It gets better

It has taken eight weeks for me to feel like I’m finally enjoying, and can be good at, my new job. On Monday I realised that I no longer miss anything about my old job at all.

As I indicated in my previous post, October was a write-off as I was a complete mess. Luckily, I was on holiday for a week during that time, which acted as a wonderful distraction. At the beginning of November, I saw some glimmers of hope and over the last week I’ve realised that I actually, finally, really like my new job. I might even love it. (No job is perfect of course, but this is pretty good.)

There was a creeping realisation that I deserved better. I need to make a distinction here between being too good for my previous role (that’s not something I can necessarily say) and feeling that I deserved to be treated better and, frankly, looked after a bit more. Some of this is professional pride kicking in, but a lot of it is being in a new situation and realising that the old one really wasn’t as great as I thought it was.

The best analogy I can come up with is that it’s like dumping a no-good partner, going through the terrible phase where you’re worried you did the wrong thing, and finally realising you’re much better off without them. I had people close to me telling me that I needed to leave my job two years ago for the sake of my health, confidence and self-worth, but I wasn’t ready to make the break at that point. My old job was comfortable and familiar but in hindsight it didn’t respect or treat me very well.

The impact that my old job had on my physical and mental health (particularly the latter) should not be underestimated. I was ground down and tired after many years of fighting the same battles. My old line manager and I likened it to Blackadder Goes Forth, where the soldiers battle for months on end to move the general’s drinks cabinet (the library) six inches toward enemy lines, only to have it (and my ambitions) pushed back.

I’ve been a complete pain to be around over the last few weeks. Interventions have been staged at various points. In October I cried on a lot of people. I have realised a few things as a result of this process though.

Learning points:

  1. Starting a new job is bloody awful,
  2. No matter how bad it seems at the outset, it will get better, or at least less worse
  3. It takes time to get used to a new role, particularly if you were in the old one for a long time
  4. It’s good to talk about how you’re feeling and share concerns
  5. Writing about what you’re going through is incredibly cathartic

I still have so much to learn about my new role, but I have already developed a whole host of skills over the last few weeks that will be incredibly useful regardless of what happens in future. There are huge benefits to being part of a larger team in terms of expertise, mutual support networks, opportunities and information-sharing. Having the management support and budget to get proper training and development is eye-opening. I gave up asking for training in my old job because I knew it would be a no unless it was free, I could get a bursary, I spoke or podcasted at it. Now I’m actively being encouraged to attend all kinds of training events. It’s made me realise how short-sighted it is to expect people to learn on the job without access to training opportunities. It’s a cost-saving to the organisation but it makes services far less efficient.

I am soon to celebrate A Birthday and to be perfectly honest I’m not massively happy about it. One good thing about getting older though is that you realise and value your self-worth. I put up with a lot of nonsense before, but I’m simply not prepared to do that now. I am worth more and deserve better.

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