The beginning of the year is the time when I tend to do a lot more thinking, reflecting and looking back on the year that just past naturally. Running pictures of my highlights and lowlights from last year flashing vividly in front of my eyes like a movie trailer. There were lots of laughing and there were some tears. There were lots of globetrotting adventures and then there were challenges. I am one of those people who are super hard on themselves, so my reflection tends to gravitate towards areas where I need improvement more so than celebrating successes!
I always reflect on how I could’ve done better or differently. How could I have achieved more and finished the year with more success? Follow by looking forward with improvement plans to work on in the new year.
One thing that has been on my mind a lot lately is my career and my day job. If you didn’t know, I work in a multinational British bank as a finance professional. And I’m not going to lie but the relationship with my job is starting to feel like a toxic relationship. If you are one of the fortunate few who happens to love what you do and are good at it, I seriously envy you, then this blog is not for you. So feel free to head over to Instagram to kill some time. 🙂 Today, I want to talk about my toxic relationship with my job and why I have compared it to a toxic relationship. Perhaps that analogy is a bit strong but it certainly isn’t a healthy place for me. I am in a technical financial reporting role that is made for qualified accountants. I am a trained econometrician, not an accountant. I understand numbers but I don’t look at the numbers in the same way as these bean counters (no offence). Although I don’t believe you need to be a qualified accountant to do this job as I’ve been in similar roles back in Australia and not once had I felt that not being a qualified accountant was a hindrance to my performance and career. Yes, this speaks volumes about the team I am in. All this corporate bullsh!t, excuse my French, about diversity and inclusions and how much they value everyone’s individuality, background, experiences, blah blah blah. At the end of the day, there is an invisible square box that you need to fit into in order to succeed in the role.
I am definitely a round peg trying to fit into a square box here. Me trying to ‘fit in’ has turned my relationship with my job into a toxic one. I have tried really hard to think like them, act like them and even try to reshape my round self into that square box, conceptually and literally. I’ve tried really to improve my financial skills to the point where I’ve forgotten what my core skills and strengths are. I find it really difficult because I don’t enjoy what I’m doing. This is certainly not something that gets me out of bed every morning! Sadly I knew from day one I am in the wrong job. I knew from day one that I need get out and find a role that uses my strengths and core skillset. Yet, I kept telling myself that I am going to prove to them that I can also do this job and I can do this job really well. I have no doubt in my mind that if I keep at it, then I will get the hang of it and will perform really well. Little did I know, my daily pep talk has left me with a toxic relationship with my job. BUT for what? I am not passionate about financial reporting. I know this is not my destination but just a pit stop. So J, it is time to walk away from this toxic relationship.
Should you find yourself in a similar situation about your job, I hope my tips below can help you identify whether it’s a toxic relationship or not and empower you to take action to find your oysters in the world.
1. Don’t ignore the early signs
Just like a toxic relationship, all the signs were there almost from the beginning! The Monday to Friday morning struggles to get out of bed have led me to believe that I’m just not a ‘morning’ person. The excruciatingly difficult Sunday evenings knowing the dreaded Monday morning is soon to come. The uninspiring deadlines that I need to meet like yesterday. My wandering mind whilst in meetings and on teleconference calls. You get the picture.
It’s ok J, I am still new to the role, just give it more time, and it will get better. I may even find joy in what I am doing. Once I learn the ropes, things will get better. Everyone will start to appreciate me. Everyone will start opening their eyes and see my true potential. This is not my destination, it’s just a temporary stop. So I keep telling myself…
Just like a toxic relationship, I became addicted to striving for their validation. I was addicted to wanting to prove myself to them… Let’s just give it another year. My teammates are fun to work with and I really enjoy our random banters over the day as it really helps to tick the hours off I may not get on with my new teammates if I change jobs. At least I know what these guys are like and how to deal with them. Just like a toxic relationship, I was scared to let go of this certainty and venture into the unknowns of searching for the right one. So I say let’s just give it one more year… and another year… and another year. Now four years later, I still find myself where I started. I am still rounded and I still cannot fit into that square box. So to conclude, all the signs were there. I just refused to see and accept I don’t belong here. Don’t ignore the early signs and waste years staying stagnant.
2. Cut your losses and walk away
It wasn’t until November last year when I was running a transformation project that my core strength was re-ignited. I ran the project beautifully and delivered an optimal solution that impacted the whole department. I led a team of 8 qualified accountants to help them streamline one of the main processes for the department. I was confident. I was capable. And I was on fire! I told them what they needed to do and when to do it.
And I loved every single minute of it! I have simplified their lives and I have left my legacy. I have forgotten what this felt like. It feels bloody darn good!! This is what gets me out of bed in the mornings. This is what building a career feels like! Frankly, I should’ve cut my losses at least 2 years ago. I should’ve walked away from this toxic relationship 2 years ago. But anyhow, better now than never. Therefore, I am walking away…
Suddenly Craig David’s “I’m walking away” song starts singing in my head. “I’m walking away from the troubles in my life. I’m walking away oh to find a better day…” Yep, that song is stuck in your head too? You are welcome! hahaha…
Just like a toxic relationship, it’s not worth the time and effort to salvage it nor the heartache and disappointment to maintain it. What I’m trying to say is if the effort/reward ratio is high in your role i.e. putting in a lot of effort and reaping little return then perhaps this role is not right for you. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve learnt a lot from this role but we are not meant to be great in everything. Just celebrate that you’ve done your best but it is time to cut your losses and walk away. There will be a job more suited to your skill set waiting for you. A job that you will excel. This role will be a high return/little effort ratio.
Dress: DFV wrapped dress (similar here and on sale!)
Boots: Chanel (similar here)
Handbag: Dolce & Gabbana, Miss Sicily limited edition (similar here)
3. The world is my oyster
Now that I have made the decision to walk away from this toxic relationship… I feel like tonnes lighter. I feel free…. and the world really is my oyster! They can keep their boxes because I’m taking on the world… I’m going out to find my oysters! hehe… joking aside, life’s too short to be not in a job where you are engrossed wholeheartedly. I don’t know what the universe has in store for me this year but I know I need to do something different in order to achieve new results. And it is going to be one hell of a passionate journey. Goodbye toxic relationship. I am destined for something bigger and better. The universe gave me my unique skills, and I need to use them. I don’t belong in the box. I belong to the worldwide blog. #punintended Likewise to you. Go out there and do you. You deserve to be in your dream job where you want to pour your whole self into!
Tell me, are you one of those lucky ones to have found your dream job right now? Or are you like me in the walk-away camp? No matter which camp you’re in, I hope this post has inspired you to follow your dreams, take action and do things differently this year. I promise you, you will get different results.
Let 2019 will be the year of our dreams aka working on our dreams. 2019 will be the year of passion and impactful!