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Do you remember when everything was crystal clear, when everything was certain – black or white? Wasn’t it great to live in a world so precise and so easy to understand that your decisions were really just choices, not decisions at all? What you were and what you wanted to be was nothing more than a stage on your journey and whilst work was part of that journey, it didn’t need to be precise because your destination was always exactly that – precise. You would be happy, fulfilled and affluent. You were going to experience everything and if life threw any obstacles in your way, they would be dismissed as if it was all part of the game. Then suddenly that clarity is gone. Without any warning and with a chilling certainty you have become something that you are not – a sort of blurred facsimile of your former self. In truth, you no longer feel quite yourself, no longer exactly who you were. In fact, the truth is that you worry that people from your past wouldn’t quite recognise you any more – sure, it looks like you but somehow it really isn’t the person they once knew. Something has gone, something is missing. The worst of it all is that you actually saw it coming. You knew what was happening and you just watched like an innocent bystander. Whilst others appeared to rage against the grey mediocrity, you blame yourself for doing nothing. Well, no more.
Do you find yourself frustrated that you just can’t seem to be the person that you want to be, either professionally or at home? Do you sometimes feel that despite your very best efforts, you seem to fall just a little short of expectation? Not quite the perfect employee, colleague, friend. Somehow, not the perfect partner, attentive parent or grateful sibling?
It seemed the perfect career move – the exact role that would propel your career in the direction that you always wanted to travel. Big name, retained accounts, corporate mentality, smart suit. There was a clear ladder to climb with defined targets and meritocratic principles – do better than your colleagues and you will progress. But it isn’t like that at all. Something doesn’t quite fit. You want to feel ‘part of it’, you want to enjoy the meetings, the structure and you want to make the commitment, but somehow you don’t feel it – never really have done. It is all nonsense. Meetings, targets and progression decided by people who don’t really know you and in the meantime, the rest of your life is sacrificed so that you can play the game, get the BMW, win ‘Recruiter of the Month’ and perhaps even earn a 5% bonus in January. Was this really your dream?
You loved Andy when you first met hm. Do you remember he was passionate about his business and that he was looking for a key employee to initially be a fee earner but to quickly progress into a managerial role, possibly with equity. No restrictions, a new commission scheme to be introduced once certain short term goals were met. This was a chance to be a big fish in a growing pond – Andy was convinced. Nothing in writing yet with regard to shares of course but the potential was there. Why would he lie? What would be the point of Andy painting this picture if it wasn’t really what he wanted? Andy needed you to just knuckle down and prove yourself. Gosh, that was three years ago, but let’s be fair, it wasn’t really Andy’s fault that things had not gone entirely to plan and you guess it was reasonable to ask you to keep generating revenues until the rest of the team were up to speed. No bonus or new commission scheme yet, but give it time – just a little more time.
Suddenly, you find yourself with some big decisions to make. What was once all about choice is now all about decisions. You need to make the right decision & you need to make it now. You cannot afford to be wrong this time. No more knee jerk reactions but you do need to get a wriggle on. No time to procrastinate but for goodness sake, don’t rush into anything new again! It’s all about trust and you know that you have been let down before. Be open to new ideas but don’t be daft – people don’t really care about you, they just want a revenue earner to earn them revenue. You know that. Your family either needs you to make big money or make more time to be with them. Whichever way you look at it, you cannot afford to look at it the wrong way. Just be careful but brave. Be sure but don’t run away from an idea. You need to rely not just on your instinct, but also on other people now. Just get on with it.
Everyone will tell you that now is the time to do something new. You only have yourself to worry about. Wow, what freedom to make a decision just for yourself. Wouldn’t we all like to be in that position. If I were you.... If it were me.... If only I could do it..... If it wasn’t for the kids. Suddenly, everyone has an excuse to say why you have no excuse. You also have no fallback position, no financial support from a supportive partner. What happens if things don’t work out? If you commit to a risky job now, by the time you give it a real go, all of your savings (such as they are) will also go. Another birthday or two passed and still no long term family plan. It can begin to feel a bit a little pressurised and even though you know that deep down everyone wants you to do well, you also know that they don’t. It would kill them to see you succeed. Who really wants to see their friends to be successful – really?
It is great to have a partner – to enjoy their support and their encouragement. They know that you would be great and they have 100% confidence in you to succeed in whatever you do. If you really want to start a business, then they will be there for you. In fact, if it wasn’t for a couple of other things that they feel you guys should address right now, then they would be the first to say ‘go for it – live the dream!’ Maybe once the holiday is paid for and they feel a little more secure at work themselves, you guys could have a proper conversation. Why not look at it again in the New Year? – no need to rush. After all, if you really want to do it, then you will feel exactly the same way in another 12 months. Just be patient – it’s not all about you. It is a partnership you know.
My family needs me to earn money. That’s what I do. Kids don’t care about my silly dream of being a business owner. They care about new trainers, a cool car and a holiday in Spain. Occasionally, I guess I feel frustrated at home and I guess they pick up on that? If I make one extra placement a month, we will be going to Spain though. When the kids are older, I am sure that I will get a chance to spend more time with them – it’s just that right now, by the time I get back from work, they are already in ‘bed mode’ and I am really tired anyway. The weekends? Nightmare and right now, I seem to be lumbered with extra work stuff. Someone said to me recently that when they are older, the kids will only remember the time that they had with me. It’s all about memories, school plays, football and netball. Do they care about KPIs, one extra placement? How can I risk it all to make it all work? Words are easy – who is going to give me that support? It’s true, it is all a trap.