Do the choices we make in life enhance or jeopardise our futures? A few years ago I took a sudden and unplanned career change after a change in circumstances with my company project. This was the project that had brought me to Dubai and which I had worked tirelessly on for almost two years. Instead of returning to another senior job in the UK, I choose to quit my extremely well paid job and to take a career break. Some people thought I was mad and had jeopardised everything that I had worked for over the last ten years or so.
Ten Years of Corporate Life
I had worked long and hard to get to the role that I had. I had put myself through night school to get professional qualifications. I had carved out a career in a mainly male orientated business and worked my way up the corporate ladder to a senior role. I had received many accolades from within my company and others, and had won a significant Company award which was only given out to twenty people across the world from a pool of over 70,000 employees. In short, without beating my own drum too loudly, I had done well and was proud of what I had achieved. The hard work had paid off. Most importantly I had proved to others and myself that I could make a valuable contribution to the business.
Whilst most thought I was mad, the more supportive colleagues and friends were full of cheer and support maybe wishing they had made the change too.
Miss or bliss – did I jeopardise my future?
It’s now four or so year since I made that change and I don’t regret leaving my corporate job one bit. Sure I miss the fantastic salary and all the benefits that came with it, who wouldn’t. I miss flying Business Class and having a fancy car. I miss having the majority of my expenses paid for me as part of my expat package. I miss my team, who proved their loyalty to me and the company by constantly being by my side and ‘doing the needful’ often in challenging circumstances.
I don’t miss the long hours, or the stress. I don’t miss the immense pressure I put on my health and wellbeing. I don’t miss having to ‘dance the corporate tune’ or the internal company politics. I don’t miss the sleepless nights, the late nights and the extremely early mornings in the office. I don’t miss the endless meetings, reports and updates which often prevented me from getting on and doing my job. I don’t miss eating rubbish because I barely had time to cook, or go shopping.
During my career break, I finally found time to spend on myself which is something I had never really done before. I got fit, lost a ton of weight and started exploring Dubai. I made new friends and generally had a good time. I also had a few major surgeries and started this blog.
I’m currently spending time doing something that I love. I’m working on an on-line e-magazine as Deputy Editor. It’s a job that my blogging took me to and one that I enjoy very much. It’s hard work, it’s daunting, it’s challenging and the future is uncertain compared to corporate life. Having said that, I know lots of people who don’t have certainty in corporate life so maybe it’s not so different these days. No matter what, with the benefit of hindsight and maybe a bit of foresight about what my future could have held, I’m enjoying my time now ten times more than my corporate days.
My satisfaction comes in different ways and the sense of achievement is different but equally as great. I’m not working on deals worth millions anymore, but am truly much more happier than ever before and enjoy the small stuff as well as the bigger things in life. I have spare time to do interesting things including learning new skills and devoting some time to charitable acts. I love reading and getting hooked on a TV series, or spending time at the beach. Heck I’ve even adopted a puppy which is no small undertaking!
My personal finances are tricky and tough and sometimes extremely stressful but I’m imaginative and frugal when needs be. I’m self-employed now and working on something which is so much more than my previous job in terms of job satisfaction and motivation. It’s difficult to put a price on that kind of enjoyment, sure it’s not leading to a big pension pot at the moment, or millions in the bank, but never say never !
Every single day, we make choices and carve our way through our slice of life. Some might think I jeopardised my future, but what did my future hold? If I’m honest I think it might have held an extreme burnout and possibly more. What I do know is that I made a choice that felt right at the time, which is all we can ever hope to do. I continue to make choices on a daily basis which may or may not be the right ones. These choices may jeopardise my current state or my future, equally they may result in huge gains and rewards. The trouble is unless you make a choice and choose a direction, you will never know if it’s the right or wrong one.
Do I regret leaving my corporate life? No! Do I regret not doing it sooner … possibly, but then I wouldn’t necessarily be here in Dubai writing this post …or would I ??
This post is part of a daily WordPress challenge and the prompt today is | Jeopardize or as I have my UK keyboard on Jeopardise 🙂