Chatting to a friend the other day, we got talking about the days when we were in jobs that were sucking the very life out of us. She told me about how she used to cry on the train every single day on her way to work and the strange looks she'd receive from fellow passengers.
Personally, I used to drive to work hoping that someone would crash into my car so I would have a legitimate reason for having a couple of days off. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't suicidal or anything, but a few broken bones in exchange for a week or two on the sick was definitely a trade off I could live with (although it had to be someone else's fault so it didn't affect my insurance premiums). Looking back it seems absolutely crazy but I was genuinely that desperate for a break and I really couldn't see any other way out. I wouldn't be able to take holidays because we were in a period of peak demand and my honest little soul wouldn't let me throw in a sickie.
The days would be interminably long as I teetered on the verge of a breakdown throughout feeling sure I would have a psychotic episode the next time someone spoke to me. In reality, it was probably going to result in a tears in the toilets ending. I've done my fair share of that one and mopped up the tears of many a co-worker as it all just got too much for them. As I stood there, handing over tissues, we'd talk about how sucky it was to work there, how we couldn't wait to get out, how we would show "them" and how sorry "they'd" be when we were gone and they had to find some other poor sap who was willing to be treated like crap and work like a dog for 11, 12, sometimes 13 hours a day for a salary that paid us for 8. Maybe some of you can relate to that feeling.
In all honesty, I'd say that we did that for years. Swore we'd get out soon but did bugger all about it. We had no idea what else we'd do anyway. In the end, when I finally did do something about it, I began jumping from one poor situation to another. Wondering where I was going wrong. Was it just me and my crappy luck that I constantly ended up in jobs that made me miserable? I was such a victim.
Then, finally, I decided to have look a bit deeper, I started to take inspiration from some of the cheesy american motivational coaches that I would have previously scoffed at. Turns out some of them know their stuff, even if they are somewhat corny. I started to read and learn about mastering my own mind and programming it for success. I got a coach. I learned to look inside of me, rather than out to my situation, to figure out what the heck it was all about. I started taking responsibility for my circumstances rather than being a victim of them. I began analysing what I really wanted from my work and from my life. What kind of things would make the difference for me. Then I designed a job that was right for me. I had no idea who was going to pay me to do it but it was important to me that I knew what I wanted. I reworked my CV so it highlighted the skills I had, that I wanted to use in my ideal job. I got lots of opportunities and wound up negotiating a role that allowed me to use a combination of my existing experience as a man-manager and the talents that were most important to me. More importantly, I convinced my inner wimp to take a back seat (and pipe down!) so that I could handle things without the constant fear of what people would think or wondering whether I was good enough. Finally, a plan began to form in my head as to how I could take my ideal job design to the next level. And LYH was born...
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