeks now, and it’s definitely a switch that has helped me be more accepting to not being able to control everything like I felt I could have previously. My meditation practise, and a regular yoga practice has helped me tap into this mindset change.
I left my job for a reason, and that reason was that what I was doing no longer gave me a spark of creativity, excitement or challenge. I absolutely didn’t know it all, but I had reached my own personal limits, and it wasn’t fair on me, my team or my employer to continue. It was time to move on. So I made a decision to leave, and I did without a plan, without something to move on to. I had to “just go for it” and trust that I’d find my new way eventually, and I had to be brave to embrace change, and embrace being a beginner again. I also had to grow a thick skin and be prepared to hear “no” more than I was used to.
The “just go for it” side of me didn’t come naturally but I had to embrace fear and let it drive me rather than stop me when it came to trying new things, approaching prospective new employers, and looking for new opportunities. I’ve no idea where it came from or how it developed, but I just had to have the courage to just go for it, and I’m so glad I did. Since lockdown I’ve had the conversations I’d have usually been too shy or too afraid to have, I’ve made unlikely friends, I’ve asked for things I would have normally thought I didn’t deserve. I could go on, but I think you get the picture. Sure there have been no’s too, or emails ignored but the positives have definitely outweighed the negatives, and I truly think being in an online only space has helped me be braver – I haven’t had to nervously prepare for in person meetings or interviews, nor have I had to present myself differently – it’s all been carried out from the comfort of my home, behind a screen, and I honestly think that’s helped build my confidence. I’m ready to do more of this in person when we’re finally allowed to be outside!
As I’ve mentioned not everything I’ve “just gone for” has been a success – I get embarrassed when I mess up, my ego is dented when I fail, it hurts when plans don’t go the way I imagined but I learned that these feelings pass, regret doesn’t. So whilst everything hasn’t gone “my way” on paper, I’d actually argue that it has, because every “failure” is a lesson learned, and a path pivoted, and every success is a moment for me to celebrate.
So I’ll leave you with this. Whilst you’re in the unknown, try anything, send the emails and say the things you maybe would be too shy to say in person. Be your best advocate, sing your own praises, and be prepared to fail a little. You have nothing to lose in this moment of time, and you never know where it will lead you.
I’m currently working for a Yoga studio, helping with their admin and assisting keeping their community alive. It’s a job that makes my heart sing because I’ve managed to make new friends, learn new skills, turn a “hobby” into a hopeful career path, and I’ve got two amazing leaders to learn from. I’ve been instantly embraced by this new world, and it never would have happened without just putting myself out there.
About your author
Lorna has over 20 years publicity experience in Film, starting her career straight out of school, and most recently held a leadership position in a studio for 12 years. She is a trained Executive coach, and currently navigating her next steps.
Where you can find Lorna:
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