29 July 2014

"When life throws you lemons..."

At quarter to five today, I became unemployed.

That's right. Go on, laugh. Miss Ambitious. Miss Determined. Miss "I can't imagine myself doing anything else except PR". Turns out, I was Misguided (see what I did there?).

But you know what? I'm actually okay with it. Fine, this might be down to the fact I'm going through my "denial" stage... But I really do feel fine. How far I must have come to be okay with the fact I have no idea what my next step should be.

So for all the curious ones out there... What happened? To put it delicately, it was a case of "mismatched expectations". Honestly, I'm not giving you any Chris and Gwynnie "conscious uncoupling" nonsense! The issue was that I expected particular things from my employer, but they expected particular things from me. Long story short: both of us were disappointed, and so there was no point in my contract extending past my mid-probation stage. I could go on, but really, why dwell on the past? (Translation, I'll analyse every exchange with my friends so it doesn't need to be shared on here, in public).

I'm sad, I'm frustrated, and I'm more than a bit embarrassed. This doesn't happen to good people, right? People who are laid off are those who take the mick, who turn up late, leave early, ignore emails and have terrible social skills. But once again, life has proven to me that things aren't quite as black and white as they seem. Shit, yes, but not black or white.

When I think about it, I wasn't happy. I thought people who actually enjoyed their jobs were weird, and that it was normal to simply tolerate Monday through to Friday; dread the start of the week and live for the weekend. In my role I felt a bit trapped but equally I felt like it was a case of paying my dues. Unlike my previous role, I was bound to my desk, and destined to be best buddies with Microsoft Office until further notice.

Now, thanks to my Mum who - legend that she is - took an afternoon off work to support me throughout the process, I feel a bit more human. I actually feel free. Although it pains me to say it, I am slowly accepting that PR is not the career path for me. Or rather, if I wanted to continue working in communications, I would need to change my specialism.

For the first time since I was about 14 (yep, all my GCSE choices, A Levels and University degree were oriented towards PR) the world is what I choose to make of it. I think I'd like to temp and get a taste for different areas of work, different offices and different environments. The only thing I know I enjoy is talking to people and making them feel happy and positive - not a great professional compass, but I have to start somewhere. I need to take a step back from what I think I should be doing, and really, finally start to consider what I can do that will make me happy and not paranoid or miserable.

And what better way to start thinking about this than a huge change of scenery? I'm off to America on Thursday morning for a family wedding in (sweet home) Alabama, followed by a few days in New Orleans. Admittedly, I don't expect to have an epiphany whilst admiring the southern drawl, but I strongly believe that removing yourself from a situation is often the best way to gain some perspective.

It's going to be a bumpy ride, readers, but as always, you'll witness the highs and the lows right here.

Wish me luck!

Image: WeHeartIt

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