“There’s got to be more to life”

I remember thinking this about 10 years ago. My life was very different from what it is now. I was working in a large bank as a client advisor and the financial crisis was happening.

I had just returned from a business trip visiting clients and was in a debrief meeting with my boss. At the end of it, she turned around and said “The team can’t support this number of client advisors anymore. We want you to be a client advisor assistant to the Ultra High Net Worth group” 

I can’t even begin to explain how shocked I was. It felt like a carpet had been pulled from underneath my feet and I was lying on the floor dazed. With hindsight, I was one of the lucky ones, there had been many layoffs and I was lucky to have been offered a new place. Without sounding ungrateful, it didn’t feel like that at the time. 

That evening, my husband and I were having dinner out at an Italian restaurant and I remember crying into my pasta, not knowing what this meant for me going forward. I felt like I had been one of these plough horses with blinders on, ploughing the field up and down, just working away, not looking at what was going on around me. Essentially sticking my head in the sand.

I went through my fair share of emotions; shock, sadness, anger, resentment and more. I remember thinking there’s got to be more to life than this!

They say that sometimes people don’t make changes until they hit rock bottom. It has to be painful enough before we do something. I guess this was my rock bottom. Sure, like everyone, I had had my fair share of ups and downs before, but this felt rough. 

Think Differently

I was more than ready to quit but I had no idea where I wanted to move to. I remember telling a good friend and he suggested:

“Since you don’t know what to do next, why not take the job but work 80% instead?” 

I had never thought about this and thought why not. 

To be very honest, I thought if they don’t agree to it, then I’m out and I’m fine with that too. I was a bit taken back when they said “Sure” and after a bit of time, I was really glad that they did. It gave me some time to think about what I wanted to do. Having that extra day a week was amazing. I suddenly had 50% more weekend and I used it to organize my wedding that year.

After the wedding, I was able to spend the time thinking more about what I wanted to do. There were a few big realisations for me at this point:-

First, I made a conscious choice that I was going to take control of my life. Previously, I felt a bit like a leaf being blown about in the wind and I was reacting rather than responding. I started reading up on personal development and learning as much about myself as possible.

Second, it was up to me to figure out what it was I wanted to do. I felt that all I had been doing was working and hadn’t gotten many hobbies outside of work (besides Toastmasters) and that sucked. I wanted to do something I was passionate about but…. I had absolutely no idea what that was. 

On the one side, it was kind of exciting as there were so many possibilities out there. However, on the flip side, it was scary too because there were so many options that it felt overwhelming.

After that, I started the process of finding out where I wanted to go and that’s another story. I will write more about that later in this blog series. Until next time… go to Part II